Bliss: Dawgs "trying to make any postseason"

ATHENS – Georgia gets back to work tonight on its basketball season, which is long past the rebuilding stage.

Work is what it feels like at times for the Bulldogs, losers of eight of their last nine games heading into today's 7:30 p.m. matchup against Florida in Stegeman Coliseum.

"I guess you could say it's my job, so I'm still coming every day and working and trying to get better," freshman guard Zac Swansey said.

The Gators, two-time defending national champions, have beaten Georgia nine straight times.

"I think (Georgia head coach Dennis Felton) has done a terrific job with his guys just getting them to play and compete as hard as they do every game," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said.

Playing hard for its own sake is about all Georgia (12-13, 3-9 SEC) has left, and that's a tough adjustment for players like Swansey and fellow freshman Jeremy Price. Both won state titles two years ago, and they played on the same powerful AAU traveling team in the offseason.

"I haven't really been through phases like this, so it's something different," Swansey said, "but it's something I have to deal with right now."

Georgia senior Dave Bliss has been through this all before. The Bulldogs have had a winning record just once in his career.

"I think it can (be depressing) if you let it get that way, but being where I am at this point, having gone through it a few times, I'm really trying to enjoy it here at the end," Bliss said.

The Bulldogs are "just trying to make any postseason at this point," Bliss said, and even that seems a longshot considering a record of .500 or above is mandatory for selection in even the second-tier NIT.

"I don't really need a motivator," Bliss said. "I just want to play each game."

Swansey already is looking to next season, he said, when he is expected to take over the point guard spot currently held down by Sundiata Gaines.

"I'm going to use that to motivate me and get some confidence going into next year," he said. "I think we're going to try to build these next two weeks and take it into next year."

Having the Gators (20-7, 7-5) on the schedule will serve as enough motivation for tonight at least, Bliss said.

"Florida is always one you'd like to get, as of late especially just because they've been so good and they've been so hard to get," Bliss said. "Being at home, you always want to defend your home court, so I think it will be a pretty big game for us."

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