ATHENS — It took Georgia a few minutes to settle in during the first half, but once the Bulldogs did, there was little Ole Miss could do to stop them in Georgia’s 71-60 win on Wednesday night.
After a short hook shot down low from Derek Ogbeide in the Bulldogs’ opening possession, Georgia suffered through a scoring drought that lasted for more than four minutes. But Georgia came back out of an official timeout right before the 13-minute mark to go on a 7-0 run to gain a 17-11 lead.
But another bought of scoreless offense for a little more than three minutes allowed Ole Miss to stretch out a run of its own, closing to within 1 at 25-24 with a 9-0 run.
Georgia found a little separation with a dunk followed by an offensive put back on the next possession from Yante Maten good enough to send the Bulldogs into the locker room for the halftime break with a 39-31 lead.
With a secured lead, Georgia merely had to hold on to it. And that it did.
Georgia established its first double-digits lead of the game when freshman Nicolas Claxton was fouled on a turnaround jumper in the lane. The freshman hit his free throw to give Georgia the 48-38 lead, a lead the Bulldogs did not relinquish.
A few clutch 3-pointers from Juwan Parker allowed the Bulldogs to settle in with less than five minutes remaining in the game.
Three who mattered
Jordan Harris: As one of the first Bulldogs off the bench in the opening minutes of the first half, Harris connected with every shot he took in the half. This stint included Harris going 4-for-4 with 10 points. Harris finished with 12 points.
Breein Tyree: The Ole Miss guard was a force both outside the arch and inside in the paint, finishing with 17 points.
Parker: With an established lead with a little more than five minutes remaining in the game, Parker stepped back on consecutive trips down the floor for Georgia capitalizing on a relaxed Ole Miss defense to hit two 3-pointers from a step behind the arch. Despite a cold first half, the senior finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
While not the most excited play of the game, and definitely not the loudest moment in Stegeman Coliseum, Georgia turned the momentum right before halftime as Harris picked up his 10th point of the night on a 3 from the corner. That was sandwiched between dunks from E’Torrion Wilridge and Maten to give the Bulldogs a spark.
Strong down low: Georgia didn’t necessarily dominate down low, but it did enough to make a difference. At the end of the first half, 18 of the Bulldogs’ points came from down low, while Ole Miss had only five. By the end of the game, Georgia had added another 10 points to its total in the paint.
Focused on defense: Georgia held Ole Miss to 6-of-26 shooting from behind the 3-point line. Head coach Mark Fox said Ole Miss usually has more than 10 3-pointers per game and that it was important for the Bulldogs’ defense to take that away.
They said it
Fox on the team’s 36 bench points: “I didn’t think we got it to Yante enough in the second half … but that is why you have a team. I thought that our bench was really good to us (Wednesday). Juwan and Jordan came in, which were both terrific. It can’t always be just Yante, and so it’s good to play well and win a game when he doesn’t have to do all the work.”
Fox on the Bulldogs being outrebounded 42-41: “You have to box your man out. You can’t just turn and run under the goal because the only one you are going to get in that situation is the one that comes through the net, so I didn’t think we had very good block-outs. We have been a good rebounding team this year and for many years. (On Wednesday), we were not.”
Maten on Parker: “[A double-double from Parker] helps us a lot because it draws attention away from the bigs. You know, Derek had a really good night, too, and I think a lot of what Juwan did during the game was coming from Derek and his presence in the post. He found the crevice in their defense and capitalized on it.”
Parker on holding Ole Miss to 6-of-26 from the 3-point line: “That was a part of the game plan. We knew that they were a great 3-point shooting team coming out and knew that was one of their main weapons. We worked all week on trying to take that away.”
Georgia continues in SEC play at noon on Saturday when it hosts Alabama.