ATHENS — Georgia sophomore Toumani Camara scored a team-high 15 points and pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs to a 63-50 win over Montana on Tuesday night.
Georgia improved to 4-0 with the win over the Big Sky Conference Grizzlies at Stegeman Coliseum.
“Tonight was the definition of a grinder,” said UGA coach Tom Crean, who’s in his third year leading the program. “I don’t know if it had to be as much of a grinder on offense, because we missed some shots, and at times and we got our feelings hurt
“But what these guys did, is they kept guarding. We still played hard defensively and hard on the glass.”
Crean said it’s important that Camara, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound Belgium native, continue flexing his muscle in the paint.
“It’s important Toumari rebounds the ball and that he’s aggressive and attacks,” Crean said. “We’re only going to be as good as our team defense and team rebounding, and then we have to get out and run and put pressure on the rim.”
Georgia point guard Sahvir Wheeler, who opened the season with three double-doubles, finished with nine points on 4-of-14 shooting, and five assists with four turnovers.
Crean views it as a learning opportunity for Wheeler.
“He’s gonna be a fine shooter …. don’t worry about your offense,” Crean said. “It’s all about figuring out the game, You can’t get quiet, when you’re an energy source, you have to exude that confidence constantly.
“The other thing we have to get him to understand is he needs to get the ball back a second and third time.”
Andrew Garcia came off the bench for the Bulldogs to score 13 points and pull down five rebounds.
“Andrew is a key guy, and he epitomizes what it takes to win, playing to his strength,” Crean said of the Stony Brook transfer, one of eight newcomers. “He’s playing to a high level, and he makes other people better.”
Georgia returns to action at 7 p.m. against Samford on Saturday.