GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Bulldogs entered SEC play riding a four-game winning streak, but two players didn't make the trip to play No. 11 Florida, and Georgia was never able to get comfortable in a 77-44 loss Wednesday night at the O'Connell Center.
Mark Fox: "Florida just overwhelmed us." (Photo by Steve Johnson/GatorBait.net)
Starting forward Donte Williams and freshman guard Kenny Gaines didn't travel while suspended for what a UGA spokesman said were team rules violations.
"I think Williams for them in the frontcourt not playing hurt their team," Florida coach Billy Donovan said. "He's kind of a stabilizing force, shot-blocker, finisher. And obviously they were without Gaines too, who has been a good part coming off the bench."
The Bulldogs (6-8, 0-1 SEC) couldn't find an offensive rhythm against the Gators (11-2, 1-0), who boasted the nation's fourth-ranked scoring defense going into the game.
Turnovers helped Florida jump out to an early 11-0 lead, and the Gators never looked back.
"Florida just overwhelmed us," coach Mark Fox said. "We started out in a hole, and the environment overwhelmed a couple of our kids, and so did Florida's defense. We dug such a hole and we tried to play out of it in the first half."
Donovan said Florida's gameplan was to limit Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nemanja Djurisic on the offensive end to force other players to score. The duo was held to a combined 5-14 from the floor for 16 points.
Georgia turned the ball over 11 times in the first half and 19 times in the game, leading to 27 points off turnovers for Florida.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 11 points to lead Georgia on Wednesday night. (Photo by Steve Johnson/GatorBait.net)
"It was nerves for the young players," Fox said. "It took us a while to get ourselves going."
Caldwell-Pope finished with a team-high 11 points in the loss. He echoed Fox's comments on the loss, which was Georgia's lowest scoring output of the season.
"We didn't come out ready to play," Caldwell-Pope said. "We weren't running our offense with authority and our defense wasn't as ready as we had been in the last couple of games."
Georgia will return to action on Saturday at home against Mississippi State at 1:45 p.m.