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  • Writer's pictureDAWG NEWS DAILY

Georgia defeats Texas, 98-88, in SEC/Big 12 Challenge

ATHENS, Ga. - The Georgia Bulldog men’s basketball team defeated Texas, 98-88, in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday afternoon in front of a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum with 10,374 attendees. 

For only the third time this season, five Bulldogs scored in double figures, including senior Turtle Jackson, junior Tyree Crump, and sophomores Rayshaun Hammonds, Teshaun Hightower and Nicolas Claxton. The win over Texas boasted a number of season- highs for Georgia and career-highs for three Georgia players. Crump tied his career-best five assists and set a career-high six made three-pointers. Senior E’Torrion Wilridge posted a career-best 3 steals. Hightower’s 18 points tied his career-high. 

Crump recorded 21 points, posting only the second 20-point performance of his career. Crump shot 6-of-8 from the three-point line. In his 18-point performance, Hightower remained a perfect 5-of-5 from the field and perfect from behind the arc. 

The Bulldogs also had season-best offensive performances. Behind the arc, Georgia knocked down 12 3-pointers for a season-high three-point percentage of 70.6, while the Bulldogs also shot a season-best 66.7 percent from the field. 

Georgia ranks first in the SEC in rebounding offense, averaging 40.4 rebounds per game, which was apparent in today’s game as the first four points of the game were scored off of offensive rebounds, both by Hammonds. Georgia grabbed nine offensive rebounds and recorded 14 second-chance points. The Bulldogs out-performed the Longhorns on the glass overall, winning the rebounding battle with a 36-22 advantage. 

“There was no reason for these guys to come into this game today against a great Texas team like they are and not believe that they couldn't be confident enough to play the right way, and we did. We did not play great, there's no doubt about that. There's some unbelievably good statistics on this page, and there's some that aren't so good. But the bottom line is, we've just got to continue to focus on improvement…with the mindset that, when we're moving without the ball, when we're cutting, when we're playing with five people consistently, the ball is not stopping, our offense can get a lot better.” said Georgia head coach Tom Crean. 

The Georgia team gained its first lead of the day off an 11-0 run. Following a 5-0 run by Texas, Crump sparked the Georgia offense by sinking two three-pointers despite being fouled on both. Crump’s second three-pointer gave Georgia its first lead. The Bulldogs began their impressive three-point shooting performance after making seven-straight over a five-minute span. Three Bulldogs, Jackson, Crump and Hightower, contributed.

Going into halftime, the game was tied at 46-all. Georgia shot an impressive 56 percent from the three-point line in the first half. The Longhorns grabbed the first points of the second half, but the Bulldogs regained the lead with another three-pointer, this time from Wilridge. Georgia then went on an 8-0 run with baskets from Hammonds, Wilridge and two from Claxton. The Bulldogs maintained the lead for the remainder of the game and eventually gained their largest lead of the game (13 points) with less than three minutes remaining in the game. Closing the game, Hightower continued his efficient shooting, finishing the game 7-of-9 from the free-point line, clinching the 98-88 victory over the Longhorns. 

Georgia will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to face Arkansas on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. on ESPNU.

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