Georgia Opens Home SEC Play With 82-63 Win Over Vanderbilt
SOURCE: UGA SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS
The University of Georgia men’s basketball team beat the Vanderbilt Commodores 82-63 on Wednesday night in the SEC home opener at Stegeman Coliseum.
Sophomore Rayshaun Hammonds was the lead scorer of the night accumulating 19 points. Senior Derek Ogbeide (15) and sophomore Teshaun Hightower (11) posted impressive point totals as well. The SEC leader in rebounds and blocks, sophomore Nicolas Claxton, posted his seventh double-digit boards game (12) of the season, while tallying five blocks.
“The last thing I wanted was a group of guys not confident,” said Georgia head coach Tom Crean. “That was going to be the key especially after Saturday’s game. We needed to look at the film, and it needed to pierce guys a little bit. This is not the character or mentality that we want to play with. We came out in practice to build confidence, and they did that. What I was proud of was that we didn’t take any trips off on the defensive end. We got beat on the dribble a couple times, but to hold this team to 24 percent from three, 33 percent overall, and get thirty-nine deflections, that’s good defense. That’s the maturity that we have to have.”
Georgia (9-5, 1-1) started the night with a jam from Ogbeide to put the Bulldogs on the board. Both teams exchanged baskets in the first five minutes but Georgia maintained the lead. A pair of free throws from Claxon brought Georgia into double-digits, 10-6, at 14:51.
Both teams traded baskets, with Vanderbilt (9-5, 0-2) taking the lead at 12:25. The back and forth continued until the two-minute mark when a three from freshman Ignas Sargiunas inked the Georgia lead at 33-31. Claxton added a free throw and the Commodores sank two of their own to head into the half trailing Georgia 34-33.
Within 15 seconds of coming back to the court, Hammond sunk a three to bring the score to 37-33. Vanderbilt answered with back-to-back scores to notch the game, before Ogbeide recaptured the lead. The Commodores tied it again at 39-all for the eighth and final time of the game. Again, Ogbeide layup brought Georgia over the tie margin, which ultimately didn’t change for the rest of the game.
Two free throws from Hammonds ignited a 12-0 run comprised of four Bulldogs to build the Georgia lead to 74-57 with 4:08 left to play. Crump added two free throws to notch the largest lead of the night of 21 points at 81-61 with less than a minute left. The Commodores finished off the scoring with two free throws in the last 30 seconds as Georgia sealed its home conference opener 82-63.
The Bulldogs travel to take on the Auburn Tigers Saturday, January 12 at 4 p.m. on ESPN2.