Georgia finally got the spark it wanted and notched a much-needed conference win in the meantime.
The Bulldogs (13-8, 3-5 SEC) used a 15-2 run – aided by two 3-pointers from point guard Tyree Crump – en route to a 72-60 victory over No. 23 Florida (15-7, 6-2 SEC).
Georgia became only the second team this season to hold the Gators below 66 points. The Bulldogs held Florida to just 38.7 percent from the field, its second-lowest in SEC play.
Crump was one of three Bulldogs with multiple three-pointers, a welcome surprise for a team that was shooting just 31.6 percent from 3-point range before the contest. The Bulldogs finished 8-25 from behind the arc but seemingly gained confidence with each made 3-pointer.
“I’m a warrior,” Crump said. “I just want to win. I know that when I get my chance, I’ll shine. Whatever I can do to help my team win, that’s what I’m gon’ do.”
“Like coach said, ‘your time is going to come back around,’ so that’s what I did. I waited for my time to come back around.”
Crump wasn’t the only Bulldog who enjoyed a productive night, either. Forward Yante Maten, a projected second-round NBA Draft pick, surpassed Bob Lienhard for the No. 6 spot on Georgia’s all-time scoring list.
“Consistency. Consistency is just repetition,” Maten said. “Whatever you do every day, is what you’re going to end up doing in the game.”
Maten was one of three Bulldogs that finished with more than 10 points. Guards William “Turtle” Jackson and Juwan Parker notched 16 and 12 points, respectively.
Georgia protected the ball on offense, too, finishing with just eight turnovers.
UGA small forward Nicolas Claxton finished with five points but made his presence known on the defensive end. The freshman secured four defensive rebounds in the second half and grabbed three blocks to help the Bulldogs preserve their lead.[Mike] Edwards and Claxton really changed the momentum of the game in the second half,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “Nic played very well from that point forward.”
UGA took the lead with a 10-2 run in the second half and never looked back, notching an important home victory. The Bulldogs’ first win in three tries couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Bulldogs now travel to SEC foes Mississippi State and Vanderbilt before returning home to face Auburn.
“It helps us a lot because we needed it,” Maten said. “We were on a losing streak, and now we can just build up from here. We lost some previous games, but we’re not looking back.
“We learn from our mistakes, but we’ve got to look forward.”
The Bulldogs, who now have wins over four teams from the 2017 NCAA Tournament (Florida, St. Mary’s, Winthrop, Marquette) now hit the road to face Mississippi State.