After a little more than 10 minutes of play on Wednesday night, the Georgia Bulldogs (13-10; 7-4) looked completely lost inside The Hump in Starkville. With 9:54 remaining before the half, Mississippi State held a 22-8 lead, and Georiga had committed 5 turnovers and just 1 field goal.
Ten seconds later, Nemanja Djurisic tossed the ball out of bounds for the team’s 6th turnover, and Dawgs’ coach Mark Fox called a 30-second timeout.
Whatever Fox said to his team during that brief exchange – which appeared heated – worked.
Georgia closed out the final 9 minutes of the first half on a 20-5 run, receiving a spark from reserve freshman Kenny Paul Geno, who scored 6 of points during that stretch. The man with three first names was instrumental in the UGA comeback, and the Dawgs actually took a 28-27 lead into the break after a pair of free throws from Juwan Parker.
Georgia’s onslaught continued into the second half as UGA immediately went on a 13-4 run that put them up 41-31 with 15:19 left in the game, following a layup by Marcus Thornton.
The Dawgs’ offense was clicking on all cylinders at this point, connecting on nearly 74% of their shots from the floor in the final 20 minutes.
UGA pushed its advantage to as high as 23 points following a bucket by Brandon Morris with 1:58 left in the game. The Dawgs won the game 75-55, leaving The Hump with their second SEC road victory of the season.
Georgia’s Charles Mann led all scorers with 19 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists, including a sensational performance from the free throw line, where Mann knocked down 10 of 11 attempts.
While Mann’s effort was sublime, the play of freshman Juwan Parker – who scored a career-high 16 points (14 of which came in the second half) – deserves to be mentioned as well. Parker finished in double-figures for the fourth time this season, and he continues to show flashes of the scoring potential that lies ahead in his career.
The Dawgs won another rebounding battle against the Maroon Dawgs (38-30), making UGA the number one rebounding team in the conference in SEC games this season at just under 40 a night.
Wednesday’s win was absolutely huge for Georgia as it puts them in a tie for third with the Ole Miss Rebels – a team that UGA will host in Athens this Saturday.
A victory over the Rebels would give the Dawgs sole possession of third place in the league as well as a very legitimate shot of ending the season with an above .500 conference record.