Calathes Triple-Double Carries Gators

You could say it was a good night for the Florida Gators (18-3, 5-1) and guard Nick Calathes in particular. Florida's All-American guard produced the third triple-double in school history on Wednesday night and helped defeat arch-rival Georgia (9-11, 0-5) in front of 11,121 at the O'Connell Center. Florida won decisively 83-57 with a balanced effort from the team.

The Gators placed four players in double figures. A balanced effort that head coach Billy Donovan said is key for someone like Calathes to post a triple-double. Calathes finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists on the night and Donovan knows that his teammates are a big part of his big night.

"I think any time a guy gets a triple-double like that I think it's always because of the people around you," Donovan said of his team. "There are certain things you have to do as a player. Nick plays hard and competes. He has a great drive to get better. I do think his ability to go in there and rebound at the guard position has always been great for our team. He's unselfish and has the ability to score. If he didn't have great players around him, he couldn't get assists and couldn't score because everybody would load up on him and try to take him out of the game. At times it's hard to take him out of the game because Chandler (Parsons) goes 7-for-8 from the three-point line, Dan Werner knocks down a couple of threes, Irving (Walker) makes a couple of threes, or Alex Tyus makes a great post move. Really he makes a couple of triple-doubles because he has great balance around him. It's great that Nick has a triple-double, but I would think that Nick would feel his teammates are just as responsible as he was."

That balance was apparent as four Gators scored in double digits. Forward Alex Tyus scored eight points and pulled down five rebounds against the overmatched Bulldogs. Forward Dan Werner scored 11 points and forward Chandler Parsons scored 12 of his own and pulled down four rebounds.

With all the points, it wasn't a great shooting night, but a good one for the Gators who shot 49 percent from the field. They did make up for it going 10-of-12 from the free throw line.

The Gators held Georgia to just 43.4 percent shooting on the night and one thing that has been good for the Gators has been their defensive play in SEC action. The Gators have yet to allow an SEC team to hot 50 percent from the field this season.

"I think some of the things we are doing defensively are things I wouldn't be doing as a coach, but I think they are things we have to do to win," Donovan said. "I think we are a very cerebral group, a smart group. There are adjustments you can make in practice and during games and they are good at picking them up.

"The freshmen, it's hard for them, but the older guys are a pretty cerebral group. I think they are doing a good job of paying attention and understanding what teams are doing against us and then they are rotating and moving."

The Gators have really played well in the full court and continually force full court turnovers. The Bulldogs committed 17 turnovers on the night.

"We've gotten better defensively and I think our press has been pretty good," Donovan said. "For a team that struggles playing half court defense sometimes our press creates a lot of offense for us. You would think that a team footwork wise and quickness wise has some difficulties, pressing would be the worst thing to do. But you know, they are smart enough that they can split the difference on some guys, we have some guys with some length they would have to throw around. They are pretty good anticipators, there are some good things they can do."

They also have defended the three point line well. The Bulldogs shot a miserable 28.8 percent from the field.

"I have been pretty pleased with the strides we've made defensively. The one thing we have done is defend the three-point line and I think that is very important. We have to continue to do that because I think that is the great equalizer in basketball."

The Gators have also been relentless since the start of the SEC schedule. Werner, noticed Calathes close to his triple-double but only 8:14 left on the clock and a 29-point lead, he wasn't worried helping out a teammate with a personal goal.

"I saw it was 17 (points), 10 (rebounds), and seven (assists) and I was thinking wow, he has a chance to get a triple-double," Werner said. I really didn't think about it too much because there was a lot of time left. You just don't want to talk about that with so much time on the clock, too many things can happen."

The Gators started 18-3 last season and now are off to a 16-3 start. They ended the year going 3-8 and winding up in the NIT. Calathes seems determined and sure that the bad finish will not happen again.

"I think we are (prepared for it), I think we've been through it," Calathes said. "We can't be complacent, but I think we will be ready. We have to get better and tougher."

Personal goals are great, but winning is what it is all about.

"I'll take a 26-point win in the SEC any day," Calathes said. "Our main goal is to win an SEC Championship and we have to take it one step at a time."

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