Georgia downs Jacksonville, 69-58
ATHENS, Ga. – Following last Wednesday’s upset victory over Memphis, the University of Georgia men’s basketball team earned its second-consecutive win, prevailing 69-58 over Jacksonville Tuesday evening before 6,017 spectators at Stegeman Coliseum.
Senior Braelen Bridges led Georgia (4-5) with 14 points and five rebounds, while graduate Jailyn Ingram posted 12 points and sophomore Jabri Abdur-Rahim tallied 10. Sophomore Kario Oquendo led the Bulldogs in other major categories with six rebounds and five assists. For the evening, Georgia shot 48.9 percent from the field, its third-highest clip of the season.
“It wasn’t our best game, but we got through it,” said Georgia head coach Tom Crean following the game. “That’s a good team with a good young coach. Our guys persevered without one of their teammates. On the outside, that may seem simpler than what it is. It’s not. They’ve grown to be a very comradery-driven group.”
In the early going, Jacksonville (4-3) set the pace, taking the lead on a 3-pointer and extending it to 11-6 with a pair of second chance baskets before the first media break. Georgia responded after the timeout with strong play inside the paint, eventually tying the game on a driving Ingram layup before retaking the lead at the line.
The Bulldogs’ stretch would eventually balloon to a 13-4 run, culminating in a triple from senior Noah Baumann. With the Dolphins looking to narrow the margin in the final minute, graduate Aaron Cook connected from outside to give the Bulldogs a 32-24 lead at the half.
Georgia’s offense continued to play well as the second half opened, outscoring Jacksonville, 7-1, in the first three minutes of play. The Bulldogs then entered a slump, going over five minutes without a field goal while losing Ingram to an injury in the process. Fortunately, the Dolphins also struggled from the field, helping maintain a double-digit advantage as they did not make a field goal until the 11:31 mark of the half.
Jacksonville’s offense awakened midway through the period, embarking on a 12-4 run led by redshirt sophomore forward Mike Marsh. Now only leading by seven, Georgia earned much-needed points in the form of a three from freshman Christian Wright with eight minutes remaining. With both teams in the bonus, the Dolphins attempted one last rally, but Abdur-Rahim restored the lead to 13 by the final media timeout. The Bulldogs proceeded to seal their win at the line with six straight makes.
“(Jailyn)’s an incredible young man,” said Crean. “We don’t do what we’ve done to this point without him. He’s getter better. If we don’t have him, then we have people who have to step up even more.”
Georgia now heads into an 11-day break for final exams before returning to the court against George Mason on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum. The game kicks off a pre-holiday stretch of three games in five days, all of which will be streamed on SEC Network+.
• Tonight’s game marks the 11th meeting between the Bulldogs and Dolphins – Georgia leads the all-time series 11-0 against Jacksonville.
• Hot Hand – Redshirt-senior Braelen Bridges led the team with 14 points, including 4-for-4 from the field and 6-of-8 from the free throw line.
• Mr. Consistency – Sophomore Jabri Abdur-Rahim scored 10 points, his third straight game scoring double figures.
• Seasoned Veteran – Redshirt-senior Noah Baumann recorded his 100th career outing tonight.
• Putting Up Points – Georgia scored 69 points against Jacksonville, which entered the game No. 3 nationally in scoring defense (54.2 ppg).
• Earned Not Given – Freshman Christian Wright made his third consecutive start tonight against Jacksonville.
GEORGIA HEAD COACH TOM CREAN
On how Jaillyn Ingram is after getting injured…
“We’re just going to pray for him. I ask that, if you so choose, you do it for him. I pray that it’s okay, and if it’s not, God’s will be done. All these guys, they’re really good people. You guys don’t know it yet because you don’t see them behind the scenes like this. We have really good kids here, young men. So, we’re just going to pray tonight and see how it turns out. He’s an incredible young man. We don’t do what we’ve done to this point without him. He’s getting better. If we don’t have him, then we have people who have to step up even more. We’ll need even ore from our fans. We’ll just go from there. He did a really good job inside of the game. I thought our guys, there’s no question that they were distracted. I was distracted. I know they were distracted, but they did a good job. They held tight, made good plays, had 51 deflections. It wasn’t our best game, but we got through it. That’s a good team with a good young coach. Our guys persevered without one of their teammates. On the outside, that may seem simpler than what it is. It’s not. They’ve grown to be a very comradery driven group. His leadership had been truly emerging the last few weeks. That’s all I got there.”
On the preliminary diagnosis of Jailyn Ingram’s injury…
“I’m not going there tonight. Indications aren’t good. We’ll just see how it goes.”
On how important it is to use the upcoming time off…
“It’s happened in my career, so you always have to. Aaron Cook went down. Aaron (Cook) was more sick last Wednesday. We reconfigured it at the shoot around. Players are resilient. Sometimes they’re more resilient than the coach. We will. I’m not at that place right now, unfortunately, to talk about tomorrow or the future or things like that. We always do. Whatever happens, there’s adversity and challenges. You just take them as opportunity, and we cross that bridge when it comes.”
GEORGIA JUNIOR JACKSON ETTER
On the team’s attitude following the Memphis win…
“Our mindset from the night we beat Memphis to the morning walkthrough today was to not let the Memphis win affect how we come into this game. We’re going on one-game winning streaks every single game, and that’s our mindset. We’re not going to overlook anybody. We’re not going to underlook anybody. We go into every game with a purpose to win, and I think that’s what we did tonight.”
On the absence of Jailyn Ingram late in the game…
“I’ll just talk about Jailyn. This dude is one of the most respected human beings I’ve ever met, ever hung around. He is just a walking leader, a walking of showing what the right thing to do is, and everyone responded when he went down. It didn’t look good. Those non-contact injuries never look good. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family tonight. The guys really responded. We have a big hole to fill. Tonight, my thoughts and prayers are with him. The guys responded really well.”
On adjustments that they made in practice…
“We watched a lot of film. Film of what this guy is doing and what this guy is doing and what not to do. Like I said last time I was doing this, this game is so much more mental than it is physical. Turnovers are so much more mental. There were times today where we had really high-IQ basketball plays that just weren’t executed. That’s a turnover that we can live with that won’t be a turnover in the future. I think we got a lot better. We also handled ball pressure a lot better. We worked on ball pressure, and we worked on handling ball pressure. Coach (John) Linehan and Coach (Wade) Mason did an excellent job of working with the guards on handling pressure, handling traps. Guys like Jailyn Ingram led those drills. We’ll see moving forward, but my thoughts and prayers are with him.”
On maintaining their second half lead…
“I think we did a really good job of moving the ball against their zone. It started off with Aaron Cook. Coming off a sickness, he came in and distributed the ball really well. We found gaps in the zone. Braelen Bridges did a great job of holding seals in the zone, which creates even more double gaps. We did a good job with ball movement. I also told the guys in one of our huddles that we couldn’t go bucket-for-bucket, we had to get stops. Once we started getting stops, the scoring margin increased. We couldn’t go bucket-for-bucket. We had to get stops. Fortunately, when they did hit a bucket, we hit a big bucket like Jabri (Abdur-Rahim) in the corner or dump downs to Braelen, who finished. I think we did a really good job against the zone.”
GEORGIA SOPHOMORE JABRI ABDUR-RAHIM
On how the team responded after Ingram’s injury…
“Man, that’s really tough. When you see an injury like that, like a non-contact injury you can’t help but think the worst. We tried to stay positive but when something like that happens especially to someone who I consider a really close friend, one of our brothers, a leader on our team, just a really good player and a really good person you never want to see that stuff happens. It’s hard to keep playing but you’re thinking about him while you’re trying to think about the game and that’s difficult but I thought we did a good job responding. Guys came in and stepped up and made some really big plays, Jaxon (Etter), Braelen (Bridges), Aaron (Cook), Kairo (Oquendo). It was just tough, you never want to see that happen especially to one of your brothers but I thought we did a really good job staying focused and I’m praying for him, everybody’s praying for him.”
On the team will do with an 11-day break…
“As someone who loves to play, I’d rather just keep playing. I wish we had a game tomorrow, I’ll play tomorrow. I think we’ll get some well-needed rest, we’re gonna get a lot of practice time in and some individual work, that’s always good. We need some time to focus on our academics and stuff so there’s some positives to it but I want to keep playing, I want to keep this momentum going. I think we’re doing a good job, and doing a lot better so it would be nice to keep playing but the rest and we get a lot of practice time with the coaches and stuff is going to be good as well.”
On the five straight home games going into SEC play…
“I think this home stretch, however many games it is, is really important obviously every game is important but this is crucial. It’s going to give us momentum going into the SEC play. Then you know we don’t want to lose at home, we don’t want to lose in front of the fans. You’re starting to see more and more people starting to come to the games and starting to get more support around campus and things like that so you want to play hard for them, for the people that come and show up. That’s why really you don’t want to lose at home and obviously, we just want to keep the momentum going. I think we’re getting a lot better and over these 11 days we’re going to keep working and then when we get a chance to play on the 18th, we’ll be ready. So I think it’s going to be really important, we just got to keep our mental stride, we got to keep focusing, just keep working hard over these 11 days and we’re going to be fine.”
On how the team handled the pressure against Jacksonville…
“We did a really good job starting with Aaron and Christian (Wright), our two main ballhandlers. They did a really good job, being poised, playing under control. We knew that was a focus, over the past couple of games we’ve had a lot of live ball turnovers. That’s something the coaches really emphasized is no live ball turnovers that can kind of give the other team momentum. That’s the other thing I feel like we really controlled the momentum the entire game, I feel like we were really in control and I think a part of that was our ability to take care of the ball. It started with guys like Aaron, Christian, and Kairo, the primary ballhandlers did a really good job of taking care of it so that was good.”