|THURSDAY MEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
|Florida 79, Middle Tennessee State 59
|Davidson 94, Georgia 82
No. 14 Florida Downs Middle Tennessee State, 79-59
GAINESVILLE, FL -- Patrick Young scored 16 points and Dorian Finney-Smith added 14 as Florida downed Middle Tennessee State on Thursday, 79-59.
The Gators navigated tough circumstances against a battled-tested, mid-major team that’s won 55 games the last two seasons, with an NIT berth in 2012 and NCAA bid in 2013. It was not pretty in the first half, but the Gators managed to open up the game to the pace they like in the second half and divided playmaker duties with Kasey Hill sidelined with an ankle injury and Scottie Wilbekin still on the suspended list.
Sophomore DeVon Walker, a swing guard by trade, started at the point and finished with an efficient 10 points and played extended minutes with Casey Prather in first-half foul trouble. Dorian Finney-Smith, the 6-8 sophomore played “point forward” off the bench, scoring 14 points and grabbing six rebounds. He had just one assist, but he initiated offense. That was Coach Billy Donovan’s goal.
Florida continues to shoot the ball well at the free-throw line. The Gators went 25 of 30 for 83.3 percent.
The Gators (4-1) are on the road Monday night at Jacksonville. The Dolphins are 1-3, including losses at Florida State and Wake Forest, with a game Saturday against Florida A&M.
Bulldogs Fall to Davidson in Opening Round of the Charleston Classic
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The Georgia men’s basketball team couldn’t overcome a ten point first half deficit as it lost to the Davidson Wildcats 94-82 Thursday night in the opening round of the Charleston Classic.
Junior forward Nemanja Djurisic led Georgia (1-2) with 19 points and six rebounds. Sophomore guards Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines and freshman forward Cameron Forte also scored in double figures. It’s the first time since December of 2012 that the Bulldogs have had four players score at least ten points.
“We scored the ball at a pretty good percentage, but we got worn out at the [defensive] end,” said head coach Mark Fox. “We’re not as good of a defensive team right now and the free throw line was the big difference in the game. There are obviously a couple of turnovers that we would like to have back, but I thought those numbers were good and our percentages were good.
“What has plagued our team the last couple years is our ability to score the ball. [This year’s team] is a better offensive team so that part is good, but we have to improve at the defensive end and tonight we hopefully learned some lessons.”
In the game, Georgia shot a season-best 55 percent from the field, including 41 percent from behind the arc. The Bulldogs also went 19-of-24 from the free throw line, but shot 17 less free throws than Davidson (1-3).
The Bulldogs used a 12-0 run midway through the first half to take a 26-23 lead, its last of the game, before Brian Sullivan, who scored 18 first half points, helped Davidson take a 46-36 lead into the locker rooms with a 9-0 run over the half’s final three minutes. Though Georgia led the rebounding and field goal percentage battles at halftime, it was hurt by nine first half turnovers.
Cameron Forte scored two of his ten points to cut the Davidson lead to nine with 9:28 remaining in the second half, but the Wildcats responded with a run capped by a Tyler Kallnoski three-pointer to regain a 14-point lead. Davidson held it’s largest lead of the game with six minutes remaining when Jack Gibbs made a layup to put his team up 17 points, 85-68.
Davidson was paced offensively by De’Mon Brooks and Brian Sullivan who scored 21 and 20 points, respectively.
Georgia will play either Temple (1-2) or Clemson (3-0) on Friday at 7:00p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN3.com.