MBB: Virginia tops Georgia 65-55 in First Game of Legends Classic

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MBB: Virginia tops Georgia 65-55 in First Game of Legends Classic

The UGA Men’s Basketball team was defeated by the Virginia Cavaliers at a final score of 65-55 on Monday night in the first game of the Legends Classic tournament held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Braelen Bridges carried the Dawgs offensively with 14 points on 6-11 shooting while Armaan Franklin led all scorers with 23 for the Cavaliers. Despite Georgia’s considerable 42-29 rebounding advantage and much improved 80% free-throw shooting, the team came up short in large part due to their struggles with handling Virginia’s notorious pack line defense, resulting in a 16-4 turnover discrepancy in favor of UVA.

Georgia came out of the gate looking to attack the basket in the first half, which yielded early success in the form of a 6-2 lead after layups from Bridges, Kario Oquendo, and Aaron Cook. Armaan Franklin, red hot from the opening tip, would contribute 9 points to an ensuing 11-0 UVA scoring run, the largest of the game for either team, which would give the Cavaliers a 13-6 lead with 13:34 remaining in the half. Franklin scored 11 of Virginia’s first 13 points. Back-to-back 3-Pointers from Jaylin Ingram would eventually trim the lead to 1 point with 11:45 to play. Later in the half, a low-post bucket from Bridges to cap off a 6-0 UGA scoring run would give the Dawgs their first lead since the 16-minute mark at a score of 26-25 with 4:28 left in the period. After drawing a foul on a last-second three-quarters court heave, Jaxon Etter would sink 2 of 3 free-throws to give the Dawgs a 34-31 lead heading into halftime.





Sparked by a quick 3-Pointer from Kihei Clark, Virginia opened the second half on a 7-0 scoring run spanning the first four and a half minutes of action, giving the Cavaliers a lead they would maintain for almost half of the period. 6 straight points from UGA highlighted by an emphatic dunk from Tyron McMillan would help the Bulldogs regain the lead for the first time in the second half at a score of 44-42 with 10:39 to go in the contest. Following a 6-0 Virginia scoring run in which they would regain the lead, a fast-break corner 3 from Oquendo would make it a 2-point game with 4:11 left to play. Georgia would be able to pull no closer for the remainder of the game, as back-to-back buckets from Franklin and 8 made Virginia free-throws would allow the team to close out the contest on a 12-4 run and secure the 10-point win.

Offensively, Georgia struggled mightily against the tough defense of Virginia in the second half, shooting just under 26% from the field and 1 of 13 from 3-Point range while turning the ball over 9 times. Additionally, Virginia’s effectiveness in drawing fouls and getting to the free-throw line proved troublesome for the Dawgs, as the momentum of the game shifted when Bridges picked up his 4th personal foul and was forced to sit down with 8 minutes remaining in the second half.

Tyron McMillan was a tremendous bright spot for the Bulldogs on Monday night, scoring 8 points by way of 3 impressive dunks and a pair of free-throws while leading the team in the +/- category in posting a +8 advantage during his 12 minutes. McMillan showed flashes of his potential by using his length and athleticism to be effective down low on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. McMillan’s emergence could be a huge development for the team, as his contributions in backing up starting center Braelen Bridges would allow the Dawgs to always maintain an assertive paint presence.





Monday night’s game was an invaluable experience for the young Georgia team, as playing against a Virginia team infused with championship pedigree this early in the season will be extremely beneficial for their development. The double-digit margin of victory was not indicative of how close the game truly was, as the Georgia squad continues to demonstrate tangible improvement with each game while appearing up to the task of competing with any opponent with which they have been faced.

The loss to Virginia brings the Dawgs to 2-3 on the year as they prepare to face Northwestern on Tuesday evening in the second game of the Legends Classic tournament.





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