Georgia nearly completes 21-Point Comeback in Enemy Territory, falling short to Florida, 98-102

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Georgia nearly completes 21-Point Comeback in Enemy Territory, falling short to Florida, 98-102

The Georgia Men’s basketball team traveled back to Mike White’s former home on Saturday to take on the Florida Gators in the Sunshine State. The Dawgs fought hard but eventually fell to the Gators with a final score of 98-102.

Georgia started the game off slow. Failing to convert on any of their first four shots. The Florida defense got off to a hot start. They converted six points off of four turnovers within the first five minutes of the game. Mike White called his first timeout of the game after the Dawgs went down 5-12.





RJ Melendez helped will the Dawgs back into the game with back-to-back three-pointers, making the score 15-24. This 6-0 run, followed by Florida losing the ball out of bounds, led the Gators to call their first timeout.

The rest of the first half was back and forth until Florida’s Micah Handlogten drilled a three, followed by a Georgia turnover and a Florida four-point play. This sequence gave the Gators their biggest lead of the half, up 16 points. Justin Hill answered with a three of his own.





Two technical fouls were called, one on each team, when Florida’s Kugel shoved Georgia’s Abdur-Rahim.

Florida had the final possession and was able to make a mid-range buzzer-beater to close out the first half. RJ Melendez led the Dawgs in scoring at the half with 13 points. Georgia trailed by 13 heading into halftime.

The start of the second half wasn’t much better for the Dawgs. Florida had a consistent double-digit lead. Silas Demary Jr. fouled out with 13:22 remaining. Georgia was down 21 points with 9 minutes remaining.

Things got interesting when Blue Cain and RJ Melendez hit back-to-back three-pointers with 2:44 remaining, bringing the Florida lead down to 7 points. Another Florida miss gave Blue Cain the opportunity to drive down and score. Cain was fouled and made both free throws. Georgia called a timeout down 80-85 with 2:02 remaining. Blue Cain made it a one-possession game with a corner three. Florida’s next possession resulted in a shot-clock violation. Blue Cain once again drove down, making a layup, to tie it up at 85. The shot clock turned off. Georgia had the ball on the final possession but turned the ball over. Florida threw up a prayer at the buzzer, but it did not fall. The ballgame headed to overtime.

Florida was the first to score in overtime, hitting an and-one layup. Melendez quickly scored two. The Dawgs trailed one. Florida was again able to sneak under the basket, hitting another easy layup. Russell Tchewa drove in and once again got Georgia within one. Another Florida layup caused Mike White to use one of his two timeouts with 3:12 remaining. Blue Cain missed a corner three, allowing the Gators to take a 5-point lead with another mid-range jumper. Justin Hill came down awkwardly on his leg as the shot clock expired, giving Florida the ball up 5 with 2:08 on the clock. Florida has two of the top five rebounders in the SEC, and it showed throughout this matchup. Florida’s Will Richard had a clutch put-back layup to advance the Gator’s lead to 7 with 51 seconds remaining. RJ Melendez drove right and scored. Jabri Abdul-Rahim used his fifth foul to stop the clock, putting Florida on the line, where they made both free throws. Again Georgia made another layup, this time by Noah Thomasson. The Dawgs were within 5 with 22 seconds left. Georgia fouled freshman Alex Condon. He made both free throws. Thomasson converted another layup, followed by a Florida turnover and a deep three from RJ Melendez. Georgia trailed 2 with 6.5 seconds. This forced another defensive foul that put 83% free throw shooter, Zyon Pullin, at the line. The Dawgs again trailed 4, this time with 5.7 ticks on the clock. The clock struck zero after RJ Melendez attempted a deep three for the final shot of the game.

RJ Melendez led the scoring efforts with a career-high 35 points. Georgia ended up shooting 52% from the field (42.3% from three). Florida finished shooting 54.9% from the field (35% from three). The Dawgs got out-rebounded 27-48.

Georgia returns home Wednesday to match up against Alabama at 6:30PM EST.





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