Mann's career-high 24 points help Florida top Georgia, 92-84

Special to Gatorsports.com
Florida guard Noah Locke looks to make a play Saturday against Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga.

ATHENS, Ga. — How does Florida follow its 26-point stunning win over No. 6 Tennessee on Tuesday?

Well, having five players score in double figures for a 92-84 win Saturday at Georgia will have to do for an encore for the Gators.

Tre Mann scored a career-high 24 points (along with six rebounds, four assists and two steals), Noah Locke followed with 16 points and Tyree Appleby and Colin Castleton added 14 points each and Omar Payne had 10, as the Gators improved to 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the SEC. Andrew Garcia led Georgia (9-5, 2-5) with 17 points.

"Yeah, I feel like that's kind of my role — to make plays," Mann said. "The ball was in my hands at that time, so I knew I had to make plays, so that's what I tried to do."

Florida guard Ques Glover goes up for a shot Saturday against Georgia in Athens, Ga.

Florida has won five of six in Georgia under coach Mike White and Saturday scored the most points in regulation at Georgia since 1994. The hot-shooting Gators finished at 57% from the floor (37 of 65) with seven 3-pointers.

"Any win in the SEC feels great, but to beat a rival, it just shows that we came in ready to play and we prepared great for it," Mann said.

Florida took a 42-39 lead at the half behind 13 points (3-3s) from Locke and Omar Payne's layup at the buzzer.

Up next

Who: Vanderbilt (4-7, 0-5 SEC) at Florida (8-4, 5-3)

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

TV: SEC Network

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

The Bulldogs had their biggest lead of the half at 16-9 with 15:38 showing on a Toumani Camara bucket.

Florida then went on a 15-5 run for a 24-21 lead at the 11:03 mark.

Turnovers and missed shots by the Gators allowed the Bulldogs to take a 30-29 lead on two Camara free throws at 6:13.

Florida then took a 32-30 lead on Locke's third 3 with 5:49 showing. The Gators built the lead to their largest of the half on two free throws by Mann for a 38-32 lead with 3:30 left.

Georgia came within 40-39 on Justin Kier's third 3 of the half with 1:11 remaining.

The Gators then opened the second half with a 16-3 spurt for a 58-42 advantage at the 14:55 mark and kept the Bulldogs down the rest of the way.

"Game-to-game, it's just going to be different in terms of who we play and how we play," White said. "We are definitely more comfortable offensively than, you know, when we first came back from Christmas break, for sure. We have to value the ball better. If we're going to be a good team, like not a good team sometimes, but a consistently good team in this league, we've got to value it better.

"You have to make better decisions. Outside of that, offensively I thought we were really good. Missed some reads, missed some post touches where we wanted to go with it ... Just weren't there at times, specifically (in the) second half. Some stuff we can clean up, but you shoot the percentage we shot on the road, you get to the foul line, 16 offensive rebounds ... I felt our guys did some really good stuff offensively."

Florida built its lead to 17 points at 76-59 with 6:27 remaining on an Appleby basket.

UF shot 59 percent in the second half and won the rebound battle for the game 41-27. Mann scored 17 points after halftime and Appleby scored 12 of his 14 after the break.

Notes: UF sophomore Scottie Lewis missed his fourth consecutive game because of health and safety protocols. Castleton, who missed Tuesday's game with an ankle injury, did not start Saturday, but saw plenty of minutes. ... The Gators took a five-and-a-half hour bus ride Friday to Athens. ... "This looks like a NCAA tournament team to me," ESPN analyst Dan Dakich said during the game. ... The Gators defeated next opponent Vandy 91-72 in the conference opener Dec. 30 at Nashville. ... Payne made his second straight start and delivered a solid performance with 10 points an nine rebounds going a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor.

Florida 92, Georgia 84

FLORIDA (8-4, 5-3 SEC)

Duruji 3-6 0-0 6, Payne 5-5 0-0 10, Appleby 5-11 3-6 14, Locke 6-12 0-0 16, Mann 7-16 8-10 24, Castleton 7-9 0-1 14, Osifo 3-3 0-0 6, Glover 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 37-65 11-17 92.

GEORGIA (9-5, 2-5)

Camara 4-5 3-7 11, Horne 1-7 0-0 2, Fagan 4-6 0-0 8, Kier 5-10 0-1 14, Wheeler 3-9 4-4 10, K.Johnson 5-10 5-10 16, Garcia 8-9 1-2 17, Ned 2-2 0-0 6, Starks 0-0 0-0 0, McMillan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-58 13-24 84.

Halftime_Florida 42-39. 3-Point Goals_Florida 7-18 (Locke 4-10, Mann 2-6, Appleby 1-1, Duruji 0-1), Georgia 7-22 (Kier 4-7, Ned 2-2, K.Johnson 1-5, Camara 0-1, Wheeler 0-1, Horne 0-6). Fouled Out_Osifo. Rebounds_Florida 35 (Payne 9), Georgia 24 (Fagan 6). Assists_Florida 14 (Mann 4), Georgia 22 (Wheeler 10). Total Fouls_Florida 19, Georgia 20.

Florida guard Tre Mann brings the ball upcourt Saturday against Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga.