My family and I spent Saturday in Athens, where my wife and children took advantage of some of the many benefits the Classic City has to offer while I attended the festivities commemorating the 192nd anniversary of the founding of the Phi Kappa Literary Society. After a long and enjoyable day spent in the company of old friends, I sat down in the evening to catch up on my duties here at the weblog, and I realized while writing my baseball recap that I was famished.
I went to go get a snack, and, when I opened the refrigerator to fetch myself a ginger ale, I was exceedingly pleasantly surprised to discover half of an unfinished Subway sandwich there for the taking. Georgia’s basketball win over Florida was a lot like that sandwich: I didn’t expect it, but I was starving for it, so, when fortune dropped it into my lap without warning, I was thrilled at what had transpired.
On a weekend that saw the Bulldogs beat the Gators in men’s lacrosse but lose to the Orange and Blue in women’s gymnastics and in women’s lacrosse, the Fox Hounds never trailed in a 76-62 win over an eleventh-ranked Florida club I thought the Red and Black had no shot at upsetting.
Georgia shot nearly 53 per cent from the field (27 of 51) to place five Bulldogs in double figures: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (18), Gerald Robinson (15), Nemanja Djurisic (12), Dustin Ware (11), and Donte` Williams (11). The heroic home team led in assists (16-8), blocks (6-2), and steals (8-5), while the sinister visitors tallied more fouls (19-15) and turnovers (11-10).
An 8-2 Red and Black run to close out the first half afforded Georgia a 36-27 edge at intermission, and there was no let-up after the break, as the Hoop Dogs had built up a 14-point lead eight minutes into the second half. Though the Gators pulled to within five in the closing minutes of the contest, nine-for-ten free-throw shooting by the Bulldogs in the last three minutes preserved the Athenians’ lead. By winning the battle of the second half, 40-35, the Bulldogs managed to post a 14-point triumph over an NCAA Tournament-bound rival.
Honestly, I don’t know what the heck to think. In the history of Georgia men’s basketball, too many turned corners have led to too many dead ends for me to feel comfortable crediting any single victory with being a springboard to bigger and better things. This was, however, a milestone win, as these things go, and the Fox Hounds have beaten enough respectable conference opponents in recent weeks for me to believe this isn’t just a fluke. This team actually may be onto something, albeit a little too late for it to matter much this season.
You know what, though? While I’d like this win to mark the start of something big, I don’t need it to have larger significance in the grand scheme of things in order to enjoy it thoroughly. Like Tina Turner told us, we must try to ignore that it means more than that. All we know for sure that it means is that it’s great to be a Gator hater, and that there ain’t nothing better than being a Bulldog on Saturday night after beating Florida. Any importance ultimately attaching to this triumph beyond those certainties is just gravy.