Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators cage Dawgs to sweep series vs. Georgia

By Adam Silverstein
February 20, 2021
Florida basketball score, takeaways: Gators cage Dawgs to sweep series vs. Georgia
Basketball

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Florida Gators basketball achieved one of its most complete victories of the season against a quite familiar opponent, topping the Georgia Bulldogs 70-63 on Saturday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. In doing so, Florida swept Georgia 2-0 as it looks to close out its 2020-21 regular-season schedule.

The Gators nearly earned a wire-to-wire win, taking the lead with at 12:43 to go in the first half and maintaining their advantage for the final 32:43 of the game. Florida led by as many as 18 points in the first half and maintained a double-digit lead until there were less than 3 minutes left in the contest.

What went down Saturday as UF picked up a big home win over UGA? Keep on reading for our Fastbreak takeaways from the game.

It was over when ... Junior point guard Tyree Appleby made two free throws to put the Gators ahead by eight with 1:26 to play. Though Florida led by 15 points with 5:34 left, Georgia erupted on an 11-2 run to get within six as time ticked away. Appleby’s free throws — he made two more in the waining seconds — staved off a comeback and allowed Florida to pull it out in the end.

First half focus: The Dawgs were ice cold shooting in the first half, allowing the Gators to build and extend a lead, putting the game away before it even got started. Georgia went scoreless for 7:38 as Florida went on a 13-0 run and extended 23-4 scoring stretch to lead by 18 with 5:37 left in the opening period. UGA made just 10 of 31 field goals and 1 of 12 threes in the first 20 minutes, while UF hit 5 of 10 shots from long range.

Exceptional efforts: Junior guard Noah Locke was a star … in the first half, making 3 of 5 triples for nine points; however, he went 0 of 5 from deep in the latter 20 minutes and did not score in the second half. Locke became the ninth player in program history to make 200 three-pointers in his career. Sophomore center Colin Castleton was exceptional with a team-high 14 points on 5 of 5 shooting plus seven rebounds and a 4 of 5 mark from the charity stripe. Appleby and sophomore PG Tre Mann each scored 13 points, combining to go 3 of 6 from three and 11 of 12 from the free-throw line.

Odds and ends: Sophomore PG Ques Glover posted 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting … Florida was efficient off the bench 29-12 but got dominated in paint scoring 28-40 … the Gators outrebounded the Dawgs 40-31 and 33-23 defensively … UF had seven blocks and assists on nine of 22 baskets … Florida led for 35:55 of the 40-minute game … the Gators shot 44.9% from the field and are now 11-0 this season when making more than 43% of their baskets (0-6 otherwise) … this was Florida’s first win this season scoring fewer than 72 points (1-6) … UF improved to 118-103 all-time against UGA, including 67-38 at home and 9-3 under head coach Mike White … the Gators have improved to 99-22 all-time under White when scoring 70+ points and 86-24 when allowing 69 or fewer

What it means: As it has throughout the season, Florida once again proved to be a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde team. The Gators largely dominated the Dawgs with stellar defense in the first half but allowed the visitors to fight back in the latter period. This time, Florida’s lead was so substantial that it was difficult to completely cut into it. Different players stepped up in each half, and the Gators remained aggressive over the entire 40 minutes even when their shots were not falling.

What’s next? Florida has just three games left on its regular-season schedule with both of next week’s contests on the road. It will play at Alabama on Tuesday before travelling to Kentucky on Saturday.

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