ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Yante Maten scored 20 points and Georgia recovered after blowing a halftime lead to beat No. 23 Florida 72-60 on Tuesday night.
Florida (15-7, 6-3 Southeastern Conference) began the night in second place in the SEC, one game behind No. 11 Auburn.
Georgia (13-8, 4-5) had lost three straight and five of six.
The Gators recovered after trailing 37-32 at halftime to lead 48-43. Florida opened the second half with a 12-2 run that included two 3-pointers by Jalen Hudson and a jam by KeVaughn Allen for a 44-39 edge.
Georgia regrouped and led 55-51 following a three-point play by Maten and stretched the lead to 60-53 on a 3-pointer by Maten.
Cold-shooting Florida could not answer. Georgia led 66-53 before Keith Stone sank a 3-pointer, ending a Florida scoring drought of about four minutes.
Georgia protected the lead by making 12 free throws without a miss in the final 1:35.
Chris Chiozza led the Gators with 15 points, including 11 in the first half. Egor Koulechov had 13 points.
Florida led 26-22 following an open layup by Gorjok Gak, before the Bulldogs took the lead with 11 straight points. Tyree Crump, Juwan Parker and William “Turtle” Jackson hit 3-pointers to start the run. Maten added a jam for a 33-26 lead.
Jackson had 16 points. Parker had 12.
Florida: The Gators lost despite excellent ball-handling, committing only seven turnovers. … The Gators suffered their first loss in three seasons under coach Mike White, falling to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in Athens. … Florida fell to 3-2 in SEC road games. It has lost two straight in the conference, including a home loss to South Carolina.
Georgia: The upset could help revive Georgia’s postseason outlook. The Bulldogs have made only two NCAA Tournament appearances, with no wins, in coach Mark Fox’s first eight seasons and will need a strong showing in February to enter the NCAA picture. … The Bulldogs had improved ball movement and grabbed first-half momentum with backup point guards Jordan Harris and Crump on the court. Crump scored six points on two 3s in his first four minutes.
THEY SAID IT
With less than a minute remaining, Georgia fans started chanting “Just like football,” a reference to the Bulldogs’ 42-7 football win over the Gators in Jacksonville, Florida.
Florida: Hosts Alabama on Saturday.
Georgia: At Mississippi State on Saturday.
More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25