ATHENS — Florida’s size, athleticism and shooting was too much for Georgia basketball to handle Saturday afternoon.
The Gators dealt the Bulldogs a 92-84 defeat at Stegeman Coliseum, using a 16-3 run the first five minutes of the second half and build a 58-42 lead.
Georgia (9-5, 2-5 SEC) was unable to get closer than 8 points against Florida (8-4, 5-3 the remainder of the game.
The Gators, coming off a 26-point win over No. 6 Tennessee on Wednesday, were led by Tre Mann’s 24 points and 4 assists.
Florida bussed 5 1/2 hours to Athens for the game rather than charter a flight, but it didn’t seem to have much of an effect on the team.
The Gators shot 56.9 percent from the floor and 38.9 percent (7-of-18) from 3-point range, and used their advantageous size and athleticism to out-rebound Georgia 41-27 and block five shots.
Florida also had a 22-11 edge in second-chance point, cashing in on 16 offensive rebounds.
The Gators had 6-foot-11 Colin Castleton (14 points 7-9 shooting) and 6-10 Omar Payne (10 points, 5-5, 9 rebounds) towering over Georgia.
But coach Tom Crean, whose tallest rotation regular is 6-8 Toumani Camara, would not allow that to be an excuse.
“It’s not about size when it comes to toughness and leverage and how you hit people,” Crean said. “Certainly, Florida is bigger than us as are most teams, but that’s no excuse not to be aggressive.
“We weren’t physical enough at all …. this one is bewildering.”
Georgia point guard Sahvir Wheeler recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists, limited to 29 minutes by a shoulder injury.
Andrew Garcia, an undersized forward at 6-6, led Georgia scorers with 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting and had 5 rebounds.
The Bulldogs struggled shooting from the free-throw line (13 of 24 for 54 percent).
The 3-point shooting numbers suffered, too, with K.D. Johnson and P.J. Horne a combined 1-of-12 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.
Johnson scored 16 points, but most of his points came once the game was out of hand.
Horne, the hero of Wednesday’s win over Kentucky, scored only 2 points with 2 rebounds in his 29 minutes on the floor, 0-for-6 from 3-point range.
“We shoot 61 percent in the second half, 54 percent in the game, and we lose because we didn’t defend at the rim,” Crean said. “I didn’t see it coming. We’ve been so good in practice the last two days and were aggressive in wins against Ole Miss and Kentucky.”
Florida held a 42-39 lead at halftime, dominating the boards by a 21-13 margin and owning the paint with a 28-18 scoring advantage in the lane the opening 20 minutes.
Kier scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half, draining 3 of 5 field goal attempts and getting two of his three steals in the first 20 minutes.
UGA ran out to a 16-9 lead on the strength of a 7-0 burst in the first half, but Florida answered with a 15-3 run and took a 42-39 lead into the half on Omar Payne’s tip at the horn.
The Bulldogs return to action at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at South Carolina. The Gamecocks (3-5, 1-3) are coming off a 109-86 home loss to Auburn.