Gators Scratch out a Win

Last year when the Florida Gators faced Georgia Southern, they scored just 52 points. This time around scoring wasn't an issue, but it was a lot closer than the Gators would have preferred. Georgia Southern came back from a 19-point deficit to trail by only three points with less than a minute to go before the Gators put away the Eagles, 88-81, at the O'Dome on Monday night.

Nick Calathes led the Gators with 21 points, but it was a huge 3-point basket with six seconds left in regulation that were his most important of the night. With 39 seconds left, Georgia Southern's Sandy Perry was fouled while scoring on a layup and hit the free throw to cut the Gator lead to 83-80. But a questionable decision by the Eagles not to foul enabled Calathes to hit the clinching shot.

Alex Tyus had another big night, scoring 20 points and dominating the first half. Tyus scored 12 in the first 20 minutes and helped the Gators build a 48-33 lead. Florida shot the ball very well in the first half making better than 60 percent of their shots. The also grabbed 17 rebounds as a team and dished out 13 assists against only two turnovers.

Seven minutes into the second half, Florida appeared to be in complete control. Erving Walker who scored seven with four assists off the bench, made a layup extending Florida's lead to 64-45 with 13:11 left to play. But Florida's scoring would dry up, scoring just two points over the next four and a half minutes.

Georgia Southern used the Gator drought to help spur a 21-7 run, cutting Florida's lead to five points, 71-66, with 6:23 left. Florida missed eight of 10 shots during the Eagles' run and missed 4-of-5 free throws during one stretch.

In the final six minutes, Florida reversed its fortunes from the charity stripe, making 6-of-8 down the stretch. After making 4-of-10 from behind the arc in the first half, the Gators made just 2-of-8 in the second half. They struggled from the line all night long, making just 14-of-23 free throws.

Chandler Parsons rebounded from a poor outing on Saturday against UCF with 14 points. Parsons also grabbed seven rebounds and handed out five assists. Walter Hodge also played well, scoring nine and making 3-of-4 from the field. Kenny Kadji scored seven and grabbed seven boards in just 13 minutes played.

The 81 points allowed was the third time Florida allowed more than 80 points this season. Syracuse scored 89 and Washington scored 84 against the Gators – both games in Kansas City.

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