ATHENS – The University of Georgia men’s basketball team fell to Ole Miss, 78-74, Tuesday evening at Stegman Coliseum before 7,135 spectators.
Fifth-year Braelen Bridges led the Bulldogs with a career-high 26 points, while also recording his third double-double of the season with a team-leading 11 rebounds. Junior Kario Oquendo tallied 19 points and fellow junior Justin Hill added 13 points to the scoring effort.
“Congratulations to Ole Miss, thought they were terrific,” Georgia head coach Mike White said. “We went to Oxford, and I said it after the game that we feel like we kind of stole it. Then they came here and kind of stole it. They had some good road wins. I thought they were really good. (Myles) Burns was terrific. Their guards were really good, transition and defense in the second half failed us. I thought a couple live ball turnovers that led to layups, their offensive execution, getting to the rim, the advance of point blank looks in the second half, free throw line block outs, for us, obviously free throw line offensive rebounds for them. I thought those were big differences, big factors in the game. (Jaemyn) Brakefield was really good, did a lot of damage. He’s really good shooter, but did a lot more than we would have expected unfortunately on the interior. He really played hard offensively played through contact. They got to the file line and finished. It was a tough loss. When Braelen (Bridges) goes for 26 and 11 and Kario (Oquendo) bounces back and responds really well in the last 19 and you come up a little short on them, obviously it’s very disappointing.”
Georgia (14-10, 4-7 SEC) attacked the paint early, scoring six of their first 10 points down low. The Bulldogs used five points and an Ole Miss (10-14, 2-9 SEC) turnover to build an 11-8 lead. The Rebels then hit a triple to regain the lead and build a four-point advantage.
A three-pointer from Jailyn Ingram allowed Georgia to regain a 20-19 lead. Short scoring runs from both teams knotted the score at 23 following a pair of Rebel free throws and a layup. The Bulldogs built a five-point lead from a layup and a triple from Oquendo before Ole Miss tied the game at 28 with under five minutes to play in the first half.
A layup from Oquendo gave Georgia the lead with less than one minute remaining in the first half, but a 3-pointer from Ole Miss concluded the first half with the Rebels trailing, 35-34, going into halftime.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with an 8-2 run, pushing the score to 42-37, with the sequence highlighted by back-to-back Bridges layups. Georgia held its lead, tacking on three more free throws and a layup to remain ahead by a game-high six points at the 13-minute mark. The Rebels used six unanswered of their own to tie the contest at 51.
Three layups from the Bulldogs boosted Georgia ahead, 57-53. Five points from Ole Miss gave the Rebels the lead with six minutes remaining in the game. The Rebels pushed their lead to four, 67-63, and continued to hold the advantage after trading points as the Bulldogs trailed 71-70, with one minute left.
Following a pair of critical Ole Miss rebounds in the final seconds, a jumper from underneath the basket from Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe sent him to the line to close the gap to 74-73 with seven seconds remaining. Ole Miss connected on both of its final two free throws to seal the 78-74 victory.
Georgia continues its three-game homestand with a matchup against Kentucky on Saturday, Feb. 11 at noon on ESPN.
COURTESY UGA ATHLETICS