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January 6, 2007

Florida opens SEC play with win over UGA

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -Corey Brewer had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 3 Florida to a 67-51 victory over Georgia on Saturday in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.

Brewer's coast-to-coast layup with about 5:30 left in the game gave Florida (14-2) a 55-44 lead.

It was Florida's seventh straight win, sixth in a row in an SEC opener and sixth consecutive over Georgia.

The Bulldogs (8-5), who led 26-25 at halftime, lost their fourth straight game in the middle of a tough schedule stretch. Three of those losses were against Top 25 teams - No. 23 Clemson and No. 4 Wisconsin before Florida.

Three players each had 10 points for Georgia - Steve Newman, Billy Humphrey and Takais Brown., who also grabbed seven rebounds.

The Gators outscored Georgia 40-23 inside, but the Bulldogs blocked eight shots compared with five for Florida.

Lee Humphrey was 6-for-9 from the field and had 16 points for the Gators, while Joakim Noah had 13 points and 13 rebounds.

The Gators played a sloppy, fast-paced game. They had 12 turnovers, including two bad passes in a row around the 14-minute mark of the second half, and nearly had two more in the next couple of minutes. Some were on careless passes tipped by Georgia, while others came on overthrown fast-break leads - one with both Brewer and Taurean Green open on the other end.

But the Gators' use of quick hands on defense caused Georgia even more trouble. Florida defenders sped to the ball, slapping it away for 10 steals and forcing 22 turnovers.

Noah scored five points in an 11-0 run in the first half that put the Gators up 24-14, but the Gators didn't make another field goal over the remaining 5:44 of the first half, managing just one point on a free throw by Brewer.

For more coverage of Florida, visit GatorBait.net; for more on Washington, visit UGASports.com.

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