Dawgs Lose 1st at Home, Fall to Vandy 85-82

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Dawgs Lose 1st at Home, Fall to Vandy 85-82

The University of Georgia Men’s Basketball team was defeated by the Vanderbilt Commodores 85-82 on Saturday afternoon in Stegeman Coliseum, marking the team’s first home loss this season.

The biggest bright spot for the Dawgs was the red-hot shooting of Jabri Abdur-Rahim who had a season-high 21 points to lead all scorers while going 6-9 from beyond the arc. Three other Bulldogs put up double figures in the high scoring affair as Terry Roberts dropped 15, Kario Oquendo had 13, and Braelen Bridges scored 10. 5 players scored 10 or more for the Commodores as Ezra Manjon led the way with 19 points on 8-12 shooting. Myles Stute added an impressive performance for Vanderbilt with his accurate outside shooting, finishing 4-4 from deep and 14 points.





The Dawgs got out to an early 8-5 lead over the first 3:30 of play as they attacked the basket aggressively and converted on resultant layup and free-throw opportunities. Thanks to 3-Pointers from Stute and Paul Lewis, the Commodores then responded with a 10-0 run over a 3-minute stretch to build a lead of 7 points, which proved to be a sufficient margin to maintain their advantage for the remainder of the half. 3-Point shooting emerged as the primary differentiator between the two squads in the first half, as Vanderbilt went into the locker room at halftime boasting an 8-12 performance while Georgia mustered half as many makes in 14 tries. 3 of the Dawgs’ 4 makes came courtesy of Abdur-Rahim, who led all scorers in the first half with 11 points as his confident stroke served to keep his team in the game.





In addition to their lethal 3-Point shooting, the Commodores also did a fantastic job in capitalizing on Georgia’s mistakes. In the first half, Vanderbilt scored 11 points off 6 Bulldog turnovers and finished the game with 23 points off turnovers, of which Georgia had 12. The Commodores’ efficiency on extra possessions made a tremendous difference in both extending their early lead and maintaining their advantage down the stretch.

To start the second half, the Dawgs scored two quick buckets with layups from Oquendo and Roberts to bring the Vanderbilt lead back down to 4 but could not pull any closer as the Commodore advantage fluctuated between 4 and 9 points for the next 6:01 of action. After Stute’s fourth 3-Pointer brought the margin back to 9 points in Vanderbilt’s favor, the Dawgs scored 6 straight with 4 made free-throws to make it a one-possession game with 11:12 on the clock, but as was the case all afternoon, the Commodores had an answer and quelled the Georgia surge. The teams went on to trade 4-point scoring spurts, capped by an electrifying alley-oop from Oquendo to MA Moncrieffe on a fast-break for a booming two-handed dunk. With the deficit down to just 3 points and amidst the Bulldog faithful losing their minds after such a magnificent display of athleticism, the momentum appeared to be swinging in Georgia’s favor before Vanderbilt blew the game open with a 9-0 run in 1:15 to snatch the first double-digit lead of the contest for either team with only 5:46 remaining. Just as all hope appeared to be lost for the Dawgs, the squad mounted a scoring run of their own, scoring 11 straight to bring the margin to just 1 point with 2:47 to play. The penultimate bucket of the run was by far its most exciting, as Roberts scooped up an errant pass from Quentin Millora-Brown and threw a football-style bomb to Oquendo who threw down a vicious posterizing dunk on Millora-Brown who had hustled back in attempt to atone for his mistake. The crowd’s reaction to the highlight dunk surely rivaled the loudest moments in the recent history of Stegeman Coliseum. After scoring the run’s final bucket, Roberts had a chance to give his team the lead with just over a minute left in the game, but the possession resulted in an airball as the shot clock expired following about 20 seconds of isolation dribbling from Roberts outside the 3-Point line. On the ensuing possession, trying to make up for the poor offensive sequence, Roberts gambled for a steal near half court and picked up an unnecessary foul with Vanderbilt already in the double bonus, and the Commodores took advantage of their opportunity at the line to extend their lead to 3. Down by 4 with 13 seconds left, Abdur-Rahim drew a foul on a 3-Point attempt and nailed all 3 free-throws to cut the lead to just 1 with 5.7 seconds to play. After a foul on the inbounds and 2 made Vanderbilt free-throws, Georgia drew up a play for Abdur-Rahim to potentially tie the game with a 3-Pointer, but as Abdur-Rahim said after the game, Vanderbilt did a great job blowing up the play. He was still able to get a shot at the basket, but the Virginia transfer was off balance as he released and couldn’t get the shot to fall.

Watch a fullscreen slideshow HERE.

Georgia’s first home loss was a tough blow for the Dawgs who managed to score 82 points at home in front of their home crowd yet failed to get the job done on the defensive end. In a post-game press conference, coach Mike White said that he was “disappointed for our fans”, for the support of whom he was very thankful as he noted the difference their presence made at key points throughout the game.

The loss on Saturday brings the Dawgs to 13-6 on the season and 3-3 in the conference as they prepare to travel to Knoxville on Wednesday to take on #9 Tennessee in what will likely be their toughest test yet.





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