Georgia Leaves LA with 63-59 Victory

The Georgia Bulldogs (5-5) did something on Saturday night that they haven’t done this season – they came from behind to win a game (it was the team’s first true road win of the year as well).

After heading into the break tied at 25-25, Southern Cal (4-7) outscored Georgia 22-14 ten minutes into the second half, opening up a 47-39 lead over the Dawgs.  The Bulldogs responded with a 12-4 run of their own, and after a Dustin Ware three-pointer the game was knotted up at 51-51 with just 4:38 remaining.

Kentavious-Caldwell Pope, who scored a career high 21 points on Saturday (as well as leading his team with 5 rebounds), showed a lot of maturity at the end of the game.  Pope committed a costly turnover with just over a minute left that resulted in a USC basket, cutting the Georgia lead to only one point.  On the ensuing possession however, he calming knocked down a huge three from the wing, putting his team up 60-56 with just 43 ticks left on the clock.  KCP also made a pair of clutch free throws with only 19 seconds left, keeping Southern Cal at bay and allowing Georgia to walk away with the 63-59 win.

The game was an overall excellent effort by the UGA basketball team, and it was refreshing to see the Dawgs play with so much heart after a series of underwhelming performances.

The guards carried Georgia on Saturday, combining for 57 of the team’s 63 points.  Pope and Ware both hit 4 three-pointers (Ware was 4-4), and the team finished 9 of 13 on their attempts from beyond the arc.  Defensively, Georgia’s guards were able to limit USC’s leading scorer, Maurice Jones, to just 11 points on 4 of 14 shooting from the floor.

Gerald Robinson, Jr. played one of his better games of the season, netting 17 points and committing merely 1 turnover.

The only negative to take away from the game was that the inside players were again invisible on Saturday night.  Georgia’s bigs combined for just 6 points, and they were outrebounded by a tally of 35-23.  UGA was almost nonexistent on the offensive glass, where they finished with only 3 boards.

I was happy to see Coach Mark Fox keep KCP and GR2 on the floor for nearly the entire game, playing his guards for 39 minutes and 36 minutes, respectively.

This game ended Georgia’s four-game losing streak, and it gave them their first true road victory of the season (as well as their first win over a Pac-12 opponent this year).

The Dawgs have four home games over the holiday break, and an opportunity to bolster their record to 9-5 heading into conference play.

After watching last night’s win, I’m thinking that this team may steal a few SEC games that they are not supposed to this season.