Press pushes No. 7 Florida to win

Georgia came to Gainesville after winning its first two Southeastern Conference games, including one in a hostile environment at Missouri. The Bulldogs weren't ready for what they saw on Tuesday in the O'Connell Center. No. 7 Florida used its press to perfection in the first half to slow the Bulldogs and cruise to a school record 25th consecutive home win.

The press wasn't working for the first four minutes of the game. The Bulldogs started by having a big man inbound the ball and clearing out the backcourt to present a two-on-one advantage for Georgia in the backcourt.

So Billy Donovan changed things up.

The Gators started to trap the Georgia player that caught the inbound pass, sparking a 13-0 Florida run to take a 17-6 lead. Georgia head coach countered by having guard Charles Mann inbound the ball, but by that point, the damage was done.

"Huge impact. It changed the game," Florida guard Michael Frazier said. "We were able to get on them and get an early lead. We kept it there the whole game."

Florida stretched it out to a 22-4 run and ended the first half on a 30-10 run.

The Florida press trailed off at the end, but it forced 10 Georgia turnovers in the first 15:07 of play on Tuesday. Georgia won last week in a hostile atmosphere at Missouri, but the Bulldogs said on Tuesday that it was nothing compared to what they saw from the O'Connell Center.

Finney-Smith made plays in the press

Florida had just four fastbreak points on the night, but the turnovers forced by the press helped the Gators play the game at the pace they wanted.

"It helped us a lot," said senior forward Will Yeguete. "They weren't expecting it. They turned the ball over a lot and that got us going, got the crowd going. We got layups, fastbreaks, dunks. They didn't know what to do against the press. That really helped us in the first half.

"Coach just told us to go (into the press) because they were struggling with it. It was effective, so we just kept on going with it."

The Bulldogs rely heavily on guards Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann to lead the offense, and Donovan wanted to do his best to tire them out. While they expended energy to try beating the Florida press, it affected their offensive game. The duo came into Tuesday combining to average 36.5 points per game. The Florida defense managed to hold them to 12 points.

"We knew their two guards play a lot of minutes, so Coach Donovan wanted to bring fatigue into play," Florida forward Dorian Finney-Smith said. "That's why we pressed so much."

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