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January 10, 2012
Gators hope to rebound against UGA
Florida coach Billy Donovan was anything but pleased after watching his team struggle on the road again over the weekend. He figures to be in higher spirits with the Gators returning to Gainesville.
Looking to stay undefeated at the O'Connell Center, No. 19 Florida tries for a 10th consecutive home victory over Georgia on Tuesday night.
The Gators (12-4, 0-1 SEC) fell six spots in the AP poll after dropping to 0-4 on the road with a 67-56 defeat at Tennessee on Saturday. Florida, in the top 10 in the nation with 83.6 points per game, posted its lowest scoring output of the season and was limited to a season-worst 35.7 percent from the field.
"Both teams played hard, but the difference was the defense," Donovan said. "I still think our guys have a long way to go in terms of what they need to learn and how they need to grow, and these experiences hopefully will help us."
Junior Kenny Boynton, second in the league with an average of 19.1 points, was held to 13 while Florida's reserves combined for one point and shot 0 of 8.
"I can't say I saw this coming," Boynton told the school's official website. "But every team plays better at home."
The Gators have certainly taken care of business at home, where they've posted 15 consecutive victories by an average of 20.5 points.
Florida is shooting 49.6 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from 3-point range in Gainesville, significantly higher than their road marks of 42.9 and 37.1.
The Gators have outscored Georgia (9-6, 0-1) by an average of 13.5 points during their nine-game run in the series at home. Boynton scored 18 points in a 71-62 victory Feb. 24 in the most recent matchup at the O'Connell Center.
Boynton has gone 14 of 29 from beyond the arc and scored 21.3 points per game in four meetings with the Bulldogs - 6.3 above his career average.
Georgia saw its season-best five-game winning streak come to an end in its first taste of conference play Saturday, falling 74-59 to Alabama. Freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who leads the team with 14.6 points per game, proved to be the lone bright spot with a season-high 22.
"Kentavious is a good player, and he's been thrust into a large role as a freshman," coach Mark Fox told the school's website. "I thought he did an admirable job."
The Bulldogs went 4 of 17 from 3-point range and have shot 28.2 percent from beyond the arc in their last two games. They'll likely need to be more accurate if they hope to keep up with a Gators team that leads the country with 176 made 3s.
In its two meetings with ranked opponents this season, Georgia fell 70-46 to then-No. 20 California in the CBE Classic on Nov. 21 and suffered a 70-56 defeat at then-No. 12 Xavier four days later.
The Bulldogs have lost 18 consecutive road matchups versus Top 25 foes since knocking off then-No. 5 Kentucky 65-57 on Jan. 17, 2004.
Florida leads the series with Georgia 105-96 for its highest win total against an opponent.