GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP)—Florida’s Corey Brewer always fills up the stat line, he just doesn’t often get a double-double.
The junior did both on Saturday in the third-ranked Gators’ 67-51 victory over Georgia in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
Brewer had 19 points and 10 rebounds for his second career double-double and first of the season. He also had seven assists, four steals and even a blocked shot.
“The team was giving me the ball and I was able to finish,” Brewer said. “We were getting out on the break, and I think that is where we strive the most.”
Brewer’s coast-to-coast layup with about 5:30 left in the game gave Florida (14-2) a 55-44 lead and the Gators went on to their seventh straight win, sixth in a row in an SEC opener and sixth consecutive over Georgia.
The Bulldogs (8-5), who led 26-25 at halftime, lost their fourth straight game in the middle of a tough schedule stretch. Three of those losses were against Top 25 teams—No. 23 Clemson and No. 4 Wisconsin before Florida.
Three players each scored 10 points for Georgia—Steve Newman, Billy Humphrey and Takais Brown., who also had seven rebounds and three blocks.
The Gators outscored Georgia 40-23 inside, but the Bulldogs blocked eight shots compared with five for Florida.
“In the second half Coach told us we needed to dominate on the inside and play inside out in order to be able to open up the game, and that’s what we were able to do,” said Florida center Al Horford, who had six points and five rebounds.
Lee Humphrey was 6-for-9 from the field and had 16 points for the Gators, while Joakim Noah had 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Florida was able to rebound from a poor first half from the field (38.5 percent) with a 16-for-31 second-half performance (52 percent). Georgia shot 39 percent on the game, including 10-for-29 in the second half.
The Gators played a sloppy, fast-paced game. They had 12 turnovers, including two bad passes in a row around the 14-minute mark of the second half, and nearly had two more in the next couple of minutes. Some were on careless passes tipped by Georgia, while others came on overthrown fast-break leads—one with both Brewer and Taurean Green open on the other end.
But the Gators’ quick hands on defense caused Georgia even more trouble. Florida defenders sped to the ball, slapping it away for 10 steals and forcing 22 turnovers.
“To win this game we needed to win the rebound margin and the turnover margin,” Georgia coach Dennis Felton said. “Obviously we did not come close to winning the turnover margin, and losing control of the glass in the second half and continuing to have turnovers is what did us in.”
Noah scored five points in an 11-0 run in the first half that put the Gators up 24-14, but the Gators didn’t make another field goal over the remaining 5:44 of the first half, managing just one point on a free throw by Brewer.