The Georgia men’s basketball team hosted Gardner-Webb at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. (Photo by Jack Casey)
Jack Casey

Georgia basketball falls to Gardner-Webb 77-60 in 2021 finale

ATHENS – Georgia basketball fell behind Gardner-Webb early and never caught up, falling 77-60 Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

The Bulldogs (5-8) led for all of 28 seconds in the first half before trailing the Runnin’ Bulldogs (6-7) for the rest of the contest. It was also the second consecutive game that Georgia trailed its opponent by double digits after it trailed East Tennessee State by 11 points at the break last week.

“The ball didn’t move the way that it needed to and we weren’t as crisp by any stretch of the imagination,” UGA coach Tom Crean said. “We gave up too much penetration of letting the ball get in the middle, those were the biggest things.

“I put it all on myself. I’m the coach, so I’ve got to do a better job all the way around.”

Quick starts courtesy of Lance Terry and Jordan Sears put Gardner-Webb ahead 18-8 in the first eight minutes of the game.

Gardner-Webb also scored 11 points off Georgia’s nine first half turnovers. Georgia scored just four off the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ six turnovers.

Five offensive rebounds for Gardner-Webb also resulted in 10 second chance points in the first half.

The Bulldogs stayed about ten points behind the Runnin’ Bulldogs for the remainder of the first half. Georgia trailed Gardner-Webb 44-31 at halftime.

An offensive resurgence early in the second half brought the Bulldogs within 7 points of Gardner-Webb. A Braelen Bridges layup at the 16:04 mark capped off a 9-0 run in the early minutes of the second frame.

Georgia could not prove to continue its momentum, though, as the hopes of a comeback were quickly extinguished by the Runnin’ Bulldog offense. Gardner-Webb continued to keep a comfortable distance from Georgia for the rest of the contest.

Georgia was led offensively by Braelen Bridges. The UIC transfer scored 17 points and grabbed 7 rebounds.

The already injury-ridden Bulldogs were also without forward Jaxon Etter, who was sidelined with back spasms. Etter started the previous two games for Georgia.

Zion Williams led Gardner-Webb with 14 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the win.

“We knew they were dangerous and we let them be dangerous,” Noah Baumann said. “It’s just really frustrating, man.”

Georgia will play host to Texas A&M to begin SEC play at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4.

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