ATHENS — Georgia found its long-range shooting touch and pinned its ears back on defense, and the rest took care of itself against Ole Miss on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs (10-6, 3-6 SEC) scored a 71-61 win over the Rebels (8-8, 3-6) at Stegeman Coliseum
Sahvir Wheeler led UGA with 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting and had 5 assists, and Tye Fagan added 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
“When we shoot the ball pretty well a lot of things open up for us as far as our driving,” Wheeler said. “You see when we make the 3, the bench goes crazy … and that builds our team energy.”
Georgia was 9-of-18 shooting beyond the 3-point line and hit 55.3 percent from the floor (26-47).
Virginia Tech transfer P.J. Horne broke out of his shooting slump and contributed on the boards as well, scoring 8 points (2-3 on 3-pointers) with 5 rebounds and two steals.
Horne had missed his previous 14 shots from 3-point range over the last three games.
Georgia post player Toumani Camara had 10 points and led the Bulldogs with 8 rebounds.
“I think we have a lot to learn still, but great things are in the future for us … there’s a bright future,” said the 6-foot-8 Camara, whose defensive presence is always key on a Bulldogs team that lacks height.
“Since we are a very small-sized team, we have to find adjustments. It’s just a matter of time, and we’re getting better every time.”
The Bulldogs’ hot-shooting helped UGA overcome a 40-30 rebounding deficit against the Rebels.
Wheeler was an uncharacteristic 3-of-11 from the free-throw line, but he skillfully navigated Ole Miss’ trademark 1-3-1 zone.
“There’s a reason Georgia leads the league in assists,” SEC Network analyst Pat Bradley said. “They know how to move the ball.”
Daymeon Fishback credited Wheeler with that.
“Sahvir Wheeler is the definition of a quality point quarter that doesn’t get rattled,” Fishback said. “He’s not going to allow you to position him into a panic mode.”
Ole Miss, meanwhile, struggled from the floor (23-of-64, 35.9 percent) and beyond the 3-point line (2-13).
“The fact they shot 36 percent and 15 percent from three, that’s the story of the game, because of the way our defense played,” Georgia coach Tom Crean said.
“They came locked in to guard.”
The Bulldogs beat the Rebels in Oxford, 78-74, on Jan. 16 this season.
The Bulldogs return to action at 7 p.m. next Tuesday at Auburn. The Tigers (10-8, 4-5) lost at No. 2 Baylor on Saturday, 84-72.