Gators Chomp Dawgs
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Bradley Beal knew things would turn around. He's too good of a shooter to stay in a slump for very long.
Beal broke out of a four-game funk by scoring 17 points to lead No. 19 Florida to its 15th straight home win, 70-48 over Georgia on Tuesday night.
Beal was 4 of 6 from 3-point range, making more shots from behind the arc than he did in the last four games combined, and added 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the season.
"It felt good," Beal said. "I figured it was going to come sooner or later. I just played my game. I really didn't try to focus and get too involved in myself. Just let the game come to me."
Kenny Boynton also scored 17 points for the Gators (13-4, 1-1 Southeastern Conference).
Georgia (9-7, 0-2) lost to Florida for the 15th time in the last 17 meetings. The Bulldogs have dropped 10 in a row in Gainesville.
Nemanja Djurisic led Georgia with 14 points. Gerald Robinson Jr. added eight points, six rebounds and five assists.
Beal had been cold the last four games, making 30 percent of his shots and going 2 of 16 from 3-point range. Coach Billy Donovan pinned his problems on the ups and downs of being a freshman.
Donovan wanted Beal to stay confident and not let missed shots affect other parts of his game. The 6-foot-3 guard had no problems against the Bulldogs (9-7, 0-2).
Beal hit two 3s to spark a 10-2 run early that gave Florida a double-digit lead, 30-13.
"Everybody's going to go through it," Beal said. "Everybody has bad games and stuff like that. But I don't really get too involved in it or get down on myself. My teammates always have faith in me and coach as well, so I really just try to concentrate and focus on the team concept more than anything else."
Florida enjoyed a much better start than it did in recent losses at Rutgers and Tennessee.
The Gators were downright dreadful in a 67-56 loss at the Volunteers to open conference play Saturday. They scored a season low and allowed the Vols to shoot 51 percent from the field.
Donovan responded by putting his team through two grueling practices Sunday, workouts that included covers on both rims that forced players to focus on rebounding, boxing out and playing defense.
"I would have been really disappointed if we would have come out and played flat again here today," Donovan said.
The payoff came on the court. The Bulldogs missed eight of their first nine shots and finished hitting 36.4 percent from the floor.
"A lot of easy baskets early, which helped dig our hole," Georgia coach Mark Fox said. "We certainly have to credit Florida -- that's a very good basketball team -- but we had some chances early and we couldn't compete."
Florida dominated every aspect of the game. The Gators made 12 of their first 22 shots, got every loose ball and opened up a 20-point lead late in the first half.
Georgia trailed 56-35 midway through the second half, but used an 8-0 run to slice into the deficit. Donovan pleaded with his team to guard the 3-point line, hoping to nix the easiest means to making a comeback.
That caused some angst for Donovan, who ripped his team for giving up too many offensive rebounds (14) and too many open looks from behind the arc. Georgia finished 7 of 18 from 3-point range.
"I feel like we should have held them under 30 (points)," said center Patric Young, who had eight points and 10 boards. "If you take away the offensive rebounds, take away the open 3s and the second-chance points then it's a completely different game."
Georgia's biggest problem was at the free throw line, where the Bulldogs went 1 for 9.
"We didn't make free throws," Fox said. "If you make your free throws, you can still put yourself in a position where you're down single digits and can make some plays. And we just didn't make any of the easy plays."
Dores Defeat Gamecocks In Columbia
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- John Jenkins had 14 points and four of Vanderbilt's 13 3-pointers as the Commodores won their sixth straight game with a 67-57 victory over South Carolina on Tuesday night.
Jenkins was held to a basket in the opening half, but found his stroke after the break to lead Vanderbilt (12-4, 2-0 SEC) to its second consecutive Southeastern Conference runaway after a 65-35 win against Auburn that started league play.
Vanderbilt led by 24 points in the final four minutes before surrendering a closing 14-0 run to South Carolina.
Vanderbilt used its defense to hold South Carolina to 12 points in the first half. Jenkins then led a 24-13 run to start the second half to take control.
Bruce Ellington had 20 points to lead the Gamecocks (8-8, 0-2).
Brad Tinsley had 13 points, three 3-pointers and nine assists for the Commodores. Jeffery Taylor had 11 points and Steve Tchiengang added 10 for Vanderbilt.
Damontre Harris had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Gamecocks.
Jenkins got things going in the second half and his teammates followed right along. Jenkins, the SEC's leading scorer at 20.3 points a game coming in, hit two wide-open 3's less than two minutes into the period as the Commodores moved in front 32-15. Jeffery Taylor added a 3 before Rod Odom, Jenkins and Dai-Jon Parker had long-range baskets on three straights trips and Vanderbilt increased the lead to 21 points.
When Taylor struck for another 3-pointer -- and Vanderbilt's 13th -- the Commodores were up 67-47.
Vanderbilt finished 13 of 22 from behind the arc against South Carolina and are 26 of 49 (53 percent) on 3's its first two SEC games.
Vanderbilt entered this one off a stellar defensive showing, holding Auburn to 35 points in 30-point victory in the Commodores' SEC opener. They came out just as solid against South Carolina.
The Gamecocks were held to five baskets, shot 19.2 percent and managed just 12 first-half points. The fact that South Carolina wasn't down by 30 was only because of some gritty defense of its own. Vanderbilt committed 11 turnovers in the period, as many as it's averaged in a game this season.
Jenkins, the SEC's leading scorer at 20.3 points a game, was limited to a bucket on two chances. But the focus on Jenkins left Tinsley open on the outside. He hit three 3-pointers -- matching his season's best showing this year -- in the half. Two of those came in 12-2 run late in the period that put the Commodores ahead 18-10.
The Commodores had trouble squeezing off shots against the Gamecocks' defense, but made of the most of their opportunities. Vanderbilt shot 53 percent (8 of 15) in the half to lead 22-12 at the break.
The Gamecocks had difficulty shooting over Vanderbilt's packed in defense. The missed all eight of their 3-point attempts, several which were desperation shots to beat the shot clock.
South Carolina, 79-64 losers at Kentucky last Saturday, had hoped a return home and a crowd of students back from break at the Colonial Life Arena would carry the team to league victory. Instead, the Gamecocks managed their fewest points in the first half since trailing Georgia 28-9 in a game here they'd eventually lose 60-56 last February.
Ellington had 18 of his 20 points in the second half.