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Georgia Basketball

Georgia tops Montana 63-50 despite offensive struggles

December 8, 2020

ATHENS- The Georgia Bulldogs gave the college basketball world another dose of how electrifying and fast their offense can be, but that shot turned out to be a small one. 

The offense went through stretches of scoring in bursts with efficiency, while also suffering shooting droughts. This game was not pretty to watch for Bulldogs fans, and the sloppiness showed up on the box score as well. 

Regardless of their struggles, the Georgia Bulldogs (4-0) topped the Montana Grizzlies (0-4) 63-50 on Tuesday night in Stegeman Coliseum. 

Sophomore point guard Sahvir Wheeler’s three-game streak of posting double-doubles came to an end. This was his worst game of the season, and the entire team had a difficult time scoring the ball along with him. He came into this game as the SEC’s leader in assists per-game and was top-10 in the conference in PPG.

Wheeler finished with just nine points and five assists. He shot 28.6% from the field. The team made only 39.7% of their shots. 

Talk about a hot start. Georgia went on a 9-0 run in less than two minutes after the ball was tipped into play. The team flashed their ability in transition and was much more active on the defensive end.

The defensive energy that Georgia played with early in the game directly impacted the scoreboard and helped them jump out to a 21-7 lead over Montana with 12:51 left on the clock in the first half. The defensive intensity waned as the game went on, but head coach Tom Crean will at least be pleased with how the Bulldogs started on that end.

All five of Georgia’s starters scored within the first four minutes of the game.

Georgia’s offensive electricity did not last for long. After the first few minutes, the Bulldogs struggled to put the ball in the basket. In a seven-minute span, Georgia shot just 3/16 from the field. 

Georgia led Montana 32-24 at halftime, but the Bulldogs scored 15 of those points in the first five minutes of the game.

The second half was not quite as eventful as the first. Georgia maintained a steady double digit lead for the majority of the half.

“Tonight was the definition of a grinder,” Crean said.

 Toumani Camara quietly had a big night for the Bulldogs. He scored 15 points and had a career-high 17 rebounds. He was one of the lone bright spots of an otherwise unattractive performance.

“It’s really something (rebounding) that I need to work on every day,” Camara said. 

Camara is developing into one of the best young players in Athens. In a night where Wheeler did not play his best, Georgia can find comfort in knowing other players can step up. 

“We cannot just lay all of the work on Sahvir’s (Wheeler) shoulders,” Camara said.

Crean has been on record saying that a lot of guys need to score if the team is going to find success this season. Georgia was able to get four players in double digits. Andrew Garcia notched 13 points off the bench. 

“He (Garcia) is coming off the bench right now, but he is a starter to me,” Crean said.

Crean also alluded to changing up the lineup for future games, and inserting Garcia into the starting lineup could be one of those changes. 

This was Georgia’s lowest scoring output of the season and a lot of that can be attributed to the shooting struggles that the team faced outside of the first few minutes of the game. Georgia entered this matchup averaging 89 PPG.

A completely separate headline is the health of sophomore Christian Brown. He did not see the floor in the second half and that was due to him “not feeling well.”

Brown was quickly isolated and was tested for COVID either during or after the game. His rapid test came back negative. 

The Bulldogs will have some time to polish up their play from this game. After playing four games in nine days, Georgia will now have a few days off before facing Samford (2-1) on Saturday.


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