The roller coaster ride that is the Florida basketball program continues. Let it be said that this team does fight though. It is not always pretty, but boy is it entertaining.
The Gators followed up the home loss against South Carolina and that dud on the road against Auburn last week with a home game on Saturday against Arkansas. They sped out to a 10-2 lead when Vernon Macklin scored the next eight points following the Hogs taking a 2-0 lead. Then Alex Tyus hit his first bucket to make it 10-2. The Hogs then hung tight for a while when UF led 17-11.
The Gators then went on a 12-0 run to make it 29-11. Kenny Boynton was red hot, hitting a couple of threes and driving in for some easy layups. Later in the half the Gators went on another 10-0 spurt and by halftime, it was pretty well finished.
Florida went on to win 75-43. It was the first time in the shot clock era the Gators held back-to-back SEC opponents under 50 points. Boynton ended the game with 20 points and Chandler Parsons had an amazing 15 rebounds. Amazing because he had most of them before he scored a point. The Gators owned the boards, out-rebounding the Hogs 43-30.
That would have been enough to declare the week a success. After all, a road game at Georgia is one, to be quite honest, the Gator fans did not expect to get. the last two trips to Athens turned into maddening two point losses. And this Georgia team is better than the last two. Kentucky was a victim earlier this month. Tennessee barely escaped also. This one was a throw away.
For a while it looked like the Gators took that expression literally. The Gators entered the second half down by two points. UGA hit a three to start things off to take a five point lead. However, Florida stormed back and took an 8 point lead with eight minutes to play. Vernon Macklin was having a career night as he poured in his high at Florida, 23 points.
The Gators maintained that lead until there were three minutes left and then blew it. Are we surprised?
The game is not official unless there is a heart attack involved. Erving Walker seemed to be on a mission of mercy. He turned the ball over leading to a Georgia fast break bucket. He missed the front end of a one and one. Another UGA hoop ensued. He launched two ill advised three point shots that UGA rebounded. He missed the second free throw in a two point game that led to Georgia tying the game on a buzzer beating offensive put back.
Undaunted, he hits a game-tying three point bomb from 30 plus feet with one second left in overtime.
The second OT was all Florida. Bulldogs began to foul out at the end of the first OT when Boynton drew a foul on Justin Ware. From there, attrition killed the Dogs. The Gators won it in double OT 104-91.
Florida now is atop the SEC East with a 5-1 record. They are ranked in the top 25 and are at 16 in the RPI. Five more wins and Florida should be looking at a good draw in the NCAA Tournament.
There are ten regular season games left, so all Florida has to do is split every week. Just win one game per week baby. Anything after that is gravy. This week, the Gators travel to Stark Vegas to take on the other Bulldogs of Mississippi State. Then it's back home next week to take on Vanderbilt. All the Gators need is one of those. Just one. Two would be nice though.