Days removed from a stunning upset of #20 Missouri, Georgia came out extremely flat at Florida, which allowed the Gators to complete the season sweep of UGA. I’m not going to lie, I fell into the all too familiar trap of getting my hopes up prior to this one and thinking that maybe, just maybe, the Dawgs could steal a win in Gainesville and take another step towards a .500 conference record. Thus is the life of a UGA basketball fan, though; the highs are few and far between, and they are typically quickly followed up by lows. Here’s my quick reaction to the game:
Ultimately, the Dawgs couldn’t the overcome the first-half offensive debacle. With 15:50 left before the break, Georgia held an 8-7 advantage after a layup from Sahvir Wheeler. The next 9+ minutes for UGA included 0 makes, 12 misses and 5 turnovers; that kind of production typically doesn’t pay dividends, and this afternoon was no different as the Gators had amassed a 25-12 lead with a little over 6 minutes remaining in the first half. Georgia shot an ugly 32% from the floor and made just 1 of 12 from beyond the arc prior to the intermission, which enabled Florida to garner a 37-23 halftime advantage.
While Mike White’s team shot it well (48%) in the first 20 minutes, they weren’t exactly a model of efficiency. The Gators committed 9 first-half turnovers, but Georgia only converted them into 6 points. Florida’s sloppiness persisted into the second half as they ended up with 20 giveaways on the afternoon; however, the Dawgs couldn’t capitalize and scored just 17 points off the turnovers. For all UGA’s first half faults, this game was there for the taking due to Florida’s poor ball security.
On the other hand, Georgia’s defensive effort against the Gators was much improved. In the first meeting between these two teams, Florida blitzkrieged the Dawgs for 92 points, with 22 of them coming on second chance opportunities. Tom Crean’s team did a much better job of chasing the ball and contesting shots, and the result was that UGA held the Gators slightly under their SEC scoring average and permitted just 6 second chance points. Florida’s shooting from the perimeter after the break nearly mirrored Georgia’s first half effort as the Gators made only 1 of 13 triple attempts.
Sahvir Wheeler played his best game yet as a Georgia Bulldog, but he didn’t have much support. The sophomore scored a career-high 27 points and he looked fantastic doing it. Wheeler was so savvy bringing the ball down the court on the break and regularly making the correct decision as to when to attack the rim.
UGA’s other steady offensive contributors all turned in clunkers this afternoon, though. This team has consistently had 4 or more players finish in double-figures this season, but today Tom Crean only had Wheeler and Tye Fagan (14 points) reach that mark. Grad transfers Justin Kier and P.J. Horned shot a combined 1 for 16 from the floor and they missed all 6 of their three-point attempts; Kier had 4 turnovers as well in what was truly a forgettable performance. Sophomore Toumani Camara once again dealt with foul trouble, and he managed only 7 points to go along with 4 turnovers before fouling out with over 8 minutes of game time remaining. Freshman K.D. Johnson couldn’t ever really get things going offensively as he netted 8 points on a 3 for 11 shooting performance.
UGA closes out the regular season next week with two chances to avenge earlier losses as they take on LSU and then South Carolina.