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Tuesday, July 05, 2022
Noah Locke
Noah Locke

The Gators muzzled the Bulldogs on the defensive side of the court on Wednesday night.

UF held Georgia to 20 of 46 from the field and caused 16 turnovers in Stegeman Coliseum.

The gutsy defensive performance paired with double-digit scoring nights from forward Keyontae Johnson and guard Noah Locke helped Florida earn a 68-54 win over Georgia.

Overall, UF started the game as badly as it could've.

Defensive lapses allowed Georgia (15-15, 5-12 SEC) to convert seven of the team's first 10 shots from the field.

That fiery start for the Bulldogs had them up 19-6 in the early going with Florida (19-11, 11-6 SEC) reeling.

That's when the Gators kickstarted an 8-0 run to kill Georgia's momentum and change the entire landscape of the game.

The rest of the first half went back-and-forth with the Bulldogs clinging to a 30-28 lead at halftime.

UF's defense adjusted after the bad start to the contest and held its opponent to 20 percent shooting in the first half after the 7 of 10 start.

Johnson led Florida with 13 first-half points, keeping his team within striking distance.

Georgia forward Anthony Edwards was held in check in the first half, only scoring four points. His teammate Rayshaun Hammonds picked up some of the slack with 10 points during the first 20 minutes of play to go along with seven rebounds.

In the second half, the Gators defense that helped them crawl back into the game, put them ahead comfortably.

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Georgia shot just 8 of 20, including a 1-of-5 showing from beyond the arc in the second half, leading to a 24-point effort in the last 20 minutes of play.

Offensively, Locke and guard Scottie Lewis were the most efficient in the second half.

Lewis collected all 11 of his points after halftime, while Locke knocked down three treys to finish the game with 17 points.

The Bulldogs held a 46-45 advantage with just under eight minutes to play; that's when the Gators took over.

Florida outscored Georgia 23-8 the rest of the game. UF shot 7 of 9, while UGA shot just 1 of 5.

That was the difference in Wednesday night's game.

The Bulldogs collapsed, and the Gators took full advantage.

Now sitting at 11-6 in conference play, Florida currently holds fourth place in the SEC standings.

A win over Kentucky at the O'Connell Center on Senior Day this weekend would guarantee the team a double bye in next week's SEC Tournament.

You can contact Evan Lepak at elepak@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @evanmplepak.

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