Following wins over South Carolina and Arkansas to open up SEC play and run its win streak to seven, the Florida men’s basketball team has vaulted up to No. 7 in the latest AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll. The Gators are the highest ranked SEC team in the poll with Kentucky coming in at No. 13 as the only other conference representative.
The Gators put their win streak on the line on Tuesday night when they welcome Georgia to the O’Connell Center. In front of the Rowdy Reptiles, the Gators hold the nation’s third-longest home-winning streak of 24 games. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be aired live on ESPNU.
Florida (13-2, 2-0 SEC) rallied late and then held off Arkansas for a thrilling 84-82 overtime win on Saturday in Fayetteville. Scottie Wilbekin hit a runner with 2.0 seconds left in regulation to tie things up and then UF made it count by winning it in the extra frame. Forward Dorian Finney-Smith stepped up for the Gators in his second career UF start, leading the team with 22 points and also grabbing 15 rebounds. Wilbekin, Michael Frazier II, and Patric Young were also in double figures.
Injured guard Casey Prather has sparked the Gator offense this season, averaging 17.0 points per game (ppg) and shooting a league-best .624, but has received support as Wilbekin, Frazier II, Young, and Finney-Smith are all averaging double digit scoring. Smith leads the squad on the boards, pulling down 8.0 rebounds per game with Young contributing just over six boards each contest.
Georgia (8-6, 2-0 SEC) is riding high after knocking off Missouri on the road in its SEC opener and then outlasting Alabama, 66-58, on Saturday in Athens. Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines each scored 22 points for the Bulldogs against the Tide with 13 of Mann’s coming from the free throw line.
In UGA’s two conference games, Mann is averaging 20.0 ppg while Gaines holds a 16.5 ppg average. Marcus Thronton has been the Bulldogs best rebounder as of late, grabbing 7.0 rebounds per game in SEC play.
Florida swept the two meetings between the SEC rivals last year to bring its lead in the overall season to 108-99. UF head coach Billy Donovan has been particularly successful against the Bulldogs leading the Gators to 11 straight home wins over UGA and claiming a 25-10 record in his first 17 years in Gainesville.
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