Gator Seek Fourth SEC Road Win

In any conference if you can get a split of your road games the chances are you'll have a pretty good season. The Gators can pretty much accomplish both goals in Athens on Saturday. Florida takes a 9-4 SEC record to the state of Georgia, including a 3-3 SEC road mark.

A win over Georgia would assure the Gators of no worse than a 4-4 record away from the O'Dome and serve as another positive on Florida's NCAA resume.

Florida has already reached the 20-win mark while guaranteeing itself a winning mark in the SEC. While some believe the Gators should have already assured itself of a return to the NCAA Tournament, it would be a mistake for the Gators to make that assumption. Another win or two could end up being the difference when the NCAA Selection Committee makes its decisions on March 14.

*************************************************************

In the first meeting Florida capitalized on Georgia's mediocre ball handling and had perhaps its most effective pressing game of the season. The Gators forced Georgia into 19 turnovers while committing just ten, which was a major factor in the game.

Georgia started out effectively, grabbing an early 9-5 lead and holding a one point advantage (21-20) with nine minutes to play in the opening half. Erving Walker knocked down a three point shot to give the Gators the lead and Florida went on to finish the half on a 25-12 run to lead by 12 (45-33) at the break. Georgia made a couple of little runs in the second half, but never got closer than eight points as the Gators posted an 87-71 win.

Florida was led by Alex Tyus who scored 23 points while backcourt mates Walker and Kenny Boynton added 21 each. Walker added 10 assists for his only double-double as a Gator. Georgia got a strong performance from Trey Thompkins who scored 24 points while pesky Ricky McPhee added 21.

*************************************************************

Georgia is led by Thompkins (17.8/8.1) who is one of the toughest guys to match up with in the SEC. Travis Leslie (14.5/7) is an incredible athlete on the wing while McPhee (10.2) and Dustin Ware (8.3, 90 assists) make for a solid back court. Georgia has had turnover issues all season long and is minus-3.3/game on the year.

Georgia comes into the game 12-14 overall and 4-9 in the SEC. However at home they have been much better, posting an 11-3 mark with four wins in six league home games. Georgia beat both Vanderbilt and Tennessee at home, but somehow lost to Ole Miss and Arkansas in front of the home folks. You gotta think they view the Florida game as sort of a season saver. Considering Georgia's record, Florida's relatively easy win in the first meeting and the Gators' hot play of late it would seem to be a concern that the Gators would take the ‘Dawgs lightly. I asked Florida Coach Bill Donovan is he had any such concerns.

"Well I thought after going Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday we should do that again so there's no time to think. I think our guys have great respect for Georgia and the way they came in here and played us. They shot a really high percentage from the field. McPhee shot the ball great from the three point line (5-for-8) and Thompkins scored 24 points. He's a hard guy for us to handle. Our guys have watched enough college basketball to know how Georgia has done on the road, being right there with everyone. Then you look at what they've done at home beating Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Alabama they've had some phenomenal home wins and have been an extremely good home team. I think our guys have the utmost respect for their size across the front court, the athlete that (Travis) Leslie is, the shooter that McPhee is and the point guard that Ware has become."

*************************************************************

Chandler Parsons (953) and Alex Tyus (951) are all but certain to reach the 1,000-point mark before the end of the season. The Gators are assured of at least five more games, which means the Florida forwards can reach the milestone by averaging 10 points a game.

*************************************************************

All five Gators starters are again averaging in double figures With Kenny Boynton (13.5) tops on the team and Vrnon Macklin (10.4) fifth. That's also true in SEC games, but with a wider spread. Erving Walker (16.1) is Florida's top scorer in league play with Macklin, again fifth (10.1).


Fightin Gators Top Stories