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Georgia Beats Ole Miss in Defensive Battle, 69-66

Ryan Cullinane

Sports Communications Graduate Assistant

University of Georgia Athletic Association

The Georgia men’s basketball team beat Ole Miss, 69-66, in a defensive showdown before 6,219 spectators in the home finale inside Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday evening.


Noah Thomasson led the Bulldogs (16-14, 6-11 SEC) in scoring for the fifth time in the past six games with 15 points. Russel Tchewa notched 11 points, 10 rebounds and a personal best five assists, while Dylan James recorded career-bests of 10 points and nine rebounds. Justin Hill and RJ Melendez each contributed 11 and 10 points respectively. Georgia edged Ole Miss (20-10, 7-10 SEC) in paint points by a 36-22 margin, marking the 12th time this season the Bulldogs outscored their opponent in the statistic.


Georgia jumped out to a 14-6 lead after the first seven and a half minutes before the teams’ offenses began to get going. The Bulldogs’ Thomasson and James led their first-half scoring efforts, contributing 12 and eight points respectively, as the team led 35-32 at the halftime break. Georgia opened the half with shooting struggles, going 2-of-8 from the field in the first five minutes but followed up by making eight of its next 10 attempts. The team’s lead got up to eight before the under-eight media timeout after a thunderous dunk from James. The Rebels got within two points with under a minute left after sinking a pair of free throws and knocking down a 3-pointer, but a layup from Russel Tchewa stretched the lead back out to four. The Bulldogs then forced three missed shots on the other end, clinching the team’s win.


Georgia closes out the regular season on Saturday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. against No. 13 Auburn inside Neville Arena. The Tigers previously beat the Bulldogs inside Stegeman Coliseum on Feb. 24 by a 97-76 margin. 


Five Fast Facts

• The trio of Bulldog freshmen (Silas Demary Jr., Blue Cain and Dylan James) marks the first time Georgia has started three or more first-year collegiate players since March 11, 2020, during an 83-61 win over Ole Miss in the first-round of the SEC Tournament (Anthony Edwards, Toumani Camara, Sahvir Wheeler).

• In his first collegiate start, Dylan James entered the game averaging 3.1 points per contest but recorded a new best personal best of 10 points, also contributing a career-high nine boards.

• Georgia’s success inside overcame a below-average performance from beyond the arc, with the Bulldogs shooting only 19 percent from 3-point range. That is the lowest percentage in a victory since shooting 18.2 percent in a 73-64 win over Georgia Southern on Dec. 23, 2019. 

• Graduate Russel Tchewa is the first seven-footer from an SEC team to have five or more assists since 2015. Tchewa’s five assists set a new career high.

• In the only previous coaching matchup between Mike White and Chris Beard, Beard’s Texas Tech team defeated White’s Florida squad, 69-66, in the 2018 NCAA Tournament Second Round. Tonight’s result reversed the score in White’s favor.


Key Quote

Head Coach Mike White: “That was a quality SEC win after going four of 21 from three. I mean, you can win games like that. We haven't won a lot of games like that. Especially against the power five teams, our high major opponents. To win it in that fashion is a really good teaching moment for our guys and for this program moving forward. This was the last time we got a chance to play in front of our fans here at the Steg, it has been a great environment all year."

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