UF pounds Georgia behind Calathes' triple-double


Published: Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 12:14 a.m.

After Florida sophomore point guard Nick Calathes posted the second triple-double of his career, he worked his way past the student section at the O’Connell Center.

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Florida's Nick Calathes goes up for a layup through the defense of Georgia's Ricky McPhee during the second half at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on Wednesday.

Aaron Daye/Staff photographer

Scorecards and sharpies awaited him. Calathes tried to sign as many as possible.

“I’d like to stay,” Calathes told them. “But I have to get back to the locker room.”

Calathes wound up with 20 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for just the third triple-double in Florida history, leading the Gators to the 83-57 lopsided win Wednesday night over Georgia.

“I just try to help the team, fill the stat sheet,” Calathes said. “We got the win and that was really the most important thing.”

Calathes posted his previous triple-double March 21 of last season against Creighton (11 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.) Former Florida forward Corey Brewer had Florida’s first triple-double in school history Dec. 18 2005 against Jacksonville, finishing with 15 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds.

Calathes finished off the feat with his 10th assist, feeding Chandler Parsons on a layup with 4:40 left to put Florida up 76-43. He left to a standing ovation 23 seconds later.

“The kid can’t jump over a newspaper and he had, what, 13 rebounds tonight,” Parsons said. “That just shows you the instincts he has for the basketball.”

By spreading the ball around, Calathes got plenty of help from his teammates. Florida sophomore center Alex Tyus added 18 points, his most since scoring 20 points last Dec. 22 against Georgia Southern. Parsons (12 points) and Florida junior Dan Werner (11 points) also reached double figures.

“I think any time a guy has a night like that, a lot of it has to do with the players around you,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “Nick did a nice job tonight rebounding from the guard position and he was able to score and create. Teams try to key on his but you can’t key on him if Chandler Parsons makes shots, Erving Walker makes shots and Dan Werner makes some shots.”

The win moved Florida (18-3, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) into a first-place tie with Kentucky atop the SEC East. At 18-3, the Gators are back to where they were a season ago, when they closed the season 3-8 and failed to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998.

“We’ve been through this before,” Calathes said. “We can’t be complacent.”

Georgia (9-11, 0-5 SEC) dropped its seventh straight against Florida. Corey Butler and Howard Thompkins led the Bulldogs with 10 points apiece. Florida finished 11-for-24 from 3-point range against a Georgia team that was holding teams to 29.6 percent from 3-point range entering Wednesday night.

“They obviously overwhelmed us with their explosive scoring by shooting the ball from the perimeter,” Georgia coach Dennis Felton

Off a 15 3-point field goal performance against Vanderbilt, Florida went inside early against the Bulldogs. Tyus scored the first two baskets on a turnaround in the lane and a bank shot.

Florida missed its first three 3-point attempts before freshman Erving Walker hit one from the left side to put Florida ahead 9-6. A Werner 3-pointer extended Florida’s lead to 22-13, but Georgia answered with an 8-0 run, cutting the lead to 24-21 on a Ricky McPhee 3-pointer.

That’s when Florida went back to Tyus, who started an 8-0 run with a bank shot off the glass. Tyus ended the run with a lay-in to put Florida ahead 30-21.

After a Thompkins dunk cut the Florida lead to 35-26, Tyus energized the crowd with a follow-up dunk off a Parsons missed drive in the lane. Parsons then followed with a steal on the press, and Hodge found him for a layin to extend the Florida lead to 39-26.

Georgia followed with consecutive baskets from Terrance Woodberry and Jeremy Price to cut the lead to 39-30, but Florida senior guard Walter Hodge hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with 2.3 seconds left to put Florida ahead 42-30 at halftime.

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