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Florida Gators hurt NCAA Tournament chances with loss to Georgia Bulldogs

Trey Thompkins, center, shooting between Chandler Parsons, left, and Vernon Macklin, lead Georgia with 20 points.

Associated Press

Trey Thompkins, center, shooting between Chandler Parsons, left, and Vernon Macklin, lead Georgia with 20 points.

ATHENS, Ga. — Florida is back on the bubble.

Trey Thompkins had 20 points, and Albert Jackson ended the Gators' comeback attempt by knocking a last-second pass out of bounds to help Georgia beat Florida 78-76 on Saturday.

Chandler Parsons had 29 points for Florida, which had won three straight overall and 12 of its past 13 meetings with the Bulldogs.

"Give Georgia a lot of credit," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "They played a great game. If it wasn't for two missed free throws the other night, I think they would've won at Vanderbilt. Their season has been a lot like that."

Florida (20-9, 9-5 SEC) was coming off its first win over Tennessee in three years, a 13-point victory Tuesday that lifted its hopes of returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since it won consecutive national titles in 2006-07.

But the Gators, who never led after Kenny Boynton's 3-pointer made it 17-15 midway through the first half, end the regular season next week against No. 16 Vanderbilt at home and No. 2 Kentucky on the road.

"This is a tough road loss to come within two points and lose," Boynton said. "We just have to work hard at getting back some momentum."

Georgia (13-14, 5-9) improved to 12-3 at home this season with a fourth straight victory at Stegeman Coliseum. But the Bulldogs nearly blew a 15-point lead Dustin Ware gave them on a 3-pointer with 12:55 remaining.

Boynton, who had 22 points, pulled Florida within two three times in the final 5:42, but his fastbreak layup with 1:39 left ended the scoring.

After Georgia's shot-clock violation gave Florida the ball with 13.3 seconds left, Jackson jumped in front of Dan Werner near the right sideline to block a pass intended for Vernon Macklin under UF's basket.

The ball bounced off Jackson's arms and into the crowd behind Werner. On the inbounds play, Werner took a pass and launched a desperation 3 that sailed over the rim at the buzzer.

Jeremy Price had 13 points, Travis Leslie 12 and Ware 10 for Georgia, coming off an overtime loss at Vanderbilt on Thursday.

"I told the team that it's important to be tough enough to come back and pick yourself up when you're down," first-year Bulldogs coach Mark Fox said. "As hard as we competed at Vanderbilt, we didn't get the job done, and it is our responsibility to play a little bit better."

Georgia 78

Florida 76

Florida Gators hurt NCAA Tournament chances with loss to Georgia Bulldogs 02/27/10 [Last modified: Sunday, February 28, 2010 1:08pm]
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