Georgia out-shot Vanderbilt, out-rebounded the Commodores and connected on 46 percent of its 3-point attempts. And thanks to 21 turnovers by the Bulldogs, Georgia had to hold on for an 73-70 win over the visiting Commodores.
The Bulldogs were led by sophomore point guard Sahvir Wheeler, as he finished with 16 points and a game-high 9 assists for the Bulldogs. The Commodores were doubling Wheeler down the stretch as a way to get the ball out of his hands. He was one of four Bulldogs to finish in double-figures.
Georgia never trailed in the second half, but it was never able to stake itself to a comfortable lead thanks to the consistent turnovers. Georgia also struggled to contain Vanderbilt’s Dylan Disu, who led Vanderbilt with 15 points and 6 rebounds.
A 14-2 run to just before the end the first half helped propel Georgia to a 44-37 halftime lead. The Bulldogs shot 65 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes. However, 10 first-half turnovers helped keep Vanderbilt in the game. Horne led the way for Georgia, scoring 11 of his 14 points in the first half.
“A lot of it I feel was self-inflicted,” Horne said with regards to the sloppy play.
Georgia never led by more than seven in the second half, with Vanderbilt tying the game on multiple occasions. After a Wheeler-assisted bucket by Jaxon Etter gave Georgia a 68-62 lead, Vanderbilt hit back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game.
After two free throws from Georgia’s Toumani Camara, the Commodores got a layup from Scotty Pippen Jr. to tie the game at 70. Georgia kept Pippen Jr. mostly in check, as he finished with just 12 points, compared to his average of 21.7.
Camara then hit one of two free throws to give Georgia a 71-70 lead. The Georgia sophomore made the play of the game, blocking a Pippen lay-up attempt, securing the rebound and then finding Justin Kier to add two more free throws for the Bulldogs.
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) February 7, 2021
“It was a tremendous block on one of the best guys in the league in drawing fouls,” Georgia coach Tom Crean said. “He went straight-up, got great verticality on the block and then saved it. It was huge.”
Vanderbilt’s final heave fell short, giving the Bulldogs their third-straight SEC win. That is the first time the Bulldogs have accomplished the feat under Tom Crean.
“I think it’s huge. I think prognosticators picked us to finish 13th to start the year. It’s hard to win,” Crean said. “It’s tough all the way around. You’re thankful you get those opportunities.”
Georgia is now 12-6 on the season and 5-6 in league play. Vanderbilt falls to 5-9 and 1-7 in SEC games.
The Bulldogs shot 59 percent from the field and outrebounded Vanderbilt 31-23. But Georgia had 21 turnovers to Vanderbilt’s 13. The Commodores also held a 29-10 edge in points off turnovers as well.
Georgia’s next scheduled game is set for Wednesday against Texas A&M. The Aggies have had their two previous games due to COVID-19.