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Florida Basketball

Instant Analysis: Big Dance invite hangs in the balance after bad loss

March 2, 2019
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FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
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The Florida Gators (17-12, 9-7) lost to the Georgia Bulldogs (11-18, 2-14) 61-55 on Saturday night from Exactech Arena in a low-scoring game that was a defensive struggle for most of the contest. In the last minute, Andrew Nembhard drove to the basket and cut Georgia's lead to two with 58 seconds left. UGA's Jordan Harris pushed a dagger through the heart of the Gator Nation late in the shot clock on the next possession however, to preserve the upset victory for the Bulldogs.

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WHAT WENT WRONG: Florida's occasional offensive struggles caught up to them on Saturday night, as the team only shot 38 percent (18 for 48), knocking down only five treys all game. UF struggled to consistently string together good offensive positions, and when they did come up with a basket, Georgia would answer. The Bulldogs outscored the Gators 34-22 in the paint.

WHO STOLE THE SHOW: Georgia's Nicolas Claxton soared above the rest on Saturday night, as the sophomore standout had 25 points, to go along with two assists. His inside-out game flustered the Gators all night. In the low-scoring affair, the second leading scorer for the Bulldogs was Jordan Harris. The junior guard had 9 points, three boards and four assists. For Florida, Jalen Hudson led all scorers with 13 points and four rebounds. Nembhard and Kevarrius Hayes had eight points each.

NUMBERS DON'T LIE: Florida actually led the Bulldogs in a few key statistical categories including points off turnovers (16 to 5), rebounds (34 to 22) and bench points (21 to 12), but the Gators couldn't shoot to the caliber Georgia did (56 percent (23 for 41), and that proved to be the deciding factor.

THE BOTTOM LINE: This was a tough one for Florida to drop late in the season, especially at home. The Bulldogscame into Saturday night losers of nine-in-a-row having won only one SEC game. The lowly Dawgs ended UF's five-game winning streak and damaged Florida's potential NCAA Tournament bid. The Gators now have just two games left (LSU and Kentucky) in the regular season before they head to Nashville for the SEC Tournament. If Florida wants to feel comfortable on Selection Sunday, it'll need to pick up a victory in one of its last two contests.

UP NEXT: The Gators will play their final home game of the 2018-2019 season on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. against the LSU Tigers (24-5, 13-2). A week and a half ago, Florida went into Baton Rouge, Louisiana and stole one from the Tigers 82-77 in overtime. After tonight's loss, a win over one of the top teams in the SEC would all but certainly lock up an NCAA Tournament bid. UF will also say farewell to seniors KeVaughn Allen, Kevarrius Hayes and Jalen Hudson as they will be recognized for their careers as Gators on senior night.

 
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