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Georgia Completes Second Half Comeback, Defeats Missouri in SEC Tournament First Round


Armando Yanez 

Sports Communications Graduate Assistant 

University of Georgia Athletic Association 


Despite trailing through most of the second half, the Georgia men’s basketball team never backed down as it capped off the night with a 12-0 run to come back and defeat Missouri, 64-59, in the Southeastern Conference Tournament first round at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday.

 

The victory earns the Bulldogs (17-15, 6-12 SEC) their first conference tournament round win since 2020, where they defeated Ole Miss 81-63 in the first round. Blue Cain led the Bulldogs with a new career-high 19 points powered by five 3-pointers on the night along with five rebounds and four steals. Justin Hill followed right behind in the scoring effort with 17 points, with 10 coming in the first half. Noah Thomasson and RJ Melendez contributed 10 points each while Russel Tchewa led the Bulldogs on the glass with six boards and five points.

 

Despite both teams having early shooting struggles at the start, the Bulldogs found their stroke as they knocked down five three pointers in the first 10 minutes, building a 19-9 lead at the under-8 media timeout. Georgia used good shooting and second chance opportunities to maintain a strong lead deep into the half, but Missouri (8-24, 0-18 SEC) sparked momentum late with a 7-0 run to cut the deficit and trail 31-30 heading into the locker room.

 

Heading into the second half, the Tigers opened the period with a 13-4 run to lead 43-35. The Bulldogs battled back, cutting the deficit to 53-52 thanks to three 3-pointers in a row from Cain. Trailing by seven with just over three minutes to go, Georgia flipped a switch and sparked what became a 12-0 run highlighted by a Hill 3-pointer to regain the lead at 60-59 with just over 1:30 left to play. Missouri searched for a late bucket to go back on top, but Bulldogs escaped, converting on two trips to the free throw line to close out the Tigers and advance to the next round.

 

Georgia will move on to the SEC Tournament second round where it will face the 6-seeded Florida Gators on Thursday, March 14 at 9:30 p.m. ET at Bridgestone Arena. The Bulldogs dropped both home-and-away matchups against the Gators this season, falling 88-82 at Stegeman Coliseum and 102-98 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Georgia is 1-2 all-time against Florida when both programs meet in the SEC Tournament.

 

Five Fast Facts

• Blue Cain led the Bulldogs in scoring for the fourth time this season, setting a new career-high 19 points in the win.

• Blue Cain set a new career-high in 3-pointers made in a game with five on the night.

• Justin Hill finished with 17 points, posting 10 in the first half while averaging 8.9 points/game entering tonight’s matchup.

• Dylan James recorded a new career-high in assist with three on the night.

• The Bulldogs won the bench scoring battle 30-15 against the Tigers.

 

Key Quote

Head Coach Mike White: “What a game huh? That was like a bowl game. It’s big and we’ve got another opportunity to play another really good team tomorrow, you know, an NCAA Tournament team. We’re hoping we can play some postseason. I love coaching these guys. We want to prolong this season as much as possible and continue to build our program.”

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