Editor’s note: This is the debut piece from our newest staff writer, Benjamin Pace. Ben will be giving us a great deal of knowledge with both the Atlanta Braves and Georgia Bulldogs. Welcome, Ben!
Mark Fox and the Georgia Bulldogs were 2-0 in SEC play heading into their game against the Florida Gators in Gainesville on Tuesday. Unfortunately, they couldn’t stop the Gators from taking over the game early and never letting the Dawgs back into it on their way to a 72-50 Florida rout.
There is a pretty simple rule of thumb in college basketball: If a team can’t score more than 20 points in a half, they are likely going to lose. Georgia proved that rule true in the first half by only managing a paltry 16 points. The Dawgs can certainly look to a veritable deluge of things that went wrong in the game, but turnovers rose head and shoulders above the rest. In the first half alone, the Dawgs managed to turn the ball over to Florida 12 times while getting outscored by 20 points.
Things got slightly better in the second half as Georgia scored 34 points, but the Dawgs had already dug too deep of a hole to emerge from. Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines, two players the Dawgs have come to rely on for their offensive contributions, shot the ball terribly going a combined 4-15 from the field in the game. When the best shooters on the team started tossing up more bricks than Home Depot, the Dawgs really needed somebody to step up.
Juwan Parker and Marcus Thornton tried their best to pick up the slack off with 24 points combined, but it couldn’t put a dent in the Gator’s scoring onslaught. Florida managed to shoot a healthy 46% from the floor for the entire game, including 42% from three-point land. The player of the game was Florida guard Michael Frazier II, who dominated the scoring with 21 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. The Dawgs simply couldn’t stop him from draining threes down the stretch.
Georgia was a 14-point underdog going into this game, and they looked every bit of it on the court. UGA fans can certainly hope, after wins against Alabama and Missouri, that this is just a tough speed bump against a #10 ranked Florida squad. Mann and Gaines had such a rare bad shooting day that they will likely bounce back quickly. SEC teams won’t often be able to hold this Georgia team to just 50 points, a new season low. The upcoming home game against Arkansas should be a better SEC benchmark for the Dawgs than the surging Gators provided.