Florida vs Georgia basketball recap: Strong second half propels Gators over Dawgs

Billy Donovan speaks to his players in the first half against the Georgia Bulldogs at Stegeman Coliseum. (Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports)

The Florida Gators (15-2) entered into the unfriendly confines of Stegeman Coliseum Wednesday night to face the Georgia Bulldogs (7-11). They left with a result similar to the last time Florida played their neighbors to the north, running the Bulldogs out of their own gym 64-47.

It was a tale of two halves as the Gators went into halftime with the game very much in the balance. Florida did their best Bulldog impression on offense as one player doing most of the scoring (surprisingly Scottie Wilbekin) and the others running around like chickens with their heads cut off. The Gators defense acted as their saving grace and at half Florida trailed 27-24.

It seemed like it was “One of those games” for Georgia where the stars aligned and the Bulldogs would represent the chair Florida finally stubbed their toe on. Fate seemed to definitely be on their side after a miracle shot from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope that sent Georgia into the half with a three-point lead and all the momentum.

Luckily for Florida there was a second stanza, and the Gators won that half 40-20. Over the first 10 minutes of the second half the Gators outscored their opponent 17-4 and against a Georgia squad that only has one serious threat (Caldwell-Pope) the lead was insurmountable.

The run by Florida seemed inevitable in retrospect. Eventually Georgia’s fascination with turning the ball over (16 total) was going to catch up with them, and it did so to the tune of 18 points for Florida off of Georgia miscues.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia with 16 points, however the games leading scorer was the most unlikely of players. Scottie WIlbekin contributed 17 points building off of an impressive 13 points Saturday against Missouri; the point total ties his career high from the UCF game earlier this season.

Florida returns to the hardwood on Saturday against Mississippi State at 8pm.

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