Georgia falls to Texas A&M, 91-77
BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Despite a career night from sophomore Kario Oquendo, the University of Georgia men’s basketball team fell to Texas A&M, 91-77, Tuesday evening before 5,587 spectators at Reed Arena.
Oquendo led Georgia (6-22, 1-14 SEC) with a career-high 33 points on 12-for-22 shooting, including 6-for-13 from 3-point range, along with seven rebounds. Senior Braelen Bridges was the only other Bulldog in double-figures with 10 points, while sophomore Jabri Abdur-Rahim hit three 3-pointers and graduate Aaron Cook tallied seven assists. For the evening, the Bulldogs shot a season-high 60 percent from the field, as well as a season-high 59.1 percent from beyond the arc.
“We shot the ball extremely well,” said Georgia head coach Tom Crean following the game. “The turnovers…we didn’t get to the foul line enough, and they got some straight line drives on us. We just didn’t have a complete game.”
Oquendo immediately made his presence felt as he scored Georgia’s first eight points, capped off by a 3-pointer just before the first media timeout. Following the early burst, Texas A&M (17-11, 6-9 SEC) responded with eight consecutive points coming out of the break, but the Bulldogs were able to answer with an 11-0 run. The rally started with a Cook jumper, followed by three straight from deep in just over a minute, giving the Bulldogs a seven-point lead.
Again, the Aggies responded with a 14-0 run, exacerbated by a four-minute scoring drought for Georgia as the sharp shooting temporarily went cold. Junior Jaxon Etter finally broke the run with a 3-pointer to bring the margin to four with seven minutes left in the half, but Texas A&M was able to counter Georgia scores and keep the lead around 10 for the remainder of the period. As he did in the opening minutes, Oquendo powered the Bulldogs offense, scoring seven of their final nine points on his way to 18 in the first half. Nonetheless, the Aggies led, 48-37, heading into the half.
The scoring slowed for both teams in the second half with Cook making it an eight-point game at the 15-minute mark with a three. Texas A&M found success in the paint, while Georgia battled with outside shooting, including back-to-back threes from senior Noah Baumann and Oquendo to bring the score to 62-55 halfway through the second half. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, an Aggie 3-pointer and quick layup off a turnover returned the deficit to double-digits.
Texas A&M used more Georgia turnovers to build a game-high 15-point lead with under seven minutes remaining. Abdur-Rahim and Oquendo then combined to hit three 3-pointers in a row, but the Aggies responded with a bucket each time. In the closing minutes, Abdur-Rahim added another trey as Texas A&M closed out the 14-point victory.
Georgia returns home for its final two games of the regular season at Stegeman Coliseum. The home stand begins with a matchup against Florida on Saturday, Feb. 26 at noon on ESPN2. Earlier in the season, the Gators topped the Bulldogs, 72-63, on Feb. 9.