Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Unleash Defense on 'Dogs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Gators Unleash Defense on 'Dogs

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael DiRocco, The Times-Union

GAINESVILLE -- This season was going to be rough for the Georgia basketball program.

Dennis Felton's clean-up job of Jim Harrick's rule-breaking tenure left the Bulldogs with six scholarship players, 10 freshmen, and only three players who are legitimate Southeastern Conference starters.

The 2004-05 season looked so bleak that there was even talk of Georgia going winless in the SEC -- which hasn't happened in 51 years -- before the season began.

Tuesday's 70-47 loss to Florida in front of 11,345 at the O'Connell Center showcased the Bulldogs' problems: a depleted bench, especially with starting guard Levi Stukes suspended; the lack of a go-to scorer and the inability to match up athletically.

"This is a unique year for us," said Felton, in his second year in Athens. "The difficulties we're working through have been well-documented. I don't allow ourselves to get caught up in wins and losses as much as focusing on incremental progress and keeping sight of the direction we're going."

The Bulldogs -- who got their first SEC win against Vanderbilt on Saturday -- have accepted that philosophy. But that doesn't mean it doesn't still hurt when they play the way they did against the Gators.

Georgia (7-9, 1-5 SEC) scored the fewest points in a game in the series since 1946 (a 44-41 win in Gainesville). The Bulldogs shot 32.7 percent from the field, got outrebounded 44-21 and were outscored in the paint 30-14.

Florida's bench outscored Georgia's reserves 20-6, and the Gators scored 14 points off 12 Bulldogs turnovers. Guard Sundiata Gaines led Georgia with 15 points, and the Bulldogs' four other starters combined for 26 points.

Georgia scored five points in the game's first six minutes and trailed 29-15 at the half.

"We just got away from what we were trying to do early and weren't able to get back into it," center Dave Bliss said. …

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