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Florida vs. Georgia, Game Thread: Can the Gators take Athens?

On Senior Night in Athens, the Gators will need to stop Georgia’s fantastic freshman.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs first met this season, it was a near-historic comeback that got the Gators their 81-75 win in Gainesville.

This second meeting in Athens (7 p.m., ESPNU or WatchESPN) probably won’t give the Gators a chance to come back from 20 points down — but if the Gators can avoid such a hole, they’ll have a very good chance of downing the Dawgs.

As has been the case all year, beating Georgia will have a lot to do with stopping or slowing freshman wing Anthony Edwards. The projected top NBA Draft pick is the focal point of Georgia’s offense and then some, with the fourth-highest shot percentage — the percentage of shots taken with Edwards on the floor that he takes — among players in Power Five conferences, at 32.5 percent. He’s also fairly efficient at scoring inside, making better than 50 percent of his twos; that’s thanks mostly to slashing that helps bump up that stat, as his shot is streaky and not particularly accurate, with just 31 percent shooting from three on the year.

Florida already withstood one great effort from Edwards, who had 32 against the Gators in Gainesville — most of those points in the first half. But they may need to withstand another, as he’s gone for 36 and 26 in his last two games after going five games without a 20-point night.

And Florida will also need to score more than it did against Tennessee — a mediocre 1.02 points per possession — to keep up with the Dawgs, who play at speed and wrung out a 70-possession contest against Florida despite the second half being played at the Gators’ tempo.