By: Charles Kane (Twitter @ckane02)
Scottie Wilbekin tied a career high with 17 points Wednesday night as No. 8 Florida scrapped through a lethargic start to dominate the second half and win 64-47 against Georgia.
The Bulldogs started off with more energy than the Gators and the scoreboard reflected that. A 6-0 start quickly turned into an 11-2 lead for Georgia at the 16-minute mark in the first half. Georgia had 15 points at the 12-minute mark. The Bulldogs scored 12 points in the entire first half exactly two weeks ago in Gainesville. The Gators then had a run of their own scoring eight straight points led by Wilbekin. 14 of the Gators’ first 16 points came in the paint. Wilbekin ended the first half with 13 points on 6-7 shooting.
Georgia shot 6-10 from the 3-point arc in Thursday’s first half after shooting 1-10 Jan. 9th during their last meeting with Florida. They also shot 10-20 from the field and led by just three after having a largest lead of nine early on. The Bulldogs doubled the amount of made field goals in the first half they had last time these teams met.
Georgia cooled off in the second half and Florida became red hot. The Bulldogs shot 6-19 (32%) in the second half from the field compared to the Gators’ 12-24 (50%). They stopped shooting 3-point shots almost entirely as they attempted merely two the entire second half. Florida’s defense stepped up and played much more aggressive which limited the Bulldogs looks everywhere on the court. Their offense picked up immediately as they started the half on a 21-4 run.
Erik Murphy scored all 13 of his points during his 16 minutes of playing time in the second half shooting 3-5 from downtown. Kenny Boynton was the team’s second leading scorer and he finished with 14 points. Will Yeguete quietly had a very good game with nine points, 11 rebounds and tied a career high with four steals. The whole team scored 40 points in the second half compared to the Bulldogs’ 20.
One bright spot for Georgia was its leading scorer Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. After scoring just 11 points two weeks ago he finished with 16 in this one and added seven rebounds as well.
Florida won their seventh straight game Thursday and has won by at least 17 points in each contest. They have won 17 of their last 20 games against Georgia. The Gators improved to 15-2 and 5-0 in the SEC. They continue SEC action Saturday Jan. 26 at Mississippi State.
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