MBB: Georgia Defeats FIU 58-51

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MBB: Georgia Defeats FIU 58-51

The University of Georgia hosted their first regular season game on Tuesday night in Stegman Coliseum against Florida International University, besting the Panthers in a 58-51 victory.

Aaron Cook controlled every facet of the game for the Dawgs, leading the team in both points and assists with 10 and 8, respectively, while Tevin Brewer notched 14 points as the high scorer for FIU.

During a post-game press conference, head coach Tom Crean complemented his players, saying that he “thought [his] guys did a really, really good job of having tremendous intensity throughout the game,” which especially manifested itself in the second half through a palpable uptick in defensive energy. Aaron Cook commented further on the change in energy during his interview, adding that the “defensive energy got us going on offense,” which reversed the entire momentum of the game and ultimately propelled Georgia to erase a 5-point halftime deficit to secure the win.





FIU came out hot to begin the game as Tevin Brewer and Isaiah Banks each sunk 3-Point shots on consecutive possessions to give the Panthers an early 6-2 lead after only 1:07 of action. The fiery start evolved into a 7-point lead, their largest of the evening, at a score of 11-4 entering the second media timeout with 12:26 remaining in the half. The team would continue this shooting trend for the remainder of the period, finishing the first half with 7 made 3-Pointers at a 44% clip. Braelen Bridges paced the Dawgs in the first half, contributing 6 points while making efficient use of his post touches.





After some halftime defensive adjustments made by the coaching staff, the Georgia defense did a phenomenal job staying home on perimeter shooters and contesting outside shots, which translated to an 18% second-half 3-Point shooting performance from FIU on 2-11 shooting. Offensively, an impressive 12-point scoring run from the Bulldogs spanning 4:46 brought the team back from a 4-point deficit to lead the Panthers by 8 at a score of 50-42 with 5:20 remaining in the contest. After seeing their lead dwindle to just 3 with 3:17 to play, the Georgia offense responded yet again with another scoring run of 7 points, highlighted by an electrifying double-clutch reverse layup from Kario Oquendo with 34 seconds left, eliciting the loudest reaction of the evening from the energized crowd of Georgia fans.

The Bulldogs continued their dominance on the glass from Friday night against FIU, posting a +10 rebounding margin and adding 17 offensive rebounds which led to a 17-2 advantage in terms of second-chance points. Georgia also used the charity stripe to their overwhelming advantage all night, sinking 15 of 21 free throws while FIU converted on only 2 of 4 attempts.

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Full of fresh faces, this Georgia roster is working diligently with one another in the early part of the season to establish chemistry and an offensive identity, with which coach Crean stated the team is “making progress every day.”

The victory on Tuesday night in front of their home crowd gives the Dawgs a 1-0 start to the season. The team now prepares to travel to Ohio to face a tough Cincinnati team on Saturday, November 13th in what will be their first road test.





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