In last Saturday’s win at home against Tennessee, Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann combined for 11 turnovers.
Tonight in College Station it was pretty clear that UGA’s veteran duo was looking to make amends. In a critical possession late in the game with Georgia leading by 4, Mann made a heady fake that drew Gaines’s defender towards the top of the key, leaving Kenny wide open in the corner. Mann found Gaines, who promptly buried the three-pointer, sealing the UGA victory.
Gaines, who hadn’t finished in double-figures in three games, led all Georgia scorers with 15 points. Mann chipped in 14 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, and maybe most importantly – zero turnovers. Charles Mann has not lived up to preseason expectations so far this year, but his play tonight helped to carry his team to a win.
After coughing the ball up 20 times to the Vols in Athens, Georgia committed just 7 turnovers against the Aggies, who gave it away 13 times themselves.
The Dawgs began the game shooting it well from beyond the arc, hitting 4 of their first 9 three-pointers. However, over the next 30 minutes UGA would hit only 2 of 15 from the perimeter, and were it not for the improved ball security and a 75% mark from the line, the outcome of this contest may have been different.
The Aggies were led offensively by Alex Caruso and Daniel House, who scored 20 and 14, respectively.
Georgia showed an incredible amount of poise down the stretch in this game. Things were looking bleak for the Dawgs when A&M tied the game at 43-apiece on a bucket by Caruso with 10:13 left – Kenny Gaines was on the bench with 4 fouls and the Aggies were already in the bonus. But Georgia showed a lot of composure, going on an 8-0 run that found them with a 51-43 lead following a layup by Cam Forte with 6:46 left.
Tonight’s win was huge for Georgia, lifting their SEC record to 7-4 and 16-7 overall. The Dawgs are fourth in the league standings (for now), and they will take on Auburn this Saturday inside Stegeman Coliseum.
Speaking to a courtside reporter after the final horn, an utterly hoarse Mark Fox, who spent nearly the entire second half hollering at the officials, could barely muster, “We just defended. We defended and made our free throws.”
CMF deserves a tall glass of water after this one.