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Florida stops Georgia 77-67
Published February 10, 2008
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Chandler Parsons came off the bench to hit his first six shots and finish with 18 points Saturday, helping Florida bounce back from a pair of blowout losses with a 77-67 victory over Georgia.
Taking up the slack with the Gators' top offensive players - Nick Calathes and Marreese Speights - struggling, Parsons went 6-for-9 and was the main reason Florida (19-5, 6-3 Southeastern Conference) outscored Georgia's reserves 27-0.
Walter Hodge scored 14 and Jai Lucas added 11 for the Gators, who broke the game open during a 15-2 run in which Calathes, a freshman averaging 15.7 points, and Speights, scoring nearly 20 in his previous five games, finally made a contribution on the offensive end.
Speights delivered baskets on successive possessions to give Florida a 63-53 lead. Calathes made his first field goal - a long 3-pointer - to finish the decisive surge that put the Gators up 68-53 with 8:19 to go.
Georgia (11-10, 2-6) played without second-leading scorer Billy Humphrey, who is serving a three-game suspension after being arrested for underage drinking. He was replaced by freshman guard Zac Swansey, who had 4 points on 2-for-5 shooting in his first college start.
Parsons scored 10 during a 15-4 run Florida put together late in the first half, beginning the spurt with a jumper and finishing it with a 3-point play that gave the Gators a 43-34 edge. Georgia trailed by 7 at halftime and stayed close until Florida pulled away for good in the last 13 minutes.
Sundiata Gaines led Georgia, which has lost five straight, with a career-high 32 points. He made 11 of 20 shots, including 6 of 10 3-point attempts, and was joined in double figures by Dae Bliss with 13 and Terrance Woodbury with 12.
Florida rebounded from lopsided losses Arkansas (80-61) and Tennessee (104-82) that dropped the two-time defending national champions back out of the Top 25. The Gators improved to 14-1 at home and have beaten Georgia nine consecutive times dating to 2004.
Calathes finished with 7 points on 1-for-7 shooting. Speights had 6 points and 10 rebounds.