University of Florida

No. 23 Gators hoops edges Georgia in overtime

Florida guard Canyon Barry (24) dribbles past Georgia forward Pape Diatta (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla., Sat., Jan. 14, 2017.
Florida guard Canyon Barry (24) dribbles past Georgia forward Pape Diatta (5) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Gainesville, Fla., Sat., Jan. 14, 2017. AP

With about two minutes left in overtime, UF guard Canyon Barry corralled an offensive rebound off a missed KeVaughn Allen three-point shot as Georgia’s Juwan Parker drew a foul.

The graduate transfer and son of NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry stepped to the line and sank both of his signature underhanded free throws. The pair of makes sparked a 7-2 game-ending run that sealed No. 23 Florida’s 80-76 win over Georgia on Saturday to remain undefeated in Southeastern Conference play.

Barry and redshirt freshman Keith Stone carried Florida (14-3, 5-0 SEC) off the bench. Barry finished with a season-high 27 points on 7-of-13 shooting and made all eight of his free throws. Stone added a career-high 17 -- including a key three-point shot early in overtime to give Florida the win for good. The two made eight of UF’s nine three-point baskets in the win, Florida’s seventh straight.

“It was huge for us,” said senior point guard Kasey Hill, who added 11 points and made two of his final four free throws in regulation to force overtime. “That’s what type of players they are though.”

And Florida needed the two to be at their best in a contest that saw 49 total personal fouls, two technicals and a bench warning called.

Second-year UF coach Mike White said the Gators came into the game coming off their worst practice in a month. It showed early.

Georgia (11-6, 3-2 SEC) dominated the game early, jumping out to a 10-4 lead early and leading by as many as seven points in the first half. The Gators were off-rhythm offensively, missing 13 of their first 18 shots of the game, and failed to match the Bulldogs on the glass.

“I was really concerned going into this game,” White said. “Our energy level didn’t match their energy level. … I thought they were more physical the entire game.”

But Barry, the 6-6 grad transfer, led UF on an offensive outburst -- keyed by a pair of corner 3s -- that allowed Florida to outscore Georgia 15-9 to close out the first half and trail by just 33-32 heading into intermission.

“You try to look to be aggressive but at the same time let the game come to you,” Barry said about his ability to make plays in the game. “I think it's a fine balance."

Georgia continued to hold the lead for most of the second half until 6-8 forward Yante Maten fouled out with just under four minutes to play in regulation. From there, the Gators went on to outscore the Bulldogs 8-3 to close out the second half before pulling away in overtime.

UF next travels to face South Carolina on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m.

“We’ve got a little resiliency,” White said. “We’ve got a confidence that’s heightening, but obviously if you play with fire, you’re going to get burned. There’s a lot of things we can learn from this game.”

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