ATHENS, Ga.—With over 4,000 Athens-area students, teachers and staff in attendance, the Georgia men’s basketball team picked up its third win of the season beating in-state foe Mercer 58-49 Tuesday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
“Today was important and we needed to win,” said head coach Mark Fox. “We won the game today because we played such a physical schedule early. We had to be sound for 40 minutes to win this game because [Mercer isn’t] making very many mistakes.”
The win snaps Georgia’s three-game losing streak and is the Bulldogs’ 17th in a row over Mercer.
Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia with 17 points and nine rebounds. Freshman guard Charles Mann also contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.
Georgia took a 26-20 lead into halftime largely behind nine first half points from Caldwell-Pope. Both teams combined for nineteen turnovers in the half.
Mercer opened the second half on a 7-0 run to take the lead 27-26, but Georgia responded with a 13-2 run, capped by two three-pointers from senior guard Sherrard Brantley to go up 39-31. Mann increased the Georgia lead to 53-43 with a dunk with just under four minutes remaining
Georgia, which allowed no Mercer player to score in double-figures, held the Bears to just 31 percent shooting from the field (16-of-51) and 23 percent behind the three-point arc (6-of-26).
Mercer center Daniel Coursey led the Bears offensively with nine points.
Georgia will continue its five-game home stand Saturday when it tips with Southern California at 1:30 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.
*With his 17-point performance today, Caldwell-Pope is one of four players in the SEC (who have played in at least half of their team’s games) to score at least 10 points in every game this season. Elston Turner (Texas A&M), Murphy Holloway (Ole Miss) and Johnny O’Bryant (LSU) are the three other players.
*Junior Marcus Thornton and senior John Florveus both returned to the court today after not seeing any action in one and two games, respectively.
*Freshman guard Charles Mann and sophomore forward John Cannon both got the first starts of their careers. Ten different Bulldogs have now started at least a game this season.
*The freshman trio of Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris have combined for 64 points and 29 rebounds in the last three games (34% of scoring; 24% of rebounding).
*After outrebounding Mercer 35 to 25, Georgia has outrebounded opponents in three straight games.
*Though Georgia committed more turnovers than Mercer (15-11), the Bulldogs outscored the Bears off of them 15-2.
*Georgia improved on Saturday’s 20-of-37 free-throw performance to go 13-of-16 from the line today—the best outing of the season (.813).
The Series: Georgia improves to 54-23 in its series with Mercer. The Bulldogs have now won 17 straight dating back to 1959, and haven’t lost to Mercer in Athens since 1952.
Next Up: Georgia will host Southern California on Saturday at 1:30 in Stegeman Coliseum. The Bulldogs are 2-0 all-time against the Trojans, including a 63-59 win last season in Los Angeles.