Oquendo Leads New-Look Bulldogs to Win Over Western Carolina
ATHENS, Ga. — After transfer Frank Anslem scored the first points of the Mike White era against the Western Carolina Catamounts (0-1), the Georgia Bulldogs (1-0) never surrendered their lead for the remainder of the game, winning their season opener 68-55 on Monday evening at Stegeman Coliseum.
Junior Kario Oquendo guided the team filled with newcomers, appearing to be in midseason form as he led the team with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting including a pair of three-pointers and three blocks. Anslem added 11 points and four rebounds in his first official outing as a Bulldog.
“Feels good to get a win with the Dawgs,” said Coach White. “I am happy for all of the newcomers to this program, there's a bunch, most of our locker room of course, and that goes all the way down to our staff, our support staff. Portal guys, freshmen, walk-ons, but probably most importantly, I am happy for those guys that decided to come back this year. We have put forth a lot of effort this fall and found a way to grind one out.”
Georgia started to settle into its game coming out of the first media timeout. The Bulldogs looked much more poised both offensively and defensively coming out of the break, earning three assists on five made shots and holding the Catamounts to 2-of-15 shooting on their field goal attempts. After Georgia claimed a 15-5 lead, Western Carolina took a timeout.
Oquendo looked like his productive self throughout the night, best evidenced by his ability to make something out of nothing. After what appeared to be a turnover coming out of a dead play and a broken screen, the Titusville, Fla. native found a way to not only recover the ball but also get it off the glass into the basket. The Dawgs would go on to hold a 37-22 lead heading into the locker room.
Western Carolina opened the second half on a 15-3 run, as the Catamounts forced four turnovers from the Bulldogs. Out of the first media timeout of the half, WCU cashed in a trio of consecutive three-pointers and cut its deficit to two, 42-40.
The Red and Black were able to take control once again, regaining a seven-point lead into the under-12 media timeout thanks to buckets from Anslem and Jabri Abdur-Rahim. From there, Georgia managed to keep Western Carolina at bay through the under-four timeout, leading 61-50, and eventually to the end of regulation, winning the opening contest by a 68-55 score.
The Bulldogs will next travel to Winston-Salem, NC. and take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Friday at 8:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the ACC Network. Georgia’s next home outing is a week from today when the Bulldogs host Miami (Ohio) at Stegeman Coliseum.
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