Early Deficit too much to Overcome, Gators edge Eagles 88-81
UF goes to 9-2 on the season while GSU drops to 3-6. The Eagles won’t play again until Jan. 3 when they open Southern Conference play at home against Chattanooga.
“I thought our effort was really good, particularly in the second half,” said GSU head coach Jeff Price. “We lost the game in the last three minutes of the first half. We just didn’t rebound the ball well at all it’s been an issue with our team all year. In the second half we did a better job of rebounding and defending. We wanted to cut it little by little and we were able to do that and take it down to the end.”
Georgia Southern rallied from a 19-point deficit early in the second half and closed to within three with 39 seconds left but Calathes drained a 3’ with six ticks remaining, effectively putting the game out of reach.
“We did a good job on him overall,” said Price. “He’s hard to guard with his size and we played him not to shoot the ball off the dribble and he didn’t make any shots off the dribble until the very last shot of the game. We contested well, he just made a tough shot and that’s why he’s a great player.”
The Eagles had five players in double-figures, led by junior Antonio Hanson’s (Fort Worth, Texas) 16. Senior Julian Allen (Waterbury, Conn.) had 14 and a team-best seven rebounds and sophomore Willie Powers (Gainesville, Fla.), playing in his hometown, added 12.
“I liked our balance we had five guys in double-figures,” said Price. “Julian Allen and Willie Powers have been very consistent and they played well. (Junior) Sandy Perry (Perth Amboy, N.J.) showed some life. It was good balance on our team and that’s good to see.”
Florida never trailed in the first half and took advantage of a GSU scoring drought of over 4 ½ minutes to take a 16-point lead. Calathes beat the halftime buzzer with a triple to put the Gators up 48-33.
UF shot 60.6% from the floor in the opening 20 minutes and scored 11 second-chance points.
“They rebounded 52% of their misses in the first half and you can’t win games doing that,” said Price. “We limited them better on the boards in the second half. The whole key to our team is going to be rebounding the ball. If we can get that right we can be pretty good.”
A three-point play by Perry with 39 seconds remaining narrowed the deficit to three, 83-80, the closest margin since the 16:06 mark of the first half. But Calathes’ 21st and final point came with just seconds left on the shot clock, a 3-pointer to the right of the top of the key to give Florida an insurmountable lead.
“We play these non-conference games to get ready for our conference season,” said Price. “I thought we got better tonight. We saw some signs when the game changed when we had four guards (in the game). We play these games to learn and get better for league play and we did that.”
- Category: Men's Basketball
- Published on Monday, 22 December 2008 00:24