Georgia guard Charles Mann hit a pair of free throws with just 2.5 seconds remaining to lift the Bulldogs over Western Carolina 65-63. Georgia, which is now riding a five-game winningstreak, overcame a ten-point second half deficit to secure its sixth victory of the season.
“I am proud of our team for this: for battling back, digging in and competing. But we have to play more complete than we played,” said head coach Mark Fox.
After Western Carolina’s (6-8) Tom Tankelewicz tied the game at 63 from the free throw line with 20 seconds left, the Bulldogs’ (6-4) Mann drove through the lane and was fouled leading to his game winning free-throws.
With Georgia facing a stiff three game road trip and Coach Fox under increased scrutiny from the Bulldog Nation, the game provided far more drama than expected from a December contest with a lower division foe. However, Western Carolina paired 50% three point shooting with 50% Georgia free throw shooting to take command in the second half. Georgia finally found the range from the charity strip and finished with 63% free throw shooting for the game. The improved free throw shooting down the stretch, including 4 of 4 from Kenny Gaines, led to Mann’s game winner.
Kenny Gaines led Georgia offensively with 17 points. Mann also contributed 13 points. Brandon Morris scored 11, including 7 of 4 on free throws and Nemi Djurasic scored 9 points, including 4 of 6 on free throws.
“I am proud that we competed and we learned a lot today in this game, and I was really proud that we battled back and won the game. But give their team credit–boy they made a lot of plays and I have a lot of respect for that.”
The Catamounts relied on Trey Sumler who had 21 points and five rebounds.
After a brief holiday break, the Bulldogs will travel to Boulder, Colo. to take on No. 20 Colorado (10-1) on Saturday, Dec. 28. Tip-off is 10 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.