Photo by Brandon Sumrall | Getty Images

The Florida Gators (15-15, 8-9 SEC) were victorious over the Georgia Bulldogs (16-14, 6-11 SEC) Tuesday night in Athens 77-67.

The Gators’ 3-point specialist, Will Richard, scored a career high 24 points on 8-11 shooting and 5-8 from downtown to lift Florida over the Bulldogs. Freshman phenom Riley Kugel also had a good night offensively as he scored 19 points, going 8-12 from the floor.

This was Florida’s eighth straight win over Georgia dating back to the 2018-19 season. With the win, the Gators snapped their three-game losing streak while the Bulldogs extended their skid to four straight.

Gators Close Out First Half Hot

Georgia took the lead right off the bat as senior guard Terry Roberts drained a 3-pointer on the first possession. He scored again two trips later on a putback layup to put the Bulldogs up five early.

Florida responded to the five unanswered points by Georgia with an 11-2 run that was fueled by two made shots from Kugel and a long-range bomb from Richard.

After an Aleks Szymczyk layup for Florida, Bulldogs’ center Frank Anselem got the crowd going in Athens on an alley-oop slam off a beautiful feed from Justin Hill. This trimmed the Gator lead to one.

With 12:47 to play in the first half, Gator forward Kowacie Reeves made both free throws at the line to put Florida up 17-14. After these points, the Orange & Blue went over four minutes without putting one in the bucket that was ended by Trey Bonham’s two free throws. Florida still only trailed by one after a good few minutes on the defensive end.

The Gators responded to this scoring drought with a 14-2 run. They hit three straight triples; one from Kugel, one from Richard and a straightaway 28-footer from Myreon Jones. A few possessions later, Jones put in an up-and-under layup. Richard then knocked down another 3-pointer from a few steps behind the left wing. This hot offensive run gave Florida a 37-28 lead.

Richard scored the last nine points for Florida in the half. In the final possession, Jones found Richard in the right corner for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give the Gators an 10 point lead at halftime.

Florida shot 56% from the field in the first half, including going 6-11 from downtown. Four of these triples came from Richard, who led all scorers at halftime with 15 points on 4-6 shooting from 3-point range.

The Gators were up 43-33 after 20 minutes.

Florida Puts on Finishing Touches

Florida’s athleticism was on display early in the second as the transfer from LSU, Alex Fudge, went up high to throw down a lob from Kugel to open the scoring in the half.

In the next few minutes, the teams went back-and-forth with made baskets and turnovers. Neither team looked to be in a groove offensively to start the second half.

With just over 12 minutes to play, Georgia’s Kario Oquendo brought the crowd to its feet with an and-one layup and converted the three-point play from the charity stripe. This was Oquendo’s ninth made free throw of the game and cut the Gator lead to eight at the under-12 minute media timeout.

With 9:20 left, Anselem secured three offensive rebounds in one possession and finished with a powerful slam to draw even closer as it was just a three-point game. On this possession, Fudge was laying face-down on the other side of the court as he appeared to be poked in the eye and was taken out of the game. He later returned.

A few minutes later, the Gators were up by just two, but went on a 7-2 run including Richard’s career high fifth 3-pointer of the game that helped put Florida back up seven with under six minutes in the game.

Florida was up 66-61 with just over four minutes to go and went on a 6-0 run capped off by a strong layup by Fudge to go back up by 11.

After Georgia cut the Gator lead to six with a triple from Jailyn Ingram, Florida scored four straight points, including a wide-open dunk from Kugel to finish off the Bulldogs.

The Gators won by a final score of 77-67.

One Game Left

Florida has just one game remaining in the regular season. They will face off against the LSU Tigers in the O’dome this weekend. In the first meeting between these two in Baton Rouge, the Gators defeated the Tigers 67-56. Florida outscored LSU by 14 in the second half to win that one by 11. Tip-off in the season finale is set for 6 p.m. Saturday on the SEC Network.

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