No. 23 Florida resumes SEC play with visit to Georgia
No. 23 Florida bounced back from a tough loss to South Carolina last week to roll over Baylor in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday.
The Gators now hope to turn in a similar effort when they return to SEC action Tuesday night with a visit to Georgia in Athens, Ga.
The Gators never trailed in an 81-60 rout of Baylor. Chris Chiozza led the way with 20 points and six assists in the win, including four 3-pointers, and he scored 13 straight at one point.
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The guard did a little bit of everything, and Florida (15-6, 6-2) needed it as this victory likely kept the Gators in the Top 25 — they dis drop three spots.
“I can’t imagine he’s had a better game than that,” Florida coach Mike White said. “He was fantastic.”
Jalen Hudson came off the bench again and delivered a strong performance with 17 points. Hudson’s given the Gators a boost off the bench several times this season, and it happened again Saturday.
“Coach White kept calling plays for me to see if I would be able to sustain it,” Hudson said. “I did for a while. It was nice.”
Even though he comes off the bench most of the time, Hudson leads the Gators in scoring at 16.5 points per game.
The Gators have been inconsistent on offense this season. At times, they’ve looked like one of the best teams in the nation but in other games, Florida has struggled mightily.
Graduate transfer Egor Koulechov has been one of the constants. He scored 16 points and pulled down eight rebounds from his spot at guard.
Florida started fast in the Baylor game, making eight of its first nine 3-pointers. Finding that type of consistency has eluded the Gators throughout the season.
Georgia (12-8, 3-5) also has had problems at times on offense and stumbled lately, losing five of its last six games.
The Bulldogs have relied heavily on 6-foot-7 forward Yante Maten, who leads the team in scoring with an average of 19.6 points per game.
He is one of the 25 players listed on the Midseason Watch List for the Wooden Award and tops the SEC in scoring. Maten also ranks second in the SEC in rebounding (9.2 per game) and is the lone conference player to be ranked in the top 10 in scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage and free throw percentage.
Maten is the lone Bulldog averaging in double figures coming into this game.
Georgia is coming off of a tough 56-51 loss to Kansas State in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Wildcats rallied and took the lead in the closing minutes and held on to pull out the victory.
“I thought both teams really battled for 40 minutes,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We didn’t finish a couple plays late, and they were able to get to the line and make free throws, and that was really the difference in the game.”
Tuesday’s matchup will be game No. 215 between Florida and Georgia. The Gators have won four straight against Georgia and seven of the last eight meetings.