GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Despite a comeback effort in the second half, the University of Georgia men’s basketball team fell, 70-63, to Florida on Saturday afternoon before 2,345 fans at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Sophomore Sahvir Wheeler highlighted the game with a career-high performance of 27 points and five steals. Senior Tye Fagan was the other Bulldog to score double digits with 14 and lead the team with six rebounds.
“We’re just looking to build and improve every day,” Georgia head coach Tom Crean said. “When you lose on the road you’re not really into the big picture, you’re more into what you’ve got to do to get ready for the next game. That’s where I’m at with it, but I think we’ve got a lot of guys that are making improvements right now.”
Back-to-back layups by Wheeler gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game, 8-7. After a 14-0 run by the Gators, Wheeler’s two free throws closed in on the Gators, 20-10. Capitalizing on another Georgia dry spell the Gators went 15 before sophomore Toumani Camara ended the scoring drought with a layup.
The Gators continued to stretch their lead in the first half, building an 18-point margin with five minutes remaining in the half. Wheeler notched two layups followed by a pullup jumper from Fagan. Florida’s Noah Locke ended the half with a buzzer-beating three-pointer, bringing the score to 37-23 at the half.
To start the second-half, Fagan scored the first point on a free-throw. Florida continued to extend their advantage building a 17-point lead in the process by the first media timeout. Within the first five minutes of the second half, Georgia began to narrow the gap after back-to-back three-pointers by Wheeler and Camara.
At the 12-minute mark, Georgia closed Florida’s advantage to 10. In response, the Gators once again widened their lead, to later be shortened back to 10 by Wheeler’s free throw. The rest of the half, the scoreboard was in favor of the Gators, but the Bulldogs closed the gap to six with 1:25 remaining. Georgia attempted one last comeback effort in the final minute, but Florida sealed the game on the foul line.
Georgia returns home for a matchup against LSU (14-6, 9-4) on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at Stegeman Coliseum. The meeting with the Tigers is set for 7 p.m. tip time and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.