November 9, 2012

Dawgs win ugly

In Mark Fox's eyes, there was certainly a lot that left to be desired with Friday night's season-opener against visiting Jacksonville.

But at least it was a win as the Bulldogs held on to beat the visiting Dolphins 68-62 before a Stegeman Coliseum crowd of 5,232.

"It was just an ugly game. We were turning the ball over, had several fouls and had no rhythm in the second half," Fox said. "We were running a lot of guys in and out there in the second half. We had no rhythm, but that's not that unusual for a first game."

The game was certainly a lot closer than Fox would have preferred.

After leading by 13 at the half, Jacksonville (0-1) outscored the Bulldogs 41-34 over the final 20 minutes, twice closing within four points, the final time coming at 66-62 with 36 seconds left to play.

But that was as close as the Bulldogs would get as Nemanja Djurisic and Sherrard Brantley each hit a free throw to account for the final score.

"We need to learn how to respond to adversity and different things that teams will show," Djurisic said. "I think this was a great experience for us and I think we are going to learn a lot."

Fox certainly hopes so.

Friday, the Bulldogs (1-0) didn't do a very good job responding to the Dolphins' press, especially in the second half, resulting in 23 turnovers, seven from Marcus Thornton.

"We had some silly turnovers today. I thought Marcus Thornton was a little rusty. I was worried because this was really his first game since he's had his surgery and certainly the first game that really mattered," Fox said. "I thought he might be rusty and he had some plays that were just that, plays that were the result of being out of sync. I don't think Kentavious (Caldwell-Pope) and Nemi played good at all early in the game. I thought Kentavious had some moments where he looked like he was in the freshman class. He knows he has to be better than that."

Despite some early struggles, Caldwell-Pope still led the Bulldogs with 17 points, 11 in the second half. He was followed by Djurisc with 14 along with a team-high 12 rebounds.

For the game, Georgia shot 40 percent (20 for 49).

Keith McDougald led Jacksonville with 13 points, followed by Glenn Powell with 11 and Russell Powell with 10. Georgia outrebounded Jacksonville 40-39.

"There pressure bothered us. I didn't have us prepared for the full court pressure because we hadn't worked enough against it, to be honest with you," Fox said. "I don't have any concerns that it will be a long-term problem, but we really have worked on that very little, that bothered us a little bit."

It wasn't the crispest of first halves for the Bulldogs, although Georgia never trailed in taking a 34-21 lead.

Still, Georgia managed to shoot 50 percent from the field (13-for-26), led by Nemanja Djurisc with seven points.

Caldwell-Pope, however, wasn't even part of the party until he dropped in a free throw with 1:32 to go in the game, the first of six straight points by the sophomore to send Georgia into the locker room up 13.

NOTES: Earlier in the day, Caldwell-Pope was named to the SEC Coaches Preseason All-SEC first-team. … Georgia returns to action Monday night (7 p.m.) against Youngstown State in a game that will be televised by ESPNU. … Georgia played Friday night without the services of junior Donte Williams, but it Fox said it was not due to any sort of suspension… David Richt, son of head football coach Mark Richt, sang the national anthem before Friday's game.