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Georgia 73, Florida 61: Gators succumb as Dawgs snap SEC streaks

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Florida needed to be more judicious and efficient to handle a hot Georgia. The Gators simply couldn't be that on this Saturday.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It had been more than a year since their last taste, but Florida got a bitter dose of what it is like to lose an SEC game on Saturday, falling 73-61 to Georgia in Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia bolted to an 11-0 lead, making its first seven shots, responded to a Florida run that closed the deficit to within two points with a 10-1 run in the second half. And with the Gators tripping over themselves on offense, sometimes literally, committing a season-high 19 turnovers, two runs were really all the Dawgs needed.

Florida got 11 points from both Dorian Finney-Smith and Devin Robinson, and another 10 points from Michael Frazier II off the bench, but six Gators — the three above, Kasey Hill, Chris Chiozza, and Eli Carter — had at least two turnovers, and Florida made just five of its 16 threes.

With Georgia tickling the twine repeatedly — the Bulldogs shot 56 percent from the field, and made eight of 15 threes — the Gators needed to at least avoid giving away possessions to keep pace. And, simply, they couldn't, with Hill, Chiozza, and Carter all doing too much to try to break down Georgia in the halfcourt, and a number of fumbled passes giving the Dawgs the ball.

The loss is Florida's first to an SEC team since a defeat against Mississippi in the final of the 2013 SEC Tournament, and its first regular-season SEC loss since collapsing at Kentucky in the 2013 SEC finale, but it was also a big missed opportunity when considering this team's postseason prognosis. A road win over Georgia would've been a fine pelt for Florida to have, especially considering the Gators' troubles against the RPI top 100, and missing their chance to get that win could haunt the Gators two months from now.

But to even be in a position to be haunted by a loss like this, Florida may well need to improve. The loss drops Florida to 10-7 on the season, and just one of those wins — a road triumph at South Carolina — is over a team that could make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large selection.