ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Phlandrous Fleming Jr. scored a season-high 27 points, Tyree Appleby added 21 and Florida hit 14 3-pointers in beating Georgia 84-72 on Saturday.
Fleming, a grad transfer who played four years at Charleston Southern, was born and raised in Athens. He made the most of his homecoming, shooting 11 of 18 with four 3-pointers. Appleby had five 3s and seven assists. Myreon Jones added 13 points and Colin Castleton 10 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for a Florida (18-11, 8-8 Southeastern Conference) team on the NCAA Tournament bubble that couldn’t afford a loss to the last-place Bulldogs.
Kario Oquendo had four first-half 3-pointers and finished with 20 points to lead Georgia (6-23, 1-15), which has lost nine straight. Braelen Bridges added 16 points. Aaron Cook, with 10 points, had four assists to move up two spots to No. 3 on the program career list with 156. The Bulldogs shot 47%.
Florida, which averages eight 3-pointers on 30.5% shooting, was 14 of 31 for 45%. The Gators shot 52% overall and outscored Georgia 19-8 off turnovers.
Appleby and Jones bookended a 10-0 run to open the second half for a 17-point lead. Georgia got the deficit back to single digits briefly before Appleby hit consecutive 3-pointers and lead remained in double figures.
Florida made eight 3-pointers in taking a 41-34 lead behind 10 points from Fleming in the first half. The Gators broke a tie and took the lead for good midway through the half with a 9-0 run capped by seven straight points from Fleming. The Bulldogs, who had six first-half 3s, quickly cut the deficit to two after a 3 by Oquendo. A Fleming 3 with 24 seconds left gave Florida its seven-point edge.
The Gators have won six straight in the series, including a 72-63 win on Feb. 9. They played without Anthony Duruji, a 27-game starter this season, who was out with an injury.
Florida is at Vanderbilt on Tuesday and ends the regular season at home against No. 6 Kentucky next Saturday. Georgia is host to No. 17 Tennessee on Tuesday and ends the regular season at Missouri next Saturday.
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