The Florida Gator men’s basketball team takes the road victory over the Georgia Bulldogs, 84-72, on Saturday. A career-high performance by Phlandrous Fleming Jr. helped catapult the Gators to the double-digit victory on the road.
Gators Hitting On All Cylinders
Florida was able to bounce back from eight-point defeat to No.18 Arkansas earlier in the week.
Fleming, a grad transfer from Charleston Southern, scored a game-high 27 points with five rebounds in 36 minutes of action. It was a fitting homecoming for the fifth year senior, who grew up 10 minutes away from Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Georgia.
Also, guard Tyree Appleby added 21 points and seven assists including splashing five triples. For the game, the Orange and Blue was feeling it from deep, hitting 14 three pointers. Fleming and Appleby combined to go 9-of-18 from long range.
Colin Castleton and Myreon Jones also scored in double-figures for the Gators. Jones scored 13 points while Castleton had another double-double with 10 points and 12 boards. This marked the first time in six games the Orange and Blue had more than two players scoring in double-figures.
Florida is still on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament and couldn’t afford a loss to the last place Bulldogs (6-23, 1-15).
Florida Cruises to Victory
The Gators shot 52 percent from the field even without one of their more consistent players. Florida was without Anthony Duruji, who was ruled out with an injury. CJ Felder filled in the role for the 27-game starter.
In the first half, it was nip and tuck for the most part as the Bulldogs countered every scoring run Florida threw at them. Midway through the half however, the Gators went on a 9-0 run that included seven straight points from Fleming. However, the Bulldogs were not going to go away as they cut the deficit back to a one score game after a Kario Oquendo triple.
Oquendo had a team-high 20 points for Georgia.
But a triple by Fleming with seconds remaining before the half gave Florida the 41-34 advantage heading into the locker room.
Coming out of half, Appleby and Jones had the hot hand. UF opened the half on a 10-0 run for a 17-point lead. Even though the Bulldogs cut the lead once again to single digits after a three-pointer with 12:54 before the final buzzer.
Then, Appleby knocked down back-to-back bombs from behind the arc and Georgia never got within striking distance again.
Georgia will welcome in N0.17 Tennessee on Tuesday before going on the road to play Missouri.
For Florida, with two games remaining in the regular season, it is now crunch time. With aspirations of making it to March Madness, there is little-to-no wiggle room for the Gators. UF will first take on Vanderbilt on the road before their season-finale at home against sixth ranked Kentucky.
Tip off against the Wildcats is set to start Saturday, March 5, at 2 p.m. in the O’Connell Center.