The Georgia Bulldogs took on a struggling Texas A&M Aggies team this Saturday night in Athens. The Dawgs home court advantage has been very strong for them this season with a 4-1 home record in SEC play, while the Aggies came into the match having lost 5 of their last 6 SEC games. The chips were stacked heavily in Georgia’s favor in this matchup, and they didn’t disappoint the home fans in route to a 62-50 victory.
The early part of the game was mostly a back-and-forth contest as the teams felt each other out on the court. It wasn’t until about 3 minutes left in the first half that Georgia really made a rally and started to seize the momentum, taking a 7 point lead. However, two quick scores, including a 3-pointer by Jamal Jones, pulled the Aggies back to within 2 points at the break. Normally, that would be cause for concern with many home teams, but the Dawgs have shown this season that they can put up points in the second half.
The pace didn’t let up in the second half when the Aggies took a brief lead with about 10 minutes to go. However, Georgia remained unfazed and quickly turned the tables, establishing a 3-point margin that would hold up for most of the second half. It wasn’t until the final two minutes, and several Aggie fouls, that the Bulldogs finally put the game away.
The key to the game was Georgia’s great defense coupled with Texas A&M’s poor shot choices. The Aggies turned the ball over 8 times, and also went 1-19 from the 3-point arc. No, that’s not a misprint. The Aggies actually tried to heave almost 20 triples, and they came up with just one to show for it. The Dawgs, on the other hand, shot 36% from three and 41% from the floor. It was not a great shooting effort, but the results were good enough to beat a team shooting just 5% from 3-point land.
Kenny Gaines was the player of the game here, and he is looking better and better each time I see him play. Gaines had 14 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block. Every since he’s come off the injury that kept him out of the Kentucky and Vanderbilt games, he’s seemed to get stronger on the court. That’s going to be key for UGA down the stretch in conference play, because the duo of Gaines and Mann will be the focal point of the Georgia offense. They will be on display Wednesday, when the Dawgs travel to Mississippi State.