CHARLESTON, S.C.—Temple’s Will Cummings hit a three-pointer with just seven seconds remaining to spoil Georgia’s second-half comeback and beat the Bulldogs 83-81 Friday night at the Charleston Classic.
Georgia (1-2) fought back to overcome a 13-point halftime deficit and tie the game at 71 off of a Nemi Djurisic three-pointer with four minutes remaining. With 18 ticks left on the clock and Georgia trailing 80-79, Charles Mann drove through the lane and laid it in through traffic to give the Bulldogs a one-point lead. After the Cummings three-pointer gave Temple (2-3) back the lead, Georgia’s Donte’ Williams fired an unsuccessful three-point shot as time expired on the game’s final play.
“We did compete really hard in the second half,” said head coach Mark Fox. “But we dug such a hole in the first half and then got the lead, couldn’t get the last stop and then didn’t execute the last play well. We just do not defend with the sense of urgency that we need to until we’re deep in a hole. [In the second half], we rolled our sleeves up and played like we’ve always played defense, but I was extremely disappointed with the first half.”
In the first half’s opening seven minutes, six different Bulldogs scored to help Georgia to a 15-5 lead, but Temple put together a 16-2 run to neutralize the early Georgia surge and give the Owls a 21-17 lead halfway through the opening frame. The Owls used another 15-3 run, supported by six-for-seven shooting from the field, to grab a 45-32 halftime advantage.
Georgia was led offensively by Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann who scored 21 and 19 points, respectively. Marcus Thornton and Nemanja Djurisic also each contributed ten points.
Temple was led by Dalton Pepper, who scored a career-high 22 points, including five-for-nine from behind the three-point line.
In the second half, Georgia shot nearly 60 percent and held the Owls to 35 percent shooting from the field. The Bulldogs also shot a season-best 22-for-26 from the free throw line.
After a rest day on Saturday, Georgia will return to action to take on Nebraska (3-2) on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. The game can be seen on ESPN3.com.
Georgia vs. Temple Game Notes
• Georgia's starting lineup was Charles Mann (12th career start), Kenny Gaines (4th), Cameron Forte (3rd), Marcus Thornton (30th) and Donte' Williams (63rd).
• Sophomore forward Brandon Morris scored eight points in sixteen minutes during his season debut on Friday night.
• Tonight marks the second time in as many games that Georgia has had four players in doubles figures (Gaines-21; Mann-19; Djurisic-10; Thornton-10). Prior to last night, Georgia hadn’t had four double-digit scorers since it’s 81-78 loss to Iona on Dec. 15, 2012.
• The Bulldogs shot a season best 85 percent from the free throw line.
• Marcus Thornton tied a career-high with ten points (10 vs. Arkansas in 2012)
• Kenny Gaines set a career-high with 21 points (13 in three games)
The Series: Georgia falls to 1-2 all-time versus Temple.
Up Next: Georgia will square off with Nebraska on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. It can be seen on ESPN3.com.