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Georgia Basketball

Georgia edges Samford in a thriller

December 12, 2020

ATHENS- Georgia was given a true test on Saturday night, but they barely passed it. 

The Georgia Bulldogs (5-0) topped the Samford Bulldogs (2-2) in a thriller on Saturday night. The final score was 79-75. 

Georgia did not lead the game until sophomore Jaxon Etter made a layup with 1:17 left on the clock. Etter is not a player that logs in a lot of minutes on the court, but his number was called and he changed the momentum of the final minutes. 

“He’s (Etter) an SEC player, and I’m very confident in him,” head coach Tom Crean said. “He’s never had a bad practice.”

The game was closed out with free throws by Justin Kier, Sahvir Wheeler and Andrew Garcia, along with a layup from P.J. Horne. It was extremely close during the second half as Samford never led in double digits after halftime. 

Georgia was without Toumani Camara in this contest. Camara was out due to what was described as a “lower body” injury. Fortunately for Georgia, his injury is not considered to be serious. 

“We definitely missed his rebounding and his energy,” Kier said.

His energy and rebounding were clearly factors that would have helped Georgia in this contest, especially the first half. Samford outrebounded Georgia in the first half. He normally serves as the tallest player in the starting lineup, so his size would have been beneficial for Georgia. 

Camara has been such a huge part of the Georgia basketball team, and has played extremely well the last three games. He notched a career-high 17 rebounds against Montana on Tuesday. His recovery time has not yet been decided. 

Camara was out, but other players stepped up. Kier had his best game of the season. He led Georgia in scoring with 18 points and added five rebounds and three assists. 

The beginning of the game was a forgettable one for Georgia. The (Georgia) Bulldogs started the game 2-12 from the field. They shot just 34% as a unit in the first half. Over 17 minutes passed before Wheeler scored a single point. 

Wheeler finished the game with 15 points on 33% shooting and six assists. He struggled shooting again tonight, but he remains one of the leaders of this team. 

This was the first time that Georgia trailed at halftime all season. Georgia also started off in a shooting slump against Montana in the last game. The slow starts are killing Georgia offensively, especially since they are such an uptempo team. 

Crean likes to keep his players calm when they are struggling to put the ball in the basket early. 

“In the huddle, Crean is one of the most relaxed, confident and empowering guys that I have been around,” Wheeler said. “He is never uptight. He is never tense.”

Georgia has not started a season 5-0 since 2001. So far, they have only played non-conference games, but tougher competition will come in the impending weeks. However, this is a good start, nonetheless. 

Georgia now has a week off before taking on a Cincinnati team who was just defeated by Tennessee earlier today. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for 8:00 pm and will be a better indicator of where this Georgia team is at. Samford will look to bounce back against Troy on Wednesday. 


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