ATHENS — Georgia basketball used a 21-0 second-half run to bounce Northeastern out of Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs (7-0) beat the Huskies (1-4) by a 76-58 count despite not leading until there was 10:15 reamaining on a Toumani Camara baseline jumper that made it 51-50 before the socially distanced capacity crowd of 1,638.
The Georgia lead grew to 57-50 at the end of the 21-0 run before Northeastern finally scored, breaking a string of 17 missed shots that included 7 turnovers.
The victory extends UGA’s best season start since 1982, when those Bulldogs won their first nine games en route to having a Final Four season.
Stony Brook graduate transfer Andrew Garcia came off the bench to score a team-high 15 points and pull down five rebounds for Georgia, also locking down Northeastern star point guard Tyson Walker.
Walker had scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the first half before Coach Tom Crean switched the 6-foot-6 Garcia on him.
“He’s a gritty dude, he attacks, he’s relentless,” Garcia said of Walker. “I always take it to heart no matter who I’m guarding and where it’s at on the floor.”
Crean also used 6-3 wing Tye Fagan on Walker, part of the game plan to wear down the Northeastern star.
Meanwhile Camara, the reigning SEC Player of the Week, heated up in the second half, scoring 12 of his 13 points and pulling down 6 of his team-high 8 rebounds over the final 20 minutes.
Georgia point guard Sahvir Wheeler scored 10 points with two assists, and Virginia Tech transfer PJ Horne had 11 points and 7 rebounds.
“We brought more energy and will in the second half, and that’s what turned it around,” Horne said. “We weren’t playing the way we needed to play.
“You take it possession by possession in a game when you are down by double digits.”
Northeastern led by as many as 15 points in the first half and brought a 45-32 lead into the halftime locker room.
“The bottom line is the defensive really did pick up (in the second half),” UGA coach Tom Crean said. “we had 32 deflections in the second half, we held them to 5-of-30 (shooting) in the second half and we out-scored them 44-13.
“We made strides, and that’s how we’re going to win.”
Georgia returns to action at 7 p.m. on Dec. 30 in its SEC opener against Mississippi State in Stegeman Coliseum.