Georgia Falls To Florida, 87-71
GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Trey Thompkins and and Ricky McPhee each had 20-point games for the Georgia men’s basketball team, but the Bulldogs committed 19 turnovers which Florida turned into 33 points and UGA fell to the Gators, 87-71, Wednesday evening in front of 10,603 at the O’Connell Center.
“We didn’t play well enough to win,” said head coach Mark Fox. “We turned the ball over too much in the first half and then finished the half so poorly in those last four minutes. We didn’t take care of the ball well enough or rebound well enough, and [Florida’s] points-off-turnovers and second-chance points ate us up tonight.”
“When we didn’t turn the ball over, we were pretty good at finishing plays,” Fox added. “We have to defend better on the road if we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win. We have to rebound better on the road. We didn’t do either of those things.”
The Bulldogs were led on the night by 10-of-12 shooting from Thompkins, who finished with a game-high 24 points. McPhee poured in 21, including a 5-for-8 clip from beyond the arc to mark a career high in threes for the senior. Reigning SEC Player of the Week Travis Leslie added 11 points and a game-best eight boards, while Dustin Ware dished out seven assists for the Bulldogs.
Florida forward Alex Tyus led the way with 23 points, which was followed by 21 apiece for guards Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker.
Georgia’s 59.6 percent shooting from the floor was a season high in that category.
The Bulldogs started off by scoring the game’s first four points, a lead that was added to when McPhee fired off a quick catch-and-shoot trey to make it a 9-4 Georgia lead with 16:42 on the clock in the first half. The Gators would go without a field goal for the first four-and-a-half minutes, breaking that spell on a dunk from Vernon Macklin to trim Georgia’s lead to 9-6 at 15:36.
Florida took its first lead of the game after Georgia was called for a charge on the offensive end to give the ball back to the Gators. On that play, Walker set it inside to Macklin for an easy lay-up to make it 12-11 in favor of UF. Georgia committed another turnover and Walker nailed a three to give the Gators the 15-11 lead at 12:29, capping what was a 7-0 run for the home team.
That spurt was broken up by another three from McPhee, which Leslie followed with a steal and a fast-break lay-up to give the lead back to the Bulldogs at 11:11.
The teams traded leads for the next several minutes until Florida took a six-point lead, at 27-21, with 8:00 to play after a Boynton lay-up capped another 7-0 Gator run. Thompkins added a lay-up to cut it back to four and score the seventh consecutive Georgia point, while McPhee’s three over the defense cut it to just four with 4:08 left in the opening period.
But that’s when the turnovers would begin to plague the Bulldogs, as the Gators followed a Tyus lay-up with a steal and a Macklin pull-up to take their first double-digit lead of the day, at 38-28, with 1:52 showing. From there, the Gators netted seven of the last 12 points of the half to enter the locker room guarding a 12-point edge at 45-33.
The second half began in similar fashion as Tyus started things off with a jumper to make it a 14-point lead for Florida. A jumper from Albert Jackson at the 15:45 mark cut the
Gator lead to eight, 55-47, but Boynton came right back with a three. Jeremy Price chipped in a lay-up for Georgia to get it back to single digits with 14:18 left, but that preceded another 7-0 run for the Gators, who built a 16-point lead, 65-49, with 11:18 to play.
The Gators would own the double-digit lead until back-to-back dunks from Leslie and Thompkins cut the deficit to eight, 71-63, 5:40 to go. But Florida used another run, this time with eight straight points, to push the lead back to 16 approaching the four-minute mark.
With 1:21 to play, Walker sank a pair of free throws to establish the day’s largest margin of 19, at 87-68. Jackson and Thompkins accounted for the final three points of the night to close it out with Florida on top by 16, at 87-71, at the buzzer.
The loss drops the Bulldogs – who were coming off last Saturday’s upset of eighth-ranked Tennessee – to 9-9 (1-4), while Florida improves to 15-5 (4-2). Tonight’s ballgame marked the 200th meeting in the history of the SEC rivals on the hardwood, as the Gators now hold a 103-97 lead in the series and have won 12 of the last 13 meetings.
The Bulldogs will remain on the road and head to Columbia, S.C., for a tilt with South Carolina on Sat. Jan. 30 at 7 p.m., before returning home to take on Arkansas on Wed., Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum.