MBB: Georgia vs. Florida Preview

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MBB: Georgia vs. Florida Preview

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Georgia (12-9, 2-6 SEC) vs. Florida (13–8, 5-3 SEC)

Wednesday, February 5 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center (10,151) in Gainesville, Fla.

Watch: ESPNU (Tom Hart, play-by-play; Andy Kennedy, analyst)

Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta. XM: 382; Internet: 372. (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• Anthony Edwards is the nation’s top-scoring freshman at 19.3 ppg…and the only first-year player currently ranked among the top-50 scorers in D-I.

• Georgia has won its last two trips to Gainesville, the Bulldogs’ first back-to-back road wins over the Gators since the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons.

• Sahvir Wheeler is on pace to be the first Bulldog freshman with 100 assists in more than a decade…since Dustin Ware had 108 during the 2008-09 season.

• Six of nine SEC games at Stegeman Coliseum are now sellouts – Kentucky, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas and Florida.

• Georgia’s celebrated freshman class – ranked among the top-10 groups nationally by every recruiting service – features five of the nation’s top-100 prospects.

The Opening Tip

Georgia’s mid-week slate features a trip to Gainesville for a matchup with Florida at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on Wednesday evening.

The Bulldogs are 12-9 overall and 2-6 in SEC play. Georgia is coming off a 63-48 win over Texas A&M last Saturday when the Bulldogs quickly pushed a three-point halftime lead to double figures and kept the Aggies at a relatively comfortable distance the rest of the afternoon.

Georgia improved to 10-2 at home this season and upped its average attendance for the season to 9,581, which is on pace to be the second-best effort in program history. Considering three of five remaining home dates already sold out – including a March 4 rematch with the Gators – the Bulldogs could challenge their all-time average record of 9,857 in 2002-03.

Anthony Edwards, one of only two freshmen included on the 20-player late-season Wooden Award Watch List, is the nation’s top-scoring freshman at 19.3 ppg. Edwards, who was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday, posted his first two career double-doubles and ninth and 10th 20-point scoring outputs last week against Missouri and Texas A&M.

Keeping An Eye On . . . Entering Today’s Game

Among UGA’s Freshman Leaders Anthony Edwards is…

• 16 points from No. 5 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

• 27 points from No. 4 Cedric Henderson

• 75 points from No. 3 Litterial Green

Among UGA’s career Leaders Tyree Crump is…

• 10 3FGs from No. 10 Jody Patton

• 10 3FGAs from No. 8 G.G. Smith

 Anthony Edwards with the jam
Anthony Edwards with the jam

Series History

The Bulldogs and the Gators are facing off for the 220th time this evening. Florida owns a 114-105 advantage in the overall series and a 65-39 edge in Gainesville.

Florida is Georgia’s most frequent foe on the hardwood. Trailing the Gators on the list of most matchups for Georgia is Georgia Tech with 196 and Auburn with 190.

Georgia has won three of its last four dates with Florida. The road team won each end of last season’s home-and-home. Two years ago, the Bulldogs swept both contests, supplying Georgia with its first win in Gainesville since 2002 and first season sweep since 1996-97.

In the most recent meeting last season on March 2 in Gainesville, Nicolas Claxton exploded for a career-high 25 points to lead Georgia in a 61-55 victory over the Gators.

Georgia led for virtually the entire first half before the Gators grabbed a 28-27 advantage at the intermission. 

Florida opened the second half with a trio of buckets before the Bulldogs got back on track. Tye Fagan’s 3-pointer from the left corner put the Bulldogs up 41-39 with 11:38 left. Georgia never trailed again and closed out the contest on a 10-5 run.

Scouting The Gators

Florida is 13-8 overall and 5-3 in the SEC to date. The Gators won at Vanderbilt last Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak, which included a setback at No. 1 Baylor in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

Kerry Blackshear paces a quartet of double-digit scorers for Florida at 14.0 ppg and also leads the Gators on the boards at 8.3 rpg. Andrew Nembhard leads the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2 a-to-TO) and ranks second in assists (6.0 apg).

Last Time Out…

Anthony Edwards’ double-double of 29 points and 15 rebounds led Georgia to a 63-48 victory over Texas A&M last Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum.

The Bulldogs took the lead for good on a basket by Edwards with 36 seconds left in the first half and got another momentum boost on an acrobatic drive and finish by Sahvir Wheeler as time expired in the period.

After the Aggies scored the first points following intermission, Georgia embarked on a 15-4 surge that gave the Bulldogs control at 39-27 with 13:43 remaining. A&M never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

The victory was extra gratifying on Georgia’s Lettermen’s Reunion Day. Approximately 100 letterwinners – and a tally close to 500 including their family members – was in attendance. The centerpiece of that group was UGA’s1990 SEC Championship team.

Edwards Earns Georgia’s Third SEC Freshman of the Week Honor

Anthony Edwards was tabbed SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday after averaging 26.0 points and 12.5 rebounds in Georgia’s outings against Missouri and Texas A&M.

Bulldogs have now been named SEC FOTW three times this season. Previously, Edwards and Sahvir Wheeler were honored on Dec. 1 and Dec. 23, respectively.

Last week, Edwards became the first Bulldog freshman to post consecutive double-doubles since Jumaine Jones did so during the 1997-98 season. Edwards’ 15 rebounds against Texas A&M were the most by a Georgia freshman since Jones’ 16 versus Penn State in the semifinals of the 1998 NIT.

Edwards also was selected by the league – and also was tabbed National Freshman of the Week by CBSsports.com – following the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Most notably, he poured in 37 points against No. 3 Michigan State on Nov. 26, including a 33-point explosion in the second half. 

Edwards’ effort equaled the No. 11 single-game scoring tally in Georgia’s history and represented the most points by a Bulldog freshman since Jacky Dorsey scored 41 versus LSU on Jan. 20, 1975.

Wheeler was honored after he scored layups in the final five seconds of both the first and second overtime periods of UGA’s 87-85 double-OT win over SMU. He scored with four seconds remaining in the first OT to tie the score. In the second extra session, Wheeler’s layup with 1.9 seconds left supplied Georgia with the victory.

Wheeler Back In Action

Sahvir Wheeler returned to the court against Texas A&M after missing last Tuesday’s game at Missouri.

Wheeler, who leads Georgia in assists and is third in scoring, suffered an upper body injury in practice on Monday before the team departed for Columbia.

The Houston native had a strong linescore against the Aggies, with nine points, five assists, four boards and two steals in 31 minutes of PT.

Camara’s Contributions Climbing

Toumani Camara, who moved into the Bulldogs’ starting lineup in the 10th game of the season against SMU and has remained there since, has seen a massive up-tick in his production over the last 15 outings. 

The freshman from Brussels has nearly doubled his scoring and rebounding efforts and has logged more than twice as many minutes as he did in the first six games of the season as outlined below.

Over that span, Camara has been the Bulldogs’ third-leading scorer and rebounder and averaged the third-most minutes played. Those contests also include his career highs of 16 points vs. Georgia Southern, nine rebounds vs. Austin Peay and 34 minutes of playing time vs. SMU.

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