Kario Oquendo heats up too late, Georgia rally falls short at Wake Forest

Kario Oquendo (#3), shown in this file photo. heated up late at Wake Forest, but it was too little too late for the Bulldogs Photo By Austin Perryman
Austin Perryman

Georgia staged a furious rally at Wake Forest, but the Bulldogs had dug too deep a hole to pull out a win.

It likely sounds all too familiar for UGA basketball fans, but this team filled with nine newcomers displays a gritty nature and can score in explosive spurts.

Georgia (1-1) fell to the Demon Deacons (2-0) in Winston-Salem, N.C., by an 81-71 count on Friday night, but not before the Mike White-coached team showed some promise.

Georgia boxscore at Wake Forest
StatBroad, Dawgnation

The Bulldogs used a 15-2 lead cut a Wake Forest lead to 71-62 with 2:07 left, Justin Hill capping the run with a conventional three-point play.

Wake Forest was too well-coached, however, with Steve Forbes showing why he was on UGA’s coaching radar in winning his 17th-straight non-conference home games dating back to last year’s 25-win season.

White took the good with the bad during his late Friday night Zoom press conference, sounding very much like the SEC veteran coach he is as he enters his eighth year in the league after coming over from Florida.

“Thank goodness we ended on a positive note, but it’s a loss you are not happy about,” White said. “Our guys played really, really hard for the better part of 40 minutes, but especially the last 15 minutes or so.

“We created some turnovers, got into the open floor, and made it interesting for a little bit.”

RELATED: Georgia counts on Kario Oquendo to lead team at Wake Forest

Terry Roberts and Mardre McBride scored 13 points apiece to lead Georgia, while Kario Oquendo scored 10 of his 12 points in the final 6 1/2 minutes.

“We don’t have much offensive swagger now .... we need more confidence, swagger and poise,” White said, “And to be playing with more detail.”

Wake Forest also held a 39-34 rebounding advantage as UGA played without 6-foot-8 starting forward Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe, who injured his ankle in the first half of Georgia’s season-opening win over Western Carolina on Monday night.

The Demon Deacons led by as many as 23 points Friday before the Bulldogs’ shooting heated up — 53 percent in the second half, including 50 percent from beyond the 3-point arc — and White applied a 2-2-1 press to throw Wake Forest off balance.

“Mike White has to be impressed with the effort and the way his team has approached this second half,” said ACC Network analyst Cory Alexander, a former NBA first-round pick from Virginia.

“The lead ballooned to 23 at one point, and the full-court pressure was something Mike White used to get some energy and get things going offensively.”

Georgia struggled in the first half, trailing Wake Forest 41-22 at intermission after making just 9 of 30 shots — 2 of 15 beyond the arc and 2 of 6 from the free-throw line.

Oquendo was just 1-of-5 with four turnovers through the first 20 minutes, while Hill was 1-of-6 shooting and 1-of-4 from 3-point range in the first half.

Georgia had gotten off to a good start, leading 8-7 on a Braelen Bridges’ hook shot at the 16:40 mark.

But Wake Forest proved the more drilled and skilled team, answering with a 9-0 run as the Bulldogs couldn’t get closer than four points the remainder of the half.

Georgia returns to action at 7 p.m. on Monday night against Miami, Ohio, in Stegeman Coliseum.

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