Size mismatch lessened by Gator's injury


ATHENS, Ga. -- The physical disadvantages Georgia (12-15, 3-10 SEC) has faced in the frontcourt this season have been obvious.

“I’d say you can count on one hand the number of times we’ve been physically even up front,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said.

Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET home game against No. 11 Florida (22-6, 10-3) might be one time where the Bulldogs’ post players don’t face a decided physical mismatch -- particularly after Gators forward Will Yeguete suffered a season-ending broken foot in Tuesday’s win against Auburn.

Yeguete is one of the Gators’ top rebounders and post defenders, so Florida might be forced to lean more heavily on youngsters Casey Prather and Cody Larson in his absence.

However, the Gators still have Patric Young (10.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Erik Murphy (10.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg) available -- either of whom is beefier than anybody Georgia uses regularly in the post.

Donte Williams (7.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Marcus Thornton (3 ppg, 5.1 rpg) play far and away the most minutes among Bulldogs in the frontcourt, although 6-foot-10, 245-pound freshman John Cannon played a career-high 14 minutes in Wednesday’s loss to LSU -- the first time Cannon has played double-digit minutes -- and could continue to see more playing time.

“He’s got great hands,” Fox said. “It’s just getting comfortable with all the things we do and the speed of the game has been an adjustment for him. I think when the matchups are right, you’ll see him play more.”

Perhaps that could be against Florida, which leans heavily on outside shooting and got 42 points from its three starting guards Kenny Boynton, Erving Walker and Bradley Beal in a 70-48 win against Georgia earlier this season.

Williams, Fox said, is also a year away from becoming a “terrific” SEC post player.

Because of Georgia’s depth shortage in the post, Williams was often forced to guard the opponent’s biggest player, with Thornton often playing out of position, as well, and freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope playing small forward instead of his natural position, shooting guard.

As they gain experience and strength over the offseason, Fox expects them to be less physically overwhelmed by their opponents.

“This year just physically, [Williams is] playing against guys that are quite honestly 30 or 40 pounds heavier,” Fox said. “I don’t expect him to put on 30 pounds, but he’s just playing against guys that are a little bit physically more mature than he is. I think that will be less of an issue as he continues to add strength himself.”