Wednesday , Mar , 01 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

No. 17 Florida downs Georgia to get back on winning track

Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) – Joakim Noah scored a career-high 37 points
and grabbed 11 rebounds to pace the 17th-ranked Florida Gators past the
Georgia Bulldogs, 77-66, in a SEC battle at the O’Connell Center.

Noah shot 9-of-14 from the floor and made a school-record 19-of-22 free
throws, and Corey Brewer added 13 points, five boards and four assists for the
Gators (23-6, 9-6 SEC), who snapped a three-game skid.

Mike Mercer led the Bulldogs with 16 points and Younes Idrissi donated 12
points and six boards for Georgia (15-13, 5-10), which has lost five of its
last six contests.

Down by eight at the break, Georgia rallied to pull within four with under 13
minutes remaining after a jumper from Channing Toney made it 48-44. However, a
9-0 run capped by a Noah dunk pushed Florida’s lead to 57-44.

After a jumper by Brewer later in the half gave the Gators a 65-55 lead,
Georgia again rallied, outscoring Florida 8-2 to pull back within four at
67-63 with just over three minutes left in the game.

A tip-in by Chris Richard gave the Gators a 69-63 lead but a Mercer jumper
less than a minute later pulled the Bulldogs back within four. But an 8-1 run
down the stretch, highlighted by five points from Taurean Green, sealed the
win for Florida.

A three-point play by Billy Humphrey midway through the first half gave
Georgia a 19-15 lead, but Florida responded with a 13-0 run, capped by a
Brewer dunk, to establish a 28-19 advantage. A three-pointer from Levi
Stukes and a layup from Mercer pulled the Bulldogs back within eight at 36-28
at halftime.

Game Notes

Lee Humphrey and Green each finished with eight points for Florida.
Green added seven assists…Billy Humphrey added 11 points in the loss,
while Toney finished with eight points…Florida improved to 16-2 at
home…The Gators hold a 96-94 edge in the all-time series between the rivals.
The Bulldogs have lost the last five meetings between the teams.