Image Credit: ESPN Images
No. 23 Florida Gators basketball (14-3, 5-0 SEC) may have started with one of its worst performances of the season, but it absolutely turned things around late in Saturday afternoon’s game to pull out a stunning 80-76 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida.
OnlyGators.com breaks down the latest win below.
It was over when … Redshirt junior center John Egbunu went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe with 5.8 seconds to play, increasing Florida’s lead to four points (its largest of the day) and making it a two-score game. The Gators outscored the Bulldogs 11-6 over the final 4:19 of overtime with redshirt freshman forward Keith Stone Making the biggest shot of the period by hitting a three in direct response to one drained by Georgia’s J.J. Frazier just seconds earlier. Sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen and graduate transfer G Canyon Barry each scored four points in the final five minutes, though it was Barry’s performance all game that made the difference for UF.
Exceptional efforts: For the second straight game, Florida scored more than half its points from the bench, which totaled 51 of the team’s 80 total points. Barry led the way with a season-high 27 points, which he accumulated by draining 5-of-8 threes (he made his first five, missed his last three) and all eight of his attempts from the free throw line. Stone posted 17 points, similarly hitting 3-of-4 triples and 4-of-5 free throws. Those two players alone combined for more than half of the Gators’ points (44) and hit 8-of-12 threes, compared to 1-of-11 for the rest of the team. Barry and Stone have now combined to go 13-for-18 from deep and 18-for-21 from the line over the last two games. The rest of Florida’s team has gone 2-for-22 from three in the same span.
Significant stats: Georgia dominated the paint against Florida on Saturday, outrebounding the hosts 41-32 and outscoring them 36-24 down low. The Gators were at one point being outrebounded 34-17 but got things together late in the second half to post a 7-2 mark down the stretch that played a big role in UF’s victory.
Odds and ends: Florida trailed most of the game but led for nearly the entire overtime period, holding the advantage for 7:49 of the 45-minute game … the Gators managed 22 points off 18 Bulldogs turnovers, a key stat to their turnaround late in the contest … senior point guard Kasey Hill was awful in the flow of play making just 2-of-8 field goals, and while he hit 7-of-10 free throws, he went 2-for-4 from the line over the last 20.7 seconds of the game (he was iced by a time adjustment and two timeouts on three of those four shots) … Allen only played 10 minutes in the first half after getting in early foul trouble, and though he scored just nine points, four of them came in the final five minutes of overtime … UGA had just six players make a basket on Saturday with Frazier chipping in 25 points on 10-of-22 shooting (3-for-10 from three) … The officiating was awful; there’s not much of a way to quantify that — only to say so
What it means: The broadcast spent most of the game discussing how big of a win it would be for Georgia over the nation’s No. 3 RPI team. Instead, it was Florida that beat the No. 39 RPI team, which moves the Gators to 4-0 against teams ranked 26-50 in RPI this season (though UF is 0-3 against teams ranked 1-25 in RPI). The Gators have proven without a doubt that they’re a tournament team, and winning games like this should only help their confidence as the SEC schedule gets tougher with two games against Kentucky upcoming.
Up next: Florida will play the first of three games in a four-game span on the road when it travels to South Carolina on Wednesday. The game will tip at 6:30 p.m. ET and air live nationally on SEC Network.