JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Dan Werner had 20 points and 14 rebounds, both career highs, and carried Florida to a 52-49 victory over Georgia Southern on Saturday.
Werner's best game helped the Gators (10-1) overcome one of their worst shooting games in coach Billy Donovan's 12 seasons.Werner was 6-of-15 from the floor and 6-of-10 from the free-throw line. He also made both of Florida's 3-pointers.Even more important, Werner blocked Willie Powers' game-tying 3-pointer just before the final buzzer.Nick Calathes added 15 points and 11 rebounds for Florida, which won its ninth consecutive neutral-site game.The two-time defending national champions returned to the place where they started their NCAA tournament run in 2006, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena. The Gators even had the same locker room they used while picking up wins in the first and second round.Florida hardly looked like the same team, though.Georgia Southern (7-2), which had its seven-game winning streak snapped, led 23-13 late in the first half and 36-29 with about 14 minutes remaining. The Eagles dominated the paint early, taking advantage of Florida's lack of toughness and inside presence.The Gators compounded their problems with poor shooting. They were 6-of-30 shooting in the first half, including 0-of-8 from 3-point range. It didn't get much better either, as they finished shooting 26 percent from the floor and 2-of-14 from behind the arc.But Werner and Calathes came up big down the stretch.Werner's two free throws tied the game at 39 with 9:26 to play, then his second 3-pointer put the Gators up 46-43.His layup made it 48-45, but it was the last field goal Florida made.The Eagles got a layup from Anthony Marshall and a putback from Powers to retake the lead. They had a chance to extend the lead, but Louis Graham missed two free throws.Calathes made four straight free throws in the final 34 seconds to seal the game. In between, Powers had a turnovers and then got the potential game-tying shot blocked.Powers led the Eagles with 17 points on 8-of-15 shooting.