Following Jalen Steele’s fourth three-pointer, Georgia’s lead, which had once been 13 points, had evaporated to just a 60-57 advantage with 3:50 remaining in the game.
On the ensuing possession, Donte Williams shot missed, but thankfully for Georgia, Nemanja Djurisic was in position to secure his fifth offensive rebound and finish the stick-back.
Nemi then got fouled by Mississippi State after forcing a steal, and he calmly stepped up to the free throw line and knocked down both shots, putting his team up 64-57 with only 1:38 left.
Georgia was able to secure the victory from this point, walking away from the first round of the SEC tournament with a 71-61 win over Mississippi State (their second of the season).
Neme, who recorded his second 10+ rebounding effort in as many days, finished the game with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
He was one of five Bulldogs to end the game in double-figures with Gerald Robinson, Jr. leading the charge with 23 points. Robinson once again played like an All-SEC guard, despite not receiving any post-season conference accolades.
Georgia found themselves in a bit of a hole in the first half after allowing State to go on an 18-8 run that put them up 23-15 with 7:06 remaining before intermission.
However, the Dawgs responded with a 16-6 run of their own, enabling them to take a 31-29 advantage into the break.
The game was knotted up pretty tight to start the second half until senior Dustin Ware, who was held scoreless in the first half, decided to start contributing in a big-time manner. Ware caught fire from the outside, canning 3 threes and scoring 11 points in less than five minutes, stretching his team’s lead to 49-36 at the 11:53 mark. The senior guard ended up with 13 points on the night.
Defensively, Georgia was able to once again lock Missy State down, limiting them to under 39% from the floor and just 29% from beyond the arc. The Dawgs‘ interior defense was particularly strong, holding Arnette Moultrie and Renardo Sidney to a combined 11 points on 4 of 13 shooting from the floor.
MSU senior guard Dee Bost, who wound up with only 10 points, shot a frigid 2 of 9 from beyond the arc (which marks the 4th game this year his team has lost when he has tossed up 8 or more three-point attempts).
Congratulations to Coach Mark Fox and the Georgia basketball team for putting forth an excellent effort in tonight’s game as well as getting themselves into the second round of the SEC tournament, where they will meet the Vanderbilt Commodores.
Vandy swept the Bulldogs this year for the second consecutive season, largely in part due to the performance of junior All-SEC guard John Jenkins. Jenkins has been somewhat of a Dawg-killer throughout his career, averaging nearly 21 points in games against UGA and enabling Vandy to rack up six-straight wins over Georgia.
If Coach Mark Fox’s team wants to keep the momentum rolling into the weekend then they must find a way to contain the Vandy guard.