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Feb 17, 2024 3:47 pm

Florida spreads offense around, hangs on for win over Georgia

florida gators

Walter Clayton Jr. led five double-figure scorers with 21 points as Florida hung on for an 88-82 victory over Georgia in Southeastern Conference action Saturday in Athens, Ga.

Freshman Thomas Haugh scored a career high with 17 points on 3-of-4 3-point shooting, Zyon Pullin added 16, and Will Richard and Alex Condon added 10 each as the Gators (18-7, 8-4 SEC) extended their winning streak to three games with their seventh victory in their last eight outings.

Noah Thomasson scored a season-high 26 points to lead the Bulldogs (14-11, 4-8 SEC), who lost their sixth consecutive game. Russel Tchewa added 15 points, Justin Hill had 14, and Jabri Abdur-Rahim had 10.

After shooting 60 percent the first half, the Bulldogs cooled to 37.5 percent in the second to finish at 50 percent (27-of-54) for the game.

Florida, which outrebounded Georgia by 21 in the first meeting, held only a 38-31 rebounding advantage in the rematch but that was good for a 16-4 cushion in second-chance points.

Florida opened the second half on an 8-2 spurt to gain a 48-48 tie and eventually worked its way to a 61-53 lead as Georgia hit a shooting drought. The Bulldogs started the period 1-of-9 from the field but managed to stay close by going 11-of-11 at the free throw line to creep to within 63-62 with 8:15 remaining.

A rare 5-point lead came when Clayton made two free throws after he was fouled going for rebounding position on Condon’s made 3-pointer that put the Gators up 73-66 with 5:40 left.

The Bulldogs were within three points with 1:19 left, but Haugh’s free throw made it a two-possession game and Pullin made four free throws over the last 23.2 seconds to give the Gators a six-point cushion.

The Bulldogs opened the game 9-of-10 from the field to build a 22-11 lead just over seven minutes into the game with Thomasson accounting for 10 of Georgia’s total.

The Gators closed to within 31-29 on Pullin’s 3-pointer with 8:32 left in the period, but the Bulldogs opened that back up to 46-40 by the end of the period.

The Bulldogs finished the half shooting 60 percent (18 of 30) from the field while the Gators were 14 of 35 (40 percent). Haugh was already within one point of his collegiate high with a team-leading 12 points in the first half.

–Field Level Media

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