Forward Yante Maten scored a game-high 23 points, including two crucial late 3-pointers in the closing seconds of regulation, and Georgia rallied for a 72-69 overtime victory over Florida on Wednesday night in Gainesville, Fla.
The win was just the second in the past eight games for the Bulldogs (14-11, 5-8 Southeastern Conference) and snapped their losing streak at three games. It also was their second victory over the Gators.
The Gators (17-9, 8-5 SEC) dropped out of second place and into a tie with Missouri and Alabama for third place in the league.
Guards KeVaughn Allen and Egor Koulechov scored 19 points each to lead Florida.
After the score was 59-59 at the end of 40 minutes, the Bulldogs pulled out to a 66-60 lead less than two minutes into the extra five-minute period. However, the Gators, who shot only 37.3 percent from the field, were down only 71-69 after Chris Chiozza’s layup with five seconds left.
Florida still had a chance to tie after Bulldogs guard Juwan Parker hit only one of two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining. Chiozza managed to get in range for a 3-point attempt but it missed as time ran out.
After leading 34-27 at halftime, Florida led throughout the second half, including by a 50-39 margin midway through the second period, but hit a shooting drought that let the Bulldogs back in the game.
The Bulldogs went on an 11-1 run to cut their deficit to 51-50 on guard Derek Ogbeide’s dunk with 3:35 left as the Gators went nearly eight minutes without a field goal.
Still, the Gators seemed to have survived that when Koulechov hit a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to put his team up 59-53 with only 24.7 seconds left.
Maten hit a 3-pointer to cut Florida’s lead in half, and after the Gators turned the ball over when guard Jalen Hudson traveled under pressure, Maten tied the game 59-59 with another triple with 5.1 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
--Field Level Media