The Georgia Bulldogs won their first SEC game of the season 82-63 in a hard-fought battle against Vanderbilt in Stegeman Coliseum.
Although last night was not Georgia’s most flawless performance, Rayshaun Hammonds played his best half yet. A sophomore from Norcross, Hammonds scored all of his 19 points in the second half of the game. In the last twenty minutes, he also had five out of his six rebounds.
When asked what was working for him in the second half, Hammonds said, “My teammates and the coaching staff always keeping positive vibes. They were telling me to keep my head in the game, let it come to me and don’t rush it.”
Georgia finished strong with five three-pointers in the last 11 minutes of the game. Tyree Crump and Turtle Jackson alternated jumpers while Hammonds sunk the final three-point basket. It was an ending that almost no fan expected.
In the first half of the game, it looked as if the Bulldogs had forgotten how to shoot from behind the arc. Their three-point percentage fluctuated between .1 and .2 for the majority of the time with it finally settling at worrisome .167. In the second half, they managed to go 7-14 raising their final percentage to .346.
After coming off a loss to their first SEC opponent of the season, Tennessee, the spirited crowd made an impact of the players. The 6:30 pm Wednesday night game brought 9,429 fans, including approximately 2,700 students, out of their homes and into the Coliseum. Interest in head coach Tom Crean’s plans for Georgia caused seven previous games to sell out. That is most sellouts since nine games were sold out during the 2002-2003 season.
“That’s just phenomenal, and I can’t thank them (the fans) enough,” said Crean. “They made a difference. They were excited. There was a buzz in here and it was great.”
The Bulldogs are now 9-5 overall and 1-1 against conference opponents. Both of their records will be tested when the team travels to Auburn to take on the Tigers on this Saturday, January 12.