Georgia basketball wrestled NCAA Tournament team Providence for 40 minutes but could not land a knockout blow in a 71-64 loss on Sunday.

The Bulldogs (2-3) went toe-to-toe with the Friars (4-1), who are regular competitors in March Madness. UGA fell behind for good with 3:17 remaining in a back-and-forth battle that saw 14 lead changes.

Leading scorer Noah Thomasson nailed a floater to take Georgia’s final lead, a 58-57 advantage, at the 4:08 mark. The Friars responded with consecutive 3-pointers to secure the lead it took to the final buzzer.

The Bulldogs continued to apply pressure through the final minutes. Thomasson led the Bulldogs back within a single possession and had a chance to tie the game at the free throw line with 48 seconds remaining.

Thomasson could only pull UGA within one point, though, and the Bulldogs failed to score again. The Friars sealed the win from the free throw line, where they shot 12 of 14 on the day.

“That’s as hard as this Georgia team has played this season,” UGA coach Mike White said. “I loved our effort, just struggled to score down the stretch. They just collected consecutive stops down there when they needed to.”

Thomasson put together another impressive offensive performance despite the slow finish. The Niagara transfer totaled 19 points, 5 rebounds and an assist in the loss.

Thomasson’s 21-point outburst against Wake Forest on Nov. 10 is the highest scoring total by a Bulldog this season.

UGA finished 0-2 in the Baha Mar Hoops Championship in Nassau after falling 79-68 to No. 12 Miami on Friday.

Indeed, the Bulldogs have seen an abnormal amount of high major competition for the first five games of a schedule. Georgia’s three losses have all come at the hands of 2023 NCAA Tournament teams.

“I reminded them that we’re ... the only Power 5 team that has played four high major teams already, and it’s part of it,” White said. “Nobody wants to be 2-3.

“Being 2-3, we could easily be better right now if we were at home playing five (low to mid major teams), and could be 5-0 and not as good.”

Georgia claimed a slim, 34-32 halftime lead over Providence to finish a first half with nine lead changes. The Friars had gained a 30-25 lead entering the final stretch of the half.

That was when Thomasson sparked Georgia’s best scoring run of the half. The physical, 6-4 scoring guard cashed a layup at the 3:05 mark.

Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Jalen Deloach and RJ Melendez all added points, and the Bulldogs finished the half on a dominant 9-2 run.

Georgia is back in action playing host to Winthrop at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Georgia/Providence StatBroadcast MBB (StatBroadcast/Dawgnation)