When on a five-game winning streak, and your back is against the wall there is no time to fall into old habits. The Florida Gators did just that when they let the struggling Georgia Bulldogs (11-18) come into Gainesville and end the Gators winning streak, with a 61-55 defeat.
Before the game, the Gators were flying high, and seemed to have a found a formula for success that got them back into tournament talk. Having the final two of three games at home, there is no excuse for losing to one of the worst teams in the conference in the fashion at which they did.
It was only a six-point lose, but the Gators played from behind the entire night due to another night of the offense not showing up. The driving forces behind the late season success decided to go back to old habits by not coming out to a fast start, or not out at all.
Kevaughn Allen who started to utilize the remainder of his senior season would finish with five points, and went 1-10 from the field, and 1-6 from three. Andrew Nembhard, who started to take a turn in his development as a player, couldn’t find his groove, as he would finish with eight points, going 2-6 from the field, 2-3 from three.
The only person that could even turn in a double-digit performance was Jalen Hudson (13 points) but would do it going 4-13 from the field, and 2-8 from deep. Hudson has started to be more of an asset to the offense as his senior season is coming to an end.
The Gators defense, for the most part, held up to its elite status only holding the Bulldogs to just 61 points. Not having a reliable big man presence came back to bite the Gators as the 6’11 220lb Nicolas Claxton had one of the best games of the season, with his 25 points on 9-12 shooting, and 2-2 from deep.
Head Coach Mike White was left to try and stop Claxson with the 6’5 guard Keyontae Johnson, because none of the frontcourt players could slow him down.
With the loss, the Gators are left with just two games against LSU (13) at home on Wednesday , and at Kentucky (4) to try and impress enough to get a tournament bid. The loss certainly hurt their chances because they were really starting the team that many thought they were going to see at the first half of the season.
Now to think they can sustain enough consistency against two high-quality teams seems to be farfetched for this group of Gators.