The Florida Gators (15-7, 6-3) missed 22 of their final 26 shots en route to a 72-60 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs (13-8. 4-5) in Athens on Tuesday night. The loss snapped Florida’s four-game win streak against Georgia and extended their SEC-losing streak to two. The Gators were outshot from the field, 40%-37%.
Yante Maten was too much for Florida, finishing the game with 20 points and 7 rebounds on 7-14 shooting. He also sunk all 5 of his free throws. Chris Chiozza led the Gators with 15 points, adding 6 assists and 3 rebounds. Egor Koulechov finished with 13 points and 7 rebounds, but went 4-10 from the field.
Florida will have a chance to bounce back on Saturday when they take on the Alabama Crimson Tide in Gainesville. The Tide won their most recent game vs. No. 12 Oklahoma and will have a shot to pick up their 6th SEC win vs. Missouri on Wednesday night.
Florida was outscored 33-16 in the final 17 minutes and 4 seconds of tonight's game after jumping out to a 12-2 run to start the 2nd half.
— Jake Winderman (@jakewinderman) January 31, 2018
The SEC has no bottom and may have no middle either. Georgia picks off Florida in Athens. Bulldogs keeping themselves alive for an NCAA push in February.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) January 31, 2018
- 1. Way Too Much Isolation Offense: There’s a reason Florida didn’t hit a shot for 9 minutes and 44 seconds in the second half. The Gators’ best offense comes from drive-and-kicks. This strategy allows Chris Chiozza to control ball movement and the Gators to spread themselves wide on the three-point arc. Instead of this, Florida opted to try and force post-touches inside and take deep, contested three-pointers. UF went 4-14 from long-range in the final twenty minutes and missed 9 of their final 10 three-pointers. While Georgia’s defense deserves credit for a great effort and gameplan, Florida’s offense deserves an equal amount of blame for not moving enough off of the ball. The Gators’ 8 assists on Tuesday night were their lowest since December 30 vs. Vanderbilt
- 2. Rebounding Disparity: While Georgia is ranked 19th in the nation offensive rebounding percentage for good reason, the Gators were quite lazy in the first twenty minutes on the defensive boards. Florida allowed 10 offensive rebounds in the first 13 minutes of the game, leading to 11 second-chance points. In the end, UGA won the rebounding battle by a +9 margin. The Gators have now been outrebounded in 6 of their last 9 games. I say it in every Final Five Thoughts, but the Gators would kill to have John Egbunu back. Even Chase Johnson would make a big difference at this point. Every Bulldog besides Mike Edwards had at least 2 rebounds on Tuesday night.
- 3. Live And Die By The Three: Florida’s Jekyll and Hyde identity has a lot to do with this. The Gators went 9-26 from beyond the arc and took a ton of forced threes late in the shot clock. Only two Florida players shot higher than 42% from deep (Hudson/Chiozza), while four Florida players (Koulechov, Allen, Stone, Ballard) shot worse than 33%. The Gators need one of their big men to step up their post-offense or teams will continue to switch on everything and run Florida off of the three-point line.
- 4. Gators Once Again Dominated By Talented Big Man: Yante Maten is just another name on the list of big men to dominate Florida on the interior. Maten was one of four Georgia players with at least two offensive rebounds on Tuesday night and got countless extra opportunities at the rim that could’ve been prevented with solid defense rebounding by the Gators. Had Maten not forced a bunch of mid-range shots early in the first half, his shot percentage would’ve been way higher. The senior forward went 4-5 from the field, 1-1 from beyond the arc and 3-3 at the free throw line in the final twenty minutes.
- 5. Amnesia is Important in Conference Play: Home teams have won 68.4% of the games in SEC play this season, the 6th-highest of any Division 1 college basketball conference. While Tuesday night’s loss was devastating for Gator fans, it’s important that Florida’s squad moves on and prepares for an extremely talented squad in Alabama on Saturday afternoon. I know Mike White won’t dwell on the loss and has emphasized that point many a times in press conferences. It will be important for him to convey that message to his team in the days leading up to Saturday.