Around the Stegesaurus: The Florida game

ATHENS - For the second time in as many games the Georgia student section took the floor after a big win.

Because of the late start I was able to sneak into the old Stegosaurus a little bit earlier than usual. When the doors opened at 7:30 the Stegosaurus roared with the sound of students running to their respective seats in their sections.

The PA system had Queen's "We are the champions" playing as the students ran to their seats. I have not seen the students be so into a game when Georgia has had a near losing record before in my life. The combination of Georgia playing at 9PM and playing hated Florida had to have something to do with it.

Still, I was told that last season, with Florida ranked number 2 in the country and Georgia having a solid season, the student section was totally full minutes after the doors were opened. That was not the case this season.

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Also, well before tip off Georgia assistant coach Ken McDonald won several shooting games in a row against the team's managers and trainers.

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Joey Waldrop slam dunked a few balls about an hour before tip off to the screaming enjoyment of the student section.

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Georgia got off to a great start of the game, particularly Levi Stukes. He had 11 points in the first half due to his precision shooting. His accuracy fell off after the start of the half but it gave Georgia a considerable cushion to work with.

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Dennis Felton took out all of his seniors except Damien Wilkins just before the 8 minute media timeout; it cost him. Florida went on a run that established them as the leader of the game for some time thereafter. Before that point Georgia was in control of the game. It should also be noted that Georgia was not able to get back in rhythm shooting the ball.

The Dawgs still managed to shoot 52 % from the field but their shooting was so hot to begin the game that the drop off in the later parts of the 1st half really cost Georgia.

Florida's substitute point guard Ryan Applebee was totally lost against Rashad Wright's defensive pressure. In fact, Wright played so well that Florida's best guard, Anthony Roberson, was held scoreless in the first half.

However, Georgia was not guarding Matt Walsh very well. The best thrower of elbows in the college game today scorched the Dawgs for 15 points in the first half; one more than his per game average.

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Fouls became a problem for Felton to handle in the 2nd half. He stuck with the man-to-man, which Felton thinks is his team's most intense defense. But Jonas Hayes and Chris Daniels had to be aware of their play; they both had two fouls to start the 2nd half and Daniels committed his third during the first segment of the 2nd half.

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With Florida sitting in a 2-3 zone Georgia let Chris Daniels dribble the ball up to the floor. That allowed for an extra shooter, Rashad Wright to shoot at will against Florida's zone. It was a great coaching move by Felton because the player that was defending Wright in that area of the zone was Walsh, who had three fouls during that stretch.

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Georgia had multiple chances to extend their 6 point lead but squandered it several times. Eventually Walsh's sharp shooting got the Gators to within three.

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Wilkins' shoot clock beating jumper looked like it might take the steam out of Florida for good. That was until Roberson nailed a three; it was hit first basket of the night. But Rashad Wright's clutch 22 foot three pointer made the margin too much for the Gators.

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