ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia men’s basketball team dropped its first home game of the season, falling to No. 5 Tennessee, 85-79, on Saturday afternoon before a sellout crowd of 10,523 spectators inside Stegeman Coliseum.
Jabri Abdur-Rahim led the Bulldogs (12-4, 2-1 SEC) in scoring for the fifth time this season, contributing 21 points on five made 3-pointers and five rebounds. Noah Thomasson added 14 points while RJ Melendez and Silas Demary Jr. each had 13 points with six and four rebounds respectively. The Volunteers (12-4, 2-1 SEC) ended Georgia’s 10-game win streak, moving the Bulldogs to 10-1 inside Stegeman Coliseum this season and 23-5 in head coach Mike White’s two seasons at the helm of the program.
The Bulldogs struck first with a pair of offensive rebounds leading to a made 3-pointer from Jabri Abdur-Rahim. The Volunteers rattled off an 8-0 run after converting an and-one free throw following the first media timeout, creating a 14-6 deficit for Georgia. Despite forcing six turnovers and committing none in the opening 12 minutes, Tennessee created an 11-point lead from a barrage of 3-pointers, making five of its first 10 attempts. The Bulldogs capped off the first half with a 9-0 run in the final 3:47, holding the Volunteers to seven straight missed free throws to trail 42-37 headed to the locker room.
Following a flagrant foul committed by Tennessee on Abdur-Rahim, the senior made both free throws and a shot from deep to give Georgia a four-point lead. Blue Cain’s second shot from deep with 6:24 remaining gave Georgia a 75-64 advantage, its largest lead of the day, but Tennessee managed to get it down to five less than a minute later. The Volunteers closed the game on a 21-4 run, reclaiming the lead from a 3-pointer with 1:56 to go to take the win.
Georgia will play its first conference game on the road this coming Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 9 p.m. against South Carolina. The tilt inside Colonial Life Arena will be broadcast on ESPNU. The Bulldogs split its two games against the Gamecocks during the 2022-23 campaign.
Five Fast Facts
• Jabri Abdur-Rahim scored 13 points in the first five minutes of the second half.
• This is the second time under Mike White that the Bulldogs had less than 10 turnovers against a top five team. Prior to the eight turnovers against Alabama last seasons, the last time was in 2012.
• Georgia opened the second half by extending its run to 15-0 with back-to-back three-pointers by Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Noah Thomasson.
• Tennessee came in the matchup allowing opponents to score an average of 65.1 points per game, and Georgia scored 79.
• Blue Cain knocked down three 3-pointers in the game, the fourth time of his career making at least three.
Head Coach Mike White: "Incredible environment. I'm really appreciative to all of our fans that showed up, how they showed up, as active as they were. It's the loudest that I've ever heard Stegeman, ever, and it's just unfortunate that we weren't able to capitalize and reward our fans for helping us, being as a big of a factor as they were - in a game where we had chances down the stretch.”
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