ATHENS, Ga. — No. 8 Florida shook off a sluggish first half and romped past another Southeastern Conference men’s basketball opponent, beating Georgia 64-47 Wednesday night behind 17 points from Scottie Wilbekin.
Florida (15-2, 5-0 SEC) trailed 27-24 at halftime, making just 1 of 9 attempts beyond the 3-point arc. But the Gators turned things around after the break. Wilbeken and Mike Rosario hits back-to-back 3-pointers and forced three turnovers.
The Gators led the rest of way, holding Georgia (7-11, 1-4) to one field goal in the first 111/2 minutes of the second half.
Despite never leading in the first half, Florida added to its run of dominance in conference play. The Gators have won their first five SEC games by an average of nearly 25 points.
Wilbeken, who was averaging 8.3 points a game, matched his career high from a November victory over Central Florida. Kenny Boynton added 14 points, while Erik Murphy had 13.
Florida already had beaten Georgia 77-44 two weeks ago in Gainesville, but the Bulldogs were more competitive in this one, at least for a half. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the home team with 16 points, but no other Georgia player was in double figures.
Before a half-filled Stegeman Coliseum, the Bulldogs went right at the Gators from the opening tip, scoring the first six points and quickly building an 11-2 lead. Florida tied it a couple of times but, surprisingly, never had the lead before the break.
Georgia stayed on top with accurate shooting from beyond the arc, knocking down 6 of 11 by halftime. The Gators, by comparison, made just 1 of 9.
Caldwell-Pope finished off the half by swishing a long 3-pointer just before the buzzer, sending the Bulldogs racing off the court with the lead.
It didn’t last.
Florida has won 17 of the last 20 in the series and made up for a 76-62 loss in Athens late last season. The Gators finished 8 of 20 on 3-pointers.
Georgia was coming off its first SEC win of the season, a 67-58 victory over LSU. But the Bulldogs just didn’t have enough talent to knock off the Gators, having already lost non-conference games at home to Youngstown State, Southern Miss and Iona.
The Bulldogs’ second-half woes were summed up by Kenny Gaines, who went up for a dunk with about 5 minutes left but didn’t even clear the rim.
Arkansas 96, Mississippi State 70: In Fayetteville, Ark., Marshawn Powell scored 17 points to lead Arkansas.
The Razorbacks (12-6, 3-2) improved to 12-1 at home this season, with their lone loss coming to No. 3 Syracuse. Arkansas has yet to win away from home.
Powell had 13 points in the first half for the Razorbacks, who only trailed after the game’s first basket and forced a season-worst 29 turnovers by the Bulldogs — leading to 42 points. Leading scorer BJ Young, who came off the bench for the first time this season, added 13 points for Arkansas, while Coty Clarke added 13.
Fred Thomas led Mississippi State (7-10, 2-3) with 17 points, while Gavin Ware added 11 and Craig Sword 10.
Vanderbilt 73, Auburn 61: In Nashville, Tenn., Kedren Johnson scored 15 points to lead Vanderbilt.
Four players scored in double figures to help the Commodores (8-9, 2-3) win consecutive games for the first time in more than a month.
The Tigers (8-10, 2-3) cut the deficit to five points twice in the second half before Vanderbilt used the long ball to sprint away. Kyle Fuller, Sheldon Jeter and Kevin Bright each drained 3-pointers during a 13-3 run. Rod Odom emphatically capped off the spurt with a two-handed dunk after Josh Henderson found him streaking to the basket for a 52-37 lead with 12:28 left.
Fuller scored 14 points, Bright added 12 and Jeter had 10 for the Commodores.
Rob Chubb and Frankie Sullivan each scored 14 points and Brian Greene Jr. added 11 for the Tigers.