GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- With his father and grandfather
watching from the stands, Joakim Noah put on quite a show.
The sophomore forward had a career-high 37 points and 11
rebounds Wednesday night, helping Florida (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today; No. 17 AP) beat Georgia 77-66
and snap a three-game losing streak.
Noah scored on layups, dunks, putbacks, even a baseline drive.
He was 19-of-22 from the free throw line, breaking Neal Walk's
school record for free throws made. Walk made 18 in 1968.
In short, the Bulldogs had no answer for the 6-foot-11 son of
tennis great Yannick Noah.
"He carried our team offensively, no question," coach Billy
Noah came off the bench for the first time this season as
Florida's lone senior, Adrian Moss, started his final home game.
But Noah provided an instant spark, picking up the slack when
center Al Horford sustained a hip pointer early.
Noah drew a foul and made both free throws for the team's first
points. He rolled from there, draining his first 12 free throws.
He was 9-of-14 from the field and scored the most points by a
Florida player since Vernon Delancy had 38 against Alabama in 1981.
He did it with his 69-year-old grandfather, Zacharie Noah,
watching him play for the first time. He traveled from Cameroon to
attend Florida's home finale.
"It probably would have been very depressing if we would have
lost this game," said Noah, who has made significant strides since
his freshman season. "You feel like you're floating when you're
out there. When you're family's out there, it's just extra
The Gators (23-6, 9-6 Southeastern Conference) needed Noah's
effort. The rest of the team was 14-of-34 from the field.
Corey Brewer was the only other Florida player in double
figures. He had 13 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Florida led most of the way, but Georgia (15-13, 5-10) used a
6-0 run to cut the deficit to 67-63 with 3:14 remaining.
Noah and Taurean Green, however, came up big down the stretch.
Noah rebounded a missed shot and made his final free throw. Green
added a 3-pointer with 52 seconds remaining that pushed the lead to
Green and Brewer each made two free throws in the closing
seconds to secure Florida's first victory since Feb. 15.
The Gators lost their previous three games against Arkansas,
Tennessee and Alabama by a combined 13 points.
But Noah helped halt the losing streak.
"Noah was just fantastic," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said.
"He was obviously feeling really good, and he hit a lot from the
Georgia was 4-of-21 from 3-point range, but the team's biggest
problem was stopping Noah.
"We just could not deny him the ball," center Dave Bliss said.
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