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Florida 80, Georgia 76: Gators survive a dogfight in overtime

The Gators had to play 45 minutes to get to 5-0.

NCAA Basketball: Georgia at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators men’s basketball team needed a late rally to send their meeting with the Georgia Bulldogs to overtime. When that extra period began, it felt like it might be five more minutes of misery for a team that struggled against Georgia’s defense and some exceptionally whistle-happy refs.

Instead, the Gators buckled up, buckled down, and held on for an 80-76 win that moved them to 5-0 in SEC play.

Florida got a Gators-high 27 points from Canyon Barry and a career-high 17 from Keith Stone, both of whom came off the bench to buoy Mike White’s team, and made eight of 10 free throws in overtime, staving off a game Georgia outfit led by J.J. Frazier’s 25 points. Barry and Stone combined to go 8-for-12 from three, making all but one of Florida’s triples, and both outscored Florida’s starters (29 points combined) by themselves and helped the Gators’ bench (51 points) do so for the second straight game.

Their contributions more than made up for whisper-quiet performances from Devin Robinson (five points on five shots) and Justin Leon (two points on five shots), who saw Barry and Stone soak up their minutes. And they kept Florida in this contest despite another off night for KeVaughn Allen, who had five of his nine points in overtime, and atrocious officiating, which yielded an incredible 49 personal fouls, and two more technicals — even though the refereeing crew also failed to assess a technical after Frazier illegally shot a free throw, and rescinded another on Georgia’s bench after Mark Fox and Yante Maten objected to Maten’s fourth foul.

Maten’s fifth foul, which came with just under four minutes to play, was a turning point in the game: Florida outscored Georgia, 8-3, in that final segment, though Kasey Hill missed two free throws that could have won the game in the final 30 seconds of regulation.

And when Georgia’s offense boiled down to Frazier and little else in overtime, Florida proved just a little too tough to succumb to these Dawgs in Gainesville — where they have not lost to Georgia since 2002.