Fastbreak: Georgia forces OT, upsets Florida in another epic collapse by Gators

By Adam Silverstein
February 14, 2018
Fastbreak: Georgia forces OT, upsets Florida in another epic collapse by Gators

Image Credit: ESPN Images

The exceedingly disappointing Florida Gators basketball season continued on Wednesday night in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center as Florida (17-8, 8-4 SEC) once again broke its home fans’ hearts by coughing up a double-digit lead in the second half, allowing the visiting Georgia Bulldogs (13-11, 4-8 SEC) to inexplicably force overtime and then ultimately falling 72-69 in Gainesville, Florida.

With the loss, the Gators were swept by the Dawgs in hoops for the first time since 1997 and dropped a game to their bitter rivals at home for the first time since 2002. Florida has also now been swept by Florida State and Georgia in both football and basketball during the same athletic season for the first time since 1978-79.

Let’s take a look at UF’s latest loss in Fastbreak:

It was over when … Florida started overtime with six free throw attempts but somehow only made one, allowing Georgia to build an early lead in the extra period that the home team was unable to overcome. The Gators went 16-of-27 from the line (.593) with its two top scorers going 0-for-4 from the charity stripe. (UF shot free throws at a .748 clip entering the game.) Senior point guard Chris Chiozza did not attempt a free throw until 46 seconds into OT and missed both of his tries.

Yet another collapse: UF led by 11 midway through the second half but immediately gave up an 11-1 run to UGA as the Gators committed five turnovers and scored one point in seven minutes while going 1-for-7 from the field. The Dawgs went on to score six points in the final 16 seconds of the second half, going 3-for-3 from downtown over the last 1:08 as the hosts turned the ball over twice. The second turnover was by redshrit junior guard Jalen Hudson, who traveled on an inbounds pass; had he caught it and been fouled, it likely would have ended the game for Florida. Instead, Georgia immediately drained a three on the ensuing possession as UF head coach Mike White chose not to foul despite holding a three-point lead. Hudson went 0-for-3 from the field (no attempts in the second half) and 0-for-2 from the charity stripe in a do-nothing effort.

Exceptional efforts: Graduate transfer G Egor Koulechov was fantastic, particularly at the end of the second half as he scored the final eight points of the period for Florida and looked to have fueled his team to victory. He scored 19 points, draining 3-of-5 treys and 6-of-7 free throws. Sophomore G Kevaughn Allen was also solid, matching Koulechov with 19 points and a 3-for-5 clip from downtown. Despite their improved play, they could not make up for Hudson being scoreless and Chiozza shooting 2-for-14 from the field with only three points until a late garbage-time layup.

Odds and ends: Florida only made 13-of-36 attempts from two-point range in the game, going 3-for-15 from inside the arc in the first half … UF led for 34:23 of the 45-minute game with UGA only leading for 8:35 … the Gators were once again outrebounded (44-37) but got 35 points off their bench and outscored the Dawgs in the paint 24-22 … Florida had an opportunity to sit at second in the SEC with a win and another Kentucky loss but blew that opportunity

What it means: The Gators have now lost five games at home in 2017-18, including three in SEC play (over the last four such games). Florida also lost fell for the fourth time when leading at the half and gave up yet another double-digit lead in the second half. Simply put, this is not a good basketball team. Big-man injuries deserve some of the blame, but the Gators have been playing short-handed all season, so it is certainly not an excuse. The referees were also awful on Wednesday, including giving Georgia an extra position late in the second half — but again, Florida should be good enough to overcome that. This is a lost season for UF. Period.

Up next: Florida will play back-to-back games in the state of Tennessee as it takes on Vanderbilt on Saturday at 4 p.m. and Tennessee next Wednesday at 9 p.m. with both games televised on ESPN2.


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