Athens, GA - Junior Jeremy Price scored a game-high 20 points – just two shy of his career-high – including a personal 8-0 run down the stretch to lead the Georgia men’s basketball team to a 72-70 come-from-behind win over Mississippi Valley State Friday evening inside historic Stegeman Coliseum.
Price scored eight straight points over a span of 48 seconds to take the Bulldogs from down seven to up one with 2:23 to play. Georgia then took the lead for good on a lay-up from Travis Leslie with 53 seconds remaining, holding on for the victory in front of 6,728 in the season opener to jump to 1-0. The visiting Delta Devils fall to 0-1.
“I thought we really got outplayed tonight,” said head coach Mark Fox. “I was really disappointed with how we rebounded the ball and how we defended the three. I have to give Mississippi Valley State credit. They made a lot of shots from the three-point line that were contested and when they got hot, that really carried their team. Fortunately we made enough big plays late in the game to get a win, but this was a good game for our team from a learning standpoint.”
The Delta Devils shot 70 percent from three in the first half on a 7-for-10 clip to take a narrow 37-36 into the break. The lead ballooned to seven, at 56-49, with 8:30 left on the clock after a pair of free throws from Terrence Joyner before the Bulldogs began to chip away. When MVSU regained the seven-point lead, 66-59, with 3:35 left on a Joyner trey, it was time for Price to kick off his run.
The center out of Decatur, Ga., converted on a lay-up with 3:11 left to cut the deficit to five and was fouled on the play. He sank the free throw to complete the old-fashioned three-point play, picked up a steal on the next possession and finished it with a lay-up to chop the Delta Devil lead to just two, 66-64, with just under three to go. Joyner was called for a foul on the basket and Price was good from the stripe again to make it a one-point game. Price completed his outpouring with a jumper next time down to give Georgia its first lead, 67-66, since 2:16 left in the first half.
Darian Donald would hit a jumper to give the lead back to the visitors, but Gerald Robinson made a free throw to tie it at 68 with 1:36 left. From there, Leslie put home the lay-up and Robinson made another from the line as Georgia guarded the three-point edge, 71-68, with 23 seconds on the clock. Orlando Smith sank two from the stripe for the Devils to cut it to one with 10 ticks to go but a Ware free throw down the other end sealed it for the Bulldogs, who came away with the 72-70 thriller in the first game of the 2010-11 campaign.
Behind Price’s 20-point outing, Robinson and Leslie tacked on 19 and 16 points, respectively, while Dustin Ware chipped in eight to go along with his game-best four dishes. Leslie grabbed 11 rebounds to lead all players.
MVSU was led by a 16-point outing from D’Angelo Jackson, followed by 12 for Kevin Burwell.
Tonight was only the second ever meeting between these teams in their histories. Georgia won the first, 98-57, back in 2008 in the NIT Season Tipoff in Athens. The Bulldogs tonight improve to 9-0 versus SWAC opponents.
Next up for the Bulldogs is Tuesday night’s clash with Colorado, which will be televised on Fox Sports Net. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. inside Stegeman Coliseum.