Georgia basketball scrapped to avoid a blowout but rarely challenged Miami’s lead in a 79-68 loss on Friday.

The Bulldogs (2-2) led by as much as 7 points in the first half before the No. 12-ranked Hurricanes (4-0) stormed back. Georgia fell to the consolation game of the Baha Mar Hoops Championship in Nassau with the loss.

Miami took control of the game with a double-digit lead in the final minutes of the first half and never came close to giving it up. The “U” led by at least 10 points through the whole second half.

The undefeated Hurricanes appeared to roll with the same momentum that took them to the Final Four last season. Miami displayed its maturity in neutral site competition, shooting 18 of 19 from the free throw line.

Georgia made just 14 of its 22 free throw attempts.

The Bulldogs were also out-shot in the loss. UGA sank 37 percent of its shots from the field, while Miami finished 45 percent from the floor.

Atlanta native Matthew Cleveland powered Miami offensively with 18 points, 6 rebounds and an assist.

True freshman Blue Cain turned in an encouraging offensive performance for Georgia. The Knoxville, Tn., product scored a career-high 18 points with 4 rebounds and 2 assists. He also nailed 4 of his 9 shots from 3-point range.

“He’s growing up, he’s maturing, he’s become more vocal,” UGA coach Mike White said of Cain. “He’s learning how to play with the intensity level needed in all facets to be successful at this level.

“And then offensively, he did some things that we see a lot in practice.”

Cain is one member of Georgia’s top-20 recruiting class expected to make a strong impact in his freshman season. Fellow freshman guard Silas Demary Jr. added 8 points and team-leading totals of 8 rebounds and 7 assists.

Both of Georgia’s losses have come against 2023 NCAA Tournament teams at neutral sites much closer to its opponents. The Bulldogs dropped a season opener to undefeated Oregon in Las Vegas.

“We’ve got to learn how to be successful offensively against a high-major program, and Miami’s a great example of a team that’s as good offensively as just about anybody in the country,” White said. “That ball really moves.”

Georgia was humming offensively through the first half before collapsing at the 6:00 mark. The Bulldogs played a clean first 14 minutes, committing just 2 turnovers.

Georgia entered that final stretch narrowly trailing Miami, 24-23. Then the Hurricanes forced 5 turnovers, outscoring the Bulldogs 15-6.

“We’ve got to share it better,” White said. “We had some ill-advised decisions early game and then late first half, I thought that stood out. We had a couple of transition opportunities where the ball stuck in the half-court a little bit.”

Miami scored 10 points off turnovers to take a 39-29 lead into the break. The Bulldogs failed to score off the 2 turnovers they forced in the first half.

Georgia is back in Baha Mar action at noon on Sunday facing the loser of Friday’s tournament game between Kansas State and Providence.

UGA/Miami MBB StatBroadcast (StatBroadcast/Dawgnation)