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Christian Wright buried a 3-pointer during the Bulldogs' comeback effort against Northwestern on Tuesday in New Jersey.

Slow start dooms sick and tired Georgia basketball team in New Jersey

A sick and tired Georgia basketball team could not overcome a slow start on Tuesday, falling 78-62 to Northwestern in Newark, N.J.

UGA coach Tom Crean indicated the Bulldogs were down three players on account of the flu, and point guard Aaron Cook was playing under the weather in the third-place game of the Legends Classic.

“We had a hard time overcoming our own adversity and circumstances,” said Crean, whose Bulldogs slipped to 2-4 with the loss. “We went against two really good teams, two different styles play.

“I would have loved to have a fully healthy team … but there’s a lot of learning lessons.”

The Wildcats (4-1) held a 43-23 lead at intermission, closing the first half on a 14-3 run.

Georgia, led by Braelen Bridges and Kario Oquendo with 12 points each, cut the lead in half over the final 20 minutes but could not get closer than 10.

“Right now, it’s the mental part as much as anything, being able to overcome missing shots,” Crean said. “We showed in the second half what we’re capable of when we let it all go and play physical on defense.”

Cook, a transfer from Gonzaga, had 10 points and 6 assists, playing more than 34 minutes despite not feeling well.

Georgia shot 21-of-55 (38.2 percent) from the floor and was just 5 of 24 (20.8 percent) from three after a 1 of 12 start in the first half at the Prudential Center.

“It’s really hard when you’re missing shots you think you can make,” Crean said. “They started to get their confidence back, and intensity and physicality back in the second half.”

Georgia returns to Athens where it will play host to Wofford at 4 p.m. on Sunday at Stegeman Coliseum.

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