CINCINNATI, Ohio — Despite a valiant comeback effort in the second half, the University of Georgia men's basketball team fell, 73-68, to Cincinnati in the first road trip of the season Saturday evening before 10,672 fans at Fifth Third Arena.
With a 48 percent shooting clip in the second half, Georgia (1-1) closed to within three points of Cincinnati (2-0), but the run was not enough to avoid its first defeat of the 2021-22 season.
Redshirt-senior Braelen Bridges led Georgia in scoring with a career-high 24 points on 11-for-15 shooting, previously 20 points versus Youngstown State on Jan. 30, 2020, while graduate Jailyn Ingram notched 13 points and four assists. Graduate Aaron Cook posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists, while redshirt-senior Noah Baumann add nine points, all three’s. For the game, Georgia shot 48 percent from the field and tallied seven 3-pointers on 64 percent shooting beyond the arc.
“I was a great atmosphere,” said Georgia head coach Tom Crean following the game. “We knew it would be. I’ve been here many, many times. You can’t hear yourself think. They did a really good job, and they have a really good team. It was a big win for Cincinnati, and it was a big learning step for us.”
After Bridges scored the game's first bucket, Georgia controlled the early portion of the game, jumping out to an 8-2 lead heading into the first media timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Baumann nailed a deep three to give the Bulldogs an 11-2 lead. Cincinnati responded with a 6-0 run to draw within three, 15-12, with 11:12 remaining in the first half.
The Bearcats quickly made it a one-point game with 6:27 left, thanks to a pair of Bulldogs turnovers. Moments later Cincinnati found its first lead of the game after a jumper by Abdul Ado. The Bearcats proceeded to go on a three-minute, 17-0 run. The Cincinnati lead grew to 13 before Georgia entered the locker room down 35-26
Georgia shot 48 percent from the field in the first half, including two-for-five from beyond the arc. Bridges led the Bulldog attack will 12 points and three rebounds, followed by Ingram with 11 points. The Bulldogs held the Bearcats to 40.5 percent from the fired in the first half, and just two-for-10 from three-point range.
Coming out of the locker room, both squads battled back-and-forth. The Bearcats lead eventually grew to 52-36, 16-points, the largest of the night with 12:52 remaining in the game. A layup by freshman Christian Wright and back-to-back three’s by junior Dalen Rindgnal and Baumann cut the deficit to single digits.
Cincinnati increased the lead to 62-52, with 5:47 left in regulation. Georgia proceeded to go on a two-minute, 7-0 run to get within three, but the Bearcats pulled away in final seconds to win 73-68.
“People are going to like this team,” said Crean. “There is a humility about them. There’s a hunger about them. There is definitely a maturity about them. They work extremely hard and they didn’t flinch on their first road game in a tough environment like this.”
Georgia returns home to host South Carolina State on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. EST. The game will be streamed live on SECN+. The Bulldogs’ have previously met only once on the hardwood. Georgia defeated SC State, 105-60 on Nov. 21, 2006, at Stegeman Coliseum.