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MBB: Bulldogs top Morehouse 64-49 in final exhibition
ATHENS, GA. — A double-double from Braelen Bridges led a trio of Bulldogs in double figures to pace Georgia en route to a 64-49 win over Morehouse in an exhibition outing Friday evening at Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia will open regular-season play next Tuesday against Florida International.
In the first home outing for 10 newcomers on the Georgia roster, the Bulldogs methodically built a double-digit lead in the first half and then withstood a rally by the Maroon Tigers that cut the margin to two points before reasserting control.
“It felt great to be back in here with fans on a Friday night before our football team plays,” head coach Tom Crean said. “To have fans come out like that, wow, I thought it was great. We have 10 guys who have never played in this gym before. We’ve only practiced in this gym I think four times, so we have some getting used to that type of stuff.
I love the way our team came out and was aggressive. They were very aggressive. We’ve been struggling with deflections in practice this week, and we had 53 tonight. These guys got after it.”
Bridges was one of four newcomers who led Georgia. The senior from Atlanta finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds and also dished out a team-high four assists. Kario Oquendo chipped in 12 points, and Aaron Cook added 10. Jailyn Ingram hauled in 11 rebounds and matched Bridges’ tally with a quartet of assists.
After the Maroon Tigers jumped out to an 8-5 lead, the Bulldogs seized control with a 9-0 surge. Cook keyed the run with a jumper at the 16:20 mark, followed by a pair of free throws from Jabri Abdur-Rahim, a layup by Bridges and a 3-pointer in transition by Ingram.
Georgia pushed its lead to double digits for the first time on back-to-back layups by Bridges that made it 28-17 with 3:57 left in the period. The Bulldogs extended that margin to a 32-18 on a Jaxon Etter triple prior to halftime. Cook opened the second-half scoring to put Georgia up by 16 points, its largest of the evening.
Morehouse then cut into the margin aided by a quartet of 3-pointers that helped trim the margin to 41-39 with 9:10 left.
“Second half, we did some good things, but we backed off too much defensively,” Crean said. “We played hard, but we gave too much room. They got a little bit hot, but we handled it.”
Bridges scored on Georgia’s next possession, and Abdur-Rahim followed with a breakaway dunk.
The Maroon Tigers never got closer than five points thereafter, and Georgia finished the night on a 10-0 run.
“You don’t want to play, whether it’s at Charlotte or this game here, and walk out with fool’s gold,” Crean said. “You don’t want to walk out of here with an unrealistic view of what you have to get better at. I think Morehouse came out here, and they had an aggressive, attacking, we’re going to get-after-you mindset, which was perfect for us. We have to see that. They’ve read the press clippings like they’re going to come in here and get that win. We have to understand how we can attack. We did not cut well tonight. When the ball is moving, we’re a good team.
When the ball doesn’t move or the next pass isn’t made, we’re not a good team. The shooting, we’re missing three’s that we make. We’re missing free throws that we make. I’m not concerned about that at all. We’ll get that. We have to continue to find rotations of guys. I didn’t get to play as many guys in the second half as I would have liked tonight, but it was really good for everyone to have to go through this. It was a very good two games for us to figure out where we are heading into the regular season.”
The Bulldogs will open regular-season play in four days when they host Florida International at Stegeman Coliseum at 7:00 p.m.
***Courtesy of UGA Sports Communications