The Georgia men’s basketball team returned the hardwood Saturday afternoon as they were defeated 70-60 by the Ole Miss Rebels in front of a sold-out crowd.
Through the first ten minutes of the first half, the scored remained close as both teams traded blows. Freshman standout Anthony Edwards got off to a quick start hitting back-to-back three-pointers in the first four minutes. The Rebels went on an 8-0 run as the Bulldogs hit a lull, and went scoreless for nearly three-and-a-half minutes.
That run was ended with senior Tyree Crump hitting two free throws, and senior Jordan Harris nailing a big 3-pointer that forced Rebels’ head coach Kermit Davis to call a timeout. That 5-0 run pulled the Bulldogs within three as Ole Miss led 21-18 with 7:47 to go in the first half.
At that point, Georgia was shooting just 33.3 percent (6 of 18) from the field, but the Rebels got into foul trouble early giving the Bulldogs a lot of chances from the free-throw line. They took advantage of that opportunity going 7-of-11 (66.3 percent).
Harris was a big impact down the stretch in the first half as he finished with eight points, three rebounds, and one assist. Edwards had eight points, one rebound, and one assist. At the end of the first half, the Rebels led 35-29. Georgia finished the half shooting poorly going 9-of-27 (33.3 percent) compared to Ole Miss going 15-of-27 (55.6 percent).
Georgia’s offensive woes continued to start in the second half as Ole Miss jumped out to an 11 point lead before Harris hit a gigantic 3-pointer with 16:12 left. The Rebels went into a drought as Georgia surged on a 9-0 run led by Harris and freshman Sahvir Wheeler.
At the 13 minute mark, the Rebels led by two, but that lead soon diminished as Edwards knocked down a critical three-pointer with 12:31 left to take the lead. Georgia turned up its defensive intensity in the second half forcing seven turnovers in the first 12 minutes of the second half. The Rebels only had six turnovers in the entire first half.
“Communication was the issue in the first half and we weren’t executing our game plan,” said Edwards. “In the second half we forced a few turnovers, and got close but we couldn’t hit shots in the end.”
The game remained back-and-forth until Ole Miss started to pull away with just under five minutes left. Rebels’ Breein Tyree was a big reason for their success in closing as he had six of his 20 points in that span. Khadim Sy was Ole Miss’ second-leading scorer with 16 points.
Harris was Georgia’s leading scorer finishing with 15 points, followed by Edwards with 13, and Wheeler with 11. Georgia shot just 31 percent from the field hitting only 17-of-55 attempts.
“This loss was tough especially losing at home,” said Harris in his post-game press conference. “I felt like the effort was there, but we didn’t hit a lot of the 50/50 balls. We have to play forty minutes of basketball and we didn’t do that tonight. There were times that our offense couldn’t get a basket tonight, and that obviously showed.”
Bulldogs’ head coach Tom Crean acknowledged his team’s inability to score after the game.
“Bottom line we’re not going to win any game shooting the way we did tonight,” said Crean. “We’ve got to shoot better over the course of forty minutes. We missed layups, open shots, and three’s. We don’t cut enough. The last guy that can get frustrated is me.”
Georgia returns to action next Tuesday at Missouri on January 28th. That game is scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. ET tipoff on the SEC Network.