Friday evening, the Georgia Men’s basketball team lost its third straight game to arch rival Georgia Tech 80 – 71 before a sellout crowd in the Stegman Coliseum on the University of Georgia campus. It was the second straight home loss to the Jackets.
Charles Mann scored a career-high 24 points and sophomore Kenny Gaines contributed 13 points. The trio of Gaines, freshman Juwan Parker and junior Marcus Thornton led the Bulldogs (1-1) with six rebounds.
“It was a difficult defeat,” said head coach Mark Fox. “Tech’s team outplayed us. The last two minutes of the half—turnover, basket, another bad play to end the first half, and then a very poor start to the second half separated them from us. We played even the other 35 minutes of the game, but we have to understand that bad possessions are so costly in high-level games. We have 29 more [games], there’s a lot to learn from this one, but it’s certainly no fun to lose.”
The contests drama followed a classic storyline. The winner was dominant in the paint, shot well from the free throw line, and outscored the opponent to end the first half and open the second half. Enter Tech leading man, Daniel Miller.
Daniel Miller led the way for the Yellow Jackets with 14 points and 13 rebounds, and made 2 of 3 free throws in 34 minutes of play. In the critical moments before and after halftime, Miller scored 4 of Tech’s 6 points on two dunks. Many Bulldog fans assumed the former Georgia signee and grandson of Georgia track legend Spec Towns would not be missed when he was granted a release to play at Georgia Tech. Unfortunately for Georgia, he will not be missed 5 years late.
Georgia Tech (3-0) grabbed an early 27-22 lead but Georgia fought back with an 11-3 run to go up 33-30 with four minutes to play. After a Georgia Tech timeout, the Yellow Jackets responded with a 13-5 run to end the half and take a 43-38 lead into the locker rooms.
In the first three minutes of the second half, Georgia went cold from the field and Georgia Tech took advantage, using three-pointers on two consecutive possessions to take a 55-40 lead.
Five straight points from Kenny Gaines cut the Tech advantage to just nine points, but the Yellow Jackets regained momentum with an offensive rebound and tip-in by Daniel Miller on the next possession. Georgia Tech led by double-figures the rest of the way until a basket by junior Nemanja Djurisic in the final seconds of the game.
Georgia will return to action next week in the Old Spice Charleston Classic, facing Davidson (0-2) in the first round on Thursday at 5:00pm. It will be televised on ESPNU.
Notes: Georgia’s starting lineup was Charles Mann (10th), Kenny Gaines (2nd), Cameron Forte (1st), Donte’ Williams (33rd) and Nemanja Djurisic (10th). Eleven different Bulldogs played and nine different Bulldogs scored in tonight’s game.
Georgia will travel to Charleston for the Old Spice Charleston Classic next week. On Thursday, the Bulldogs will play Davidson. Depending on the outcome, they’ll face either Clemson of Temple Thursday, before facing New Mexico, UAB, UMass or Nebraska. Georgia is 1-3 all-time versus Davidson, though hasn’t played the Wildcats since the 1970-71 season.