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Basketball Bulldogs Win Home Opener 80-77 Over Wake Forest

Will Morrison

The Bulldogs returned to Stegman Coliseum for their home opener against Wake Forest. After suffering a loss to Oregon in the season opener, the Dawgs were looking to get in the win column. 

Georgia played a phenomenal first half, as they led 40-36 going into the break. Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Noah Thomasson led the Bulldogs, as the two combined for 18 first-half points. A reason for UGA's struggles against Oregon was due to turning the basketball over. Well, the Bulldogs cleaned that up in the first period tonight, as they only had 4 turnovers. The Dawgs went 16/32 (50%) on field goals and 2/8 (25%) on three-pointers in the first 20 minutes of this basketball game. The only reason Wake Forest was able to keep this game close was because of their incredible three-point shooting. The Demon Deacons made 8 shots from behind the arc and only 4 shots from the field. In total, they shot 38.7% (12-31) from the floor. Georgia also forced 8 Wake Forest turnovers.  

The Bulldogs continued their great play into the start of the second half, as they grew their lead to 10 points. The Demon Deacons did fight their way back into this game late in the second half as they cut the Georgia lead down to 2. The Dawgs almost got themselves into trouble with some late turnovers, but played good basketball down the stretch to win the game 80-77. UGA finished the game shooting 47% (31/66) from the field and 28.6% (6/21) from behind the arc. Wake Forest shot the ball well from behind the arc, as they shot 36.7% (11/30) from the three-point line, but everything else wasn't going their way. From the floor, the Demon Deacons made 25 of the 64 shots they put up for a field goal percentage of 39.1%. Georgia was outrebounded in this game 41 to 38, but they only turned the ball over 7 times to the Demon Deacons 13. The Bulldogs do need to convert better at the free throw line, as they only shot 66.7% from the charity stripe. 

All 5 Georgia starters were in double figures for this game. Noah Thomasson was great for Mike White in this one. He finished the game with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. In the game against Oregon, Thomasson didn't look comfortable, but the former MAAC player of the year showed it tonight. Jabri Abdur-Rahim continues to be great for Georgia. The veteran knocked down 5 of the 12 shots he took for 17 points, which 9 of those coming from behind the arc. RJ Melendez and Silas Demary Jr. both added 10 points and 5 rebounds tonight. Freshman guard Silas Demary Jr. has proved to be a great signing for the Dawgs in the little play he's shown so far. The biggest takeaway from this game for Georgia was the improved play of 7-footer Russel Tchewa. When you have a player that size, he has to show his impact on offense, and tonight, he did that. He added 11 points and forced his will in the paint all night. This UGA team is already showing signs of improvement after the loss to Oregon and could be a sneaky team in the SEC. 

Mike White and his team's next game will be against NC Central on the home floor this Sunday at 5:00 PM EST. The game will be shown on ESPN+/SEC+. 

Stay tuned to DawgsCentral for all things UGA Athletics. 

Photo Courtesy of the SEC Media Portal. 

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