GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Billy Donovan said freshman Bradley Beal needed to find a way to work through the struggles that had plagued him the past month, but he was confident Beal would eventually figure it out.
Looks like he did on Tuesday night in Florida's 70-48 win over Georgia.
The 6-foot-3 guard from St. Louis scored 17 points and tied his career high with 10 rebounds. It was his best performance since he scored 21 points in UF's 82-64 victory over Florida State on Dec. 22. Beal went 7-for-15 from the floor -- including 4-for-8 from 3-point range -- against the Seminoles, but since then had made just 14-of-47 shots from the floor and 2-of-16 shots from 3-point range.
On Tuesday he went 4-for-8 from the field, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range, and went 5-for-6 from the free-throw line. Beal went 4-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half. His double-double was the third of his career.
Player of the game: Beal delivered his best game of 2012. He said on Monday that he was not losing confidence in his offensive game despite shooting just 29.8 percent from the floor in his last four games. That included a stretch in which he missed seven 3-point attempts in a row over the four games, including an 0-for-2 performance against Yale and an 0-for-3 performance against UAB. He made his first 3-point attempt against Georgia, missed the next, and didn't miss until he had a desperation 3-pointer blocked as the shot clock was expiring with five minutes remaining in the game.
Stat of the game: Florida (13-4) held Georgia (9-7) to just 21 points in the first half. That was the fewest points the 19th-ranked Gators have allowed in a half this season. North Florida and Mississippi Valley State had scored 22 in the first half of losses.
What did we learn: The Gators respond pretty well when challenged. UF coach Billy Donovan made the players practice twice on Sunday after an embarrassing loss at Tennessee on Saturday and said their defensive intensity had slipped since the Christmas break. The Gators spent both practices working on defense and rebounding and responded with perhaps their best defensive performance of the season. The 48 points were the fewest the Gators have given up all season. The previous low was 54 against Mississippi Valley State.
Noteworthy: Florida has beaten Georgia 10 consecutive times in Gainesville. Georgia's last victory in the O'Connell Center was Jan. 19, 2002. ... Kenny Boynton has now made a 3-pointer in 33 consecutive games, which ties him with Brett Nelson for second on the school's list of consecutive games with a 3-pointer. Lee Humphrey has the record at 39 games. ... The Gators play at South Carolina on Saturday and then have a week off before playing host to LSU on Jan. 21.