Having lost three straight overall, the Georgia Bulldogs (13-8 4-5 SEC) after blowing a halftime lead, beat the Florida Gators 72-60 in Athens on Tuesday. Bulldogs Forward Yante Maten lead all scorers with 20 points. Meanwhile the Gators (15-7 6-3 SEC) remain in second place in their conference.
The first minute of the game started with the only points of the game from either team coming on a layup from Gators Guard Chris Chiozza. Actually, Chiozza scored the Gators' first five points when he hit the game's first three pointer to give his team a 5-0 lead. But 30 seconds after Chiozza's three pointer, Guard William Jackson hit a three pointer putting the Bulldogs' first points of the game on the board. And after Maten added a layup, the game had it's first tie at five.
With just under four minutes gone in the first half, Guard KeVaugh Allen became the first Gator not named Chiozza to score when he drained a three pointer. And after Bulldogs Guard Willam Jackson II cut the Gators' lead to one, Chiozza hit another three pointer, giving him eight points in the five minutes of the game.
The next five minutes of the first half saw the Bulldogs get scoring on a three pointer & two jumpers from Guard Juwan Parker. But the Gators Guard Egor Koulechov matched Parker when he scored his first seven points of the game, keeping Florida ahead with a six point lead. But after neither team scored for two minutes, the Bulldogs scored on a layup from Forward Derek Ogbeide & started a 14-6 run, which ended with Georgia taking their first lead of the game 28-26. The run was sparked by two three pointers from Guard Tyree Crump. And the final five minutes of the half included the Bulldogs outscoring the Gators 9-6, helping Georgia head into the locker room with a 37-32 halftime.
The Gators trailing by five, came out in the second half, like the first half, scoring the first points of the half when Guard Jalen Hudson drained a three pointer. And again like the first, the Gators followed the first points of the half with another basket, this one a layup from Chiozza, which erased the Gators five point halftime deficit.
The two teams exchanged baskets on the next two possessions, but after another Hudson three pointer the Gators had their first lead since just under six minutes left in the first half. And after Allen added a dunk, assisted by Chiozza, the Bulldogs called timeout.
Before the next television timeout of the second half, the Bulldogs got five points from reserves Forward Nicolas Claxton & Guard Jordan Harris, tying the score at 48. And the Bulldogs 12-5 run in the following seven minutes, ending with a three pointer from Maten, putting Georgia up 60-53. That seven point deficit was the closest the Gators got in the final four minutes, which included Florida not scoring a point for over three minutes until Forward Keith Stone hit a three pointer. But even with that three pointer, the Gators deficit never got lower than 10 in the final 60 seconds of the game.
The Gators will try to get back on the winning track when they host another conference foe, the Alabama Crimson Tide at 4PM on Saturday.