Arkansas forward Jaylin Williams (10) defends against Florida forward Colin Castleton (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)

Florida Men’s Hoops Take on Georgia

The Florida Gator men’s basketball team will travel to Stegeman Coliseum to take on the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday with tip-off at noon. Florida is 17-11 and 7-8 SEC, while Georgia is 6-22 and 1-14 SEC. 

Entering the Game

The Gators are coming off of an 82-74 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Gators blew a second-half lead over Arkansas and the opportunity to defeat another ranked team. Florida previously gained an incredible 63-62 victory over the previous No. 2 Auburn Tigers that sent fans storming onto the court at Stephen C. O’Connell center.  

Georgia is entering Saturday’s game with eight consecutive losses, including a 91-77 loss to Texas A&M this past Tuesday. Georgia has a 211th NET ranking, while Florida is sitting at No. 56.

This season has clearly been a rough one for Georgia Head Coach Tom Crean and it may be his last. The Bulldogs lost major players such as K.D. Johnson who transferred to Auburn, and Sahvir Wheeler who made the move to Kentucky. The Bulldogs are lacking an SEC-caliber roster, but continue to fight on. 

Georgia’s sideline reporter Chuck Dowdle comments on coach Crean and the loss of talent the Bulldogs are suffering from. 

Last matchup 

The Gators defeated the Bulldogs in a home game earlier this season 72-63. Florida guard Myreon Jones led the Gators with an exceptional career-high of 23 points.

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Jones recorded seven three-pointers, helping the gators extend a four-game winning streak. 

Jones was followed by Colin Castleton with 13 points. Castleton also led the Gators in rebounds (9), while Tyree Appleby led the team in assists (3).

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Georgia guard Kario Oquendo is undoubtedly the star of the Bulldogs. Oquendo was the top-scorer for Georgia, putting up 22 points and securing eight rebounds against the Gators. Oquendo shot 15 of his 22 points in the second half. He was followed by Aaron Cook with 14 points and Braelen Bridges with 12. 

The Bulldogs presented a strong defensive performance against the Gators, but Florida outshined Georgia on the other end of the court. Florida recorded a 45.6 field goal percentage with a 34.3 three-point percentage. Georgia trailed the Gators with shooting threes at only 20 percent, and maintaining just 37.5 percent of field goals.

Georgia also struggles with turnovers. The Bulldogs gave away 14 turnovers in their last match against Florida.

Dowdle explains the only way the Bulldogs can come out on top is if the Gators help them get there.

Must-Win for the Gators 

While the Gators are favored by 81.4 percent, Florida always has a challenge while on the road at Georgia. The Gators will need to be on their toes to secure a much-needed win for the NCAA Tournament that is fast approaching. 

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Gators last in the Next Four Out category. The Gators must secure a sixth consecutive win over the Bulldogs, and a season-ending victory over No. 6 Kentucky to impress the committee and secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Despite the pressure that is looming over the Gators’ future, Florida Head Coach Mike White explains the importance of remaining focused on defeating Georgia.

The Bulldogs have not managed a win since Jan. 25, when they gained their only SEC win of 82-76 at home over Alabama. The Gators do not plan on Georgia’s losing streak ending any time soon.

About Ellie Shreve

Ellie is a second-year sports and media journalism major at the University of Florida.

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