Dawgs beat Gators for second SEC win

After relinquishing big leads against both Arkansas and LSU (and nearly blowing a double-digit lead in its win over Vandy on Wednesday), Coach Mark Fox preached the importance of “closing” to his team heading into today’s matchup with conference rival Florida.

With 5:46 left in the game, UGA held a 61-51 advantage, but Florida still seemed too close given the inconsistency that Georgia had shown towards the end of its first three SEC games.

This afternoon, though, the Dawgs kept their composure and actually extended the advantage to close out the win, knocking off the Gators 73-61 in Athens.  This loss was the first for Florida in 24 SEC games, and it was definitely overdue for Georgia, who had dropped 18 of the previous 21 to the Gators.

Georgia started the game on fire, hitting its first 7 shots, allowing UGA to open up a 15-0 advantage.

Florida’s full-court pressure eventually began to wear down the Dawgs in the first half.  After not turning the ball over for the first 11 minutes of the game, UGA committed 8 turnovers in the final 9 minutes going into intermission, enabling the Gators to close Georgia’s advantage to just 36-31.  The Gators’ defense not only created turnovers, it also really limited the amount of time Mark Fox’s team had each possession to run its half-court sets, frustrating UGA offensively.

The Dawgs outscored the Gators 10-6 after the break, giving them a 46-37 lead with 15:16 left.  From this point on, though, Georgia never looked back, building a double-digit lead that they managed to keep for the next fifteen minutes.

UGA had four players finish in double-figures, with Kenny Gaines and Marcus Thornton leading the way with 16 apiece. Kenny Gaines, who came out briefly midway through the second half with an undisclosed injury, once again played fantastic for Coach Fox, connecting on 4 of his 5 three-point attempts.  Gaines has been lights out from beyond the arc since SEC play started, hitting 12 of his 21 attempts.

Surprisingly, Georgia – a team that couldn’t buy a three-point basket early in the season – entered today’s game with the best three-point shooting percentage in conference play at 43%.  In today’s game against the Gators, the Dawgs made 53% of their shots from the perimeter, proving that they are a dangerous team from the outside.

Georgia’s biggest flaw this afternoon was its ball security – UGA committed 16 turnovers.  Luckily, Coach Fox’s defense was able to turn the Gators over 19 times, a season-high for Billy Donovan’s team.

This win was huge for the Bulldogs, who even up their SEC record after starting the season 0-2 in conference games.  Georgia will look to go above .500 in the SEC when they take on Ole Miss in Athens on Tuesday.

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10 thoughts on “Dawgs beat Gators for second SEC win

  1. Even though Florida is not the team they were last year, I was surprised at how authoritative this win was. And on national television, no less! It’s been really gratifying to witness Marcus Thornton’s growth this year. It was a long time coming, but he’s become the player we kept hearing he could be, despite mounting evidence that it might never happen. Gaines has become quite the deadeye as well. And it was great to see Maten and Parker back on the court.

    Cameron Forte is…very noticeable on the court. Henceforth I shall refer to him as Conspicuous Cameron Forte…..

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      1. I’m glad to see Marcus healthy enough to play to his potential. I must disagree on him being the “backbone” though. To me, it’s Kenny Gaines. Both on offense and on defense, he is dynamite. His energy picks up the team as well.

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    1. Those who have followed this blog know that I have always been a Marcus Thornton fan who felt he’d be quite the player if he ever got his wheels back. Yet, he has become better than I thought he’d ever be. As a junior last year, he contributed big time on the boards and on defense. Add some offense this year and he’s playing like an all-SEC selection in my opinion. My hat’s off to him for gutting things out and improving when, two years ago, it might have been easier to simply throw in the towel.

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  2. A good win to hold serve at home perhaps, but not authoritative! Also CCF was very conspicuous on that spin move and rolling down the lane for a basket! CCF and Parker need to flex their muscles and get involved in the offense! If the dogs can maintain their focus and play hard the rest of the way, the SEC could be ours! (Except for Kentucky of course! We handled the press a bit better, but when it is broken we must go for the advantage right away and not pull it out and let them get their defense set! A good win , but the Gators are a very average “middle of the pack team” If we all fill our roles, (and this means the 10,523 of us in attendance), the Dawgs should be able to make noise come March Madness Time!

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    1. CCF’s spin move was nice, but his blown wide open layup and his 3 turnovers were a bit conspicuous. At this point, I’m not sure what Cameron’s forte is…

      The Gators are not where they have been in past years, but their roster is still loaded with 4-star talent.

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  3. Fun story. The two seats in front of me were listed on StubHub for $500 each. They disappeared Friday evening. Saturday, a 30-something couple dressed in orange and blue sat before me. You might have heard the girl screaming out, “You suck!” as our boys took free throws in the 2nd half. As the inevitable became clear, she and her boo quieted down. It was nice to see them walk out terribly bewildered, sad AND $1000 poorer.

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  4. Is anyone else as troubled as I am about our lack of clock management skills? Numerous times against LSU in overtime as well as against Vandy and Florida, we don’t use sufficient time off of the clock. Against the Gators, we had the ball before the half with 38 seconds to play. Instead of shooting with 5 seconds or so on the shot clock (and 8 on the game clock), we shot with 23 seconds to go. It didn’t end up hurting us but it was just another example of poor clock management. The CBS guys went on about it for about a minute as well.

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    1. Also, at the very end of the Vandy game, Kenny Gaines had the ball with about 32 seconds left ont he game clock and they were coming to foul him and put him on the line. Instead, he tries to dribble past his defender to the top of the key and it double teamed and loses the ball on a turnover. The commentator on that game also went on and on about that decision as well. That one was much closer to hurting us.

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