Gators stay strong on road, ease past Dawgs
By TIMES WIRES
Published February 8, 2007
ATHENS, Ga. - The Florida Gators love to go on the road. They relish the chance to snuff out any hopes of an upset, to silence the heckling fans.
Corey Brewer scored 18, Al Horford added 17 and the top-ranked Gators extended their winning streak to 15 Wednesday night with a 71-61 victory over Georgia, which led early but never really had a chance.
Florida (22-2, 9-0) extended its best start ever in the SEC. Four wins have come on the road. Only one has been closer than 10 points.
"It's almost like a circus atmosphere when we come to play," forward Joakim Noah said. "We want to come strong and mess up their party."
Georgia (13-9, 5-5) lost its third in a row after building an 18-13 lead in the first half. The Gators responded with nine straight points and led the rest of the way, limiting the Bulldogs to 34 percent shooting (20-of-59).
"When you see fans no longer standing up when their team scores, you know you've put them away," Brewer said. "You know they're going away without a win. I love it on the road."
Georgia contained Noah, who scored 10 on 3-for-9 shooting, but Horford made 7-of-13 shots and had a game-high 10 rebounds.
"Unselfish wins ballgames," Brewer said. "Every night, one of us is going to be on his game."
Florida swept the season series.
"You can never have a dull moment against them," Bulldogs center Takais Brown said. "The better team won."
Brown, Georgia's leading scorer at 14.4 points a game, was worn down by double-teaming. He scored five on 1-of-8 shooting.
"They doubled me every time I touched it," Brown said, shaking his head. "It's kind of frustrating, but I kind of have mixed feelings about the situation. If I'm getting doubled by the national champions, who have some of the best players in the SEC, then I must be doing something right."
Georgia's Sundiata Gaines, who averaged 15.2 points in the previous five games, scored two.
The Gators led 36-30 at halftime and began to ease away when Gaines committed two straight turnovers.
The Bulldogs didn't want to get into a running game. But when their half-court offense bogged down, they often took desperation shots with the 35-second clock ticking away.
Florida's Lee Humphrey made all three 3-pointers. In his past four games against Georgia, Humphrey is 14-of-24 on 3s.
"We didn't particularly play one of our best games," Noah said. "Even though we're No. 1 in the country, we've still got room to improve in February. That's what it's all about."