In a game that will go a long way to determine the outcome of the SEC East division title, Florida out manned and out muscled Georgia under the boards Tuesday night to put a strangle hold on the division.
Georgia came out hot, but finished very cold Tuesday night. In the first half the momentum of the game was with Georgia, with the exception of one Florida run. Georgia and the crowd were extremely fired up and emotional. But in the second half Georgia went totally cold and Udonis Haslem came to play.
Georgia dominated the first half and took a six point lead into the locker room. The Dawgs looked as good in the first half against Florida as they have all season. Chris Daniels and Jonas Hayes did a good job of getting Florida's Udonis Haslem into foul trouble, forcing him to miss much of the latter part of the first half with two personal fouls.
With Haslem on the bench Florida looked lost; but with him playing they looked like a national power.
In the second half Haslem looked outstanding. Georgia simply ran out of fouls to give and bodies to play on him. It was obvious that Georgia needed Steve Thomas in this game, without him the Dawgs really stood no chance inside. Georgia was simply outsized when compared to Florida's post players.
More than that, however, Haslem was able to dictate play on many of Florida's offensive possessions in the second half, forcing Georgia to double team him when he got the ball on the blocks, and therefore allowing Florida to shoot unrestricted from the perimeter.
Georgia's pathetic free throw shooting in the second half did not help the Dawgs catch-up cause. Numerous times in the second half, Georgia had the opportunity to cut the Florida lead, but too many time the Dawgs missed free throws. This must change if Georgia plans on making a run in the SEC and NCAA tournaments.
Also the offensive production must be steadier if Georgia hopes to catch Florida in the SEC standings. Winning the division is looking more and more unlikely now because of Georgia's remaining schedule and the helter-skelter performance of late from the Dawgs.
Georgia went over seven minutes in the second half with no points from the floor. Florida's defense was outstanding, and Georgia's perimeter game was lack-luster at best. Ezra Williams shot was nowhere to be found in the second half and Jarvis Hayes was shut down by the impressive Florida defense.
With all of that said, Georgia is in a must win situation Saturday against Kentucky. Win and the Dawgs still have hope to catch Florida, lose and the Dawgs are assured of third or even fourth place in the East.
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