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No. 23 Florida outlasts Georgia in OT

No. 23 Florida outlasts Georgia in OT
Published On: Sat, Jan 14
Mar 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; Georgia State Panthers head coach Ron Hunter celebrates with his son guard R.J. Hunter and daughter Jasmine Hunter and wife Amy Hunter following a win against the Georgia Southern Eagles in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship game at the Lakefront Arena. Georgia State defeated Georgia Southern 38-36. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Florida coach Mike White had a premonition and it wasn't the type a coach likes to have before a game.

The Gators haven't been clicking on all cylinders despite not losing in more than a month and he feared the team's good fortune was about to turn.

"We had our worst practice yesterday in about a month," White said after Saturday's 80-76 overtime victory over Georgia. "I was really concerned going into this one."

The Bulldogs indeed controlled most of the contest but Florida received a standout performance from senior guard Canyon Barry, who established season highs of 27 points and five 3-pointers to help the No. 23 Gators prevail in SEC play at Gainesville, Fla.

Freshman forward Keith Stone added a career-best 17 points as the Gators (14-3, 5-0) won their seventh consecutive game. Florida also recorded its 14th consecutive home victory over the Bulldogs.

But it surely wasn't easy as the Gators never led by more than one point prior to the overtime.

"It felt like we could never get into the flow but down the stretch everyone settled in and played off each other," Barry said. "Keith Stone knocked down some key shots and we did enough to win."

Senior guard J.J. Frazier scored 25 points for Georgia (11-6, 3-2), which let an eight-point second-half lead slip away.

Junior guard Juwan Parker added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs and junior forward Yante Maten scored 15 points before fouling out.

"This was a very hard-fought game," Bulldogs coach Mark Fox said. "One of which I was pleased with how we played and executed. You are never going to be able to play a perfect game. We had some costly mistakes, defensive mistakes, that really hurt us but those things are going to happen to a degree during the game."

Florida sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen hit two free throws three seconds into the overtime to give the Gators their first lead of more than one.

A driving hoop by Allen later in the session gave the Gators a 77-74 lead with 35.5 seconds to play and the lead was again three after Barry hit two underhand free throws with 16.7 seconds to go.

Frazier missed a tying 3-point attempt with nine seconds left as Georgia suffered its latest painful defeat on Florida's home floor.

"It's definitely a heartbreaker," Parker said. "Especially in a game where everyone on the team competed and played as hard as they possibly could, you hate to lose like that."

And White could only breathe a sigh of relief.

"We've had three or four now where it's been ugly at times and we've found a way," White said.

In regulation, the Bulldogs took a 67-65 lead on a basket by freshman guard Jordan Harris with 1:09 left. Gators senior point guard Kasey Hill split four free throws over the final 25 seconds to send the game into overtime.

The Gators took their first lead of the game at 34-33 on Hill's jumper 19 seconds into the second half.

Georgia responded with nine consecutive points, capped by Frazier's basket to make it 42-34 with 16:59 to play.

The Bulldogs were up six after Parker's 3-pointer with 12:30 to play but Barry scored the next seven -- on a 3-pointer and his second four-point play of the game -- to give Florida a 53-52 edge with 11:25 to go.

"He made the 3-point shots and he was in great rhythm," Fox said of Barry. "Give him credit. He was the difference in the game today."

Harris and sophomore forward E'Torrion Wilridge followed with baskets to push Georgia right back ahead. The Gators moved to within one on three occasions over the next three-plus minutes before Frazier scored back-to-back baskets for a 64-59 lead with 4:43 remaining.

Hill scored four straight points to again pull Florida within one and Barry followed with a runner to give the Gators a 65-64 lead with 2:18 to play.

Georgia never trailed in the first half and received 10 points from Frazier while taking a 33-32 lead into the break.

The Bulldogs set the tone by jumping out to an 8-2 lead and the only tie was at 11-11 shortly before the midway point of the half.

Georgia opened up a 24-17 lead on a basket by Parker and the Gators answered with six straight to make it a one-point game. The Bulldogs scored the next five and held a 29-23 advantage after a 3-pointer by Frazier with 1:50 left.

A 3-pointer by Stone with eight seconds left pulled Florida to within one.

NOTES: The victory was Florida's ninth in the last 11 meetings with Georgia. ... Gators senior G Canyon Barry has scored in double digits in six of the last seven games. ... Bulldogs senior G J.J. Frazier's 25-point outing raised his career total to 1,270 as he moved into 21st place on the school's all-time scoring list. ... Florida sophomore G KeVaughn Allen scored in single digits (nine on 3-of-8 shooting) for the second consecutive game after averaging 19.3 during a four-game stretch.

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DeVon Walker G
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Dorian Finney-Smith F
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Chris Chiozza G
Devin Robinson F
Justin Leon F
Schuyler Rimmer F
Kasey Hill G
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