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Photo by Joshua McCoy / Ole Miss Athletics

Georgia secures first conference win of season against Ole Miss

January 16, 2021
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Seldom positives can be taken from the four-game conference losing streak that Georgia just endured, but that stretch has finally come to a close. 

The entire basketball program, along with third-year head coach Tom Crean, was receiving much criticism from fans and analysts after the Bulldogs seemingly collapsed against SEC competition. Crean did not hesitate to take responsibility.

“The responsibility falls with me,” Crean said. 

At long last, the Georgia Bulldogs (8-4, 1-4) secured their first SEC victory of the season, coming in the form of a 78-74 win over the Ole Miss Rebels (6-6, 1-4) on Saturday afternoon in the Pavilion. The game was up and down for Georgia, but they now have a tally in the conference win column, and this counts as their first win on the road this season. 

Poor shooting numbers have greatly contributed to Georgia’s downfalls this season. Saturday was a much different story for the Bulldogs. Georgia finished 58.7% from the field, 60.0% from three-point range and 88.2% from the free-throw line. 

Those numbers surpassed the team’s season averages by a significant margin in each category. 

“Once we opened up the paint up, we had better spacing,” Crean said. 

Tye Fagan had his best scoring output since the season opener against Florida A&M. Against Ole Miss, Fagan was able to accrue 19 on a perfect 9-of-9 shooting from the field. He is the longest tenured player for Georgia, and he is looked up to as a leader. 

“If you claim to be a winner, losing games should motivate you more than anything. Whether you’re starting or not starting, none of that really matters,” Fagan said. 

Another player who lit up the basket for Georgia was the newcomer K.D. Johnson. Johnson made all four of his three-point attempts en route to 14 points off the bench. He has been a spark plug for the Bulldogs and there are times when he looks like the team’s best player on both ends of the floor. 

“I think people are seeing what we’ve been missing for 10 games with K.D. (Johnson),” Crean said. “K.D.’s confidence is contagious.”

Georgia took control of this game early in the second half, where they benefited from a 12-2 run. Ole Miss fought back late in the game to make it a one-possession game, but the Bulldogs displayed a lot more second half maturity in the end than they have in the last few games. 

Up Next

Georgia will travel back home to face one of the sport’s blue bloods in the Kentucky Wildcats. This has been a down year so far for the Wildcats, so Wednesday’s matchup looks to be a more winnable game against Kentucky than in previous years. However, Kentucky’s SEC record is much greater than their non-conference record.


 

 
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