Georgia falls to Ole Miss, 78-74
ATHENS – The University of Georgia men’s basketball team fell to Ole Miss, 78-74, Tuesday evening at Stegman Coliseum before 7,135 spectators.
Fifth-year Braelen Bridges led the Bulldogs with a career-high 26 points, while also recording his third double-double of the season with a team-leading 11 rebounds. Junior Kario Oquendo tallied 19 points and fellow junior Justin Hill added 13 points to the scoring effort.
“Congratulations to Ole Miss, thought they were terrific,” Georgia head coach Mike White said. “We went to Oxford, and I said it after the game that we feel like we kind of stole it. Then they came here and kind of stole it. They had some good road wins. I thought they were really good. (Myles) Burns was terrific. Their guards were really good, transition and defense in the second half failed us. I thought a couple live ball turnovers that led to layups, their offensive execution, getting to the rim, the advance of point blank looks in the second half, free throw line block outs, for us, obviously free throw line offensive rebounds for them. I thought those were big differences, big factors in the game. (Jaemyn) Brakefield was really good, did a lot of damage. He’s really good shooter, but did a lot more than we would have expected unfortunately on the interior. He really played hard offensively played through contact. They got to the file line and finished. It was a tough loss. When Braelen (Bridges) goes for 26 and 11 and Kario (Oquendo) bounces back and responds really well in the last 19 and you come up a little short on them, obviously it’s very disappointing.”
Georgia (14-10, 4-7 SEC) attacked the paint early, scoring six of their first 10 points down low. The Bulldogs used five points and an Ole Miss (10-14, 2-9 SEC) turnover to build an 11-8 lead. The Rebels then hit a triple to regain the lead and build a four-point advantage.
A three-pointer from Jailyn Ingram allowed Georgia to regain a 20-19 lead. Short scoring runs from both teams knotted the score at 23 following a pair of Rebel free throws and a layup. The Bulldogs built a five-point lead from a layup and a triple from Oquendo before Ole Miss tied the game at 28 with under five minutes to play in the first half.
A layup from Oquendo gave Georgia the lead with less than one minute remaining in the first half, but a 3-pointer from Ole Miss concluded the first half with the Rebels trailing, 35-34, going into halftime.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with an 8-2 run, pushing the score to 42-37, with the sequence highlighted by back-to-back Bridges layups. Georgia held its lead, tacking on three more free throws and a layup to remain ahead by a game-high six points at the 13-minute mark. The Rebels used six unanswered of their own to tie the contest at 51.
Three layups from the Bulldogs boosted Georgia ahead, 57-53. Five points from Ole Miss gave the Rebels the lead with six minutes remaining in the game. The Rebels pushed their lead to four, 67-63, and continued to hold the advantage after trading points as the Bulldogs trailed 71-70, with one minute left.
Following a pair of critical Ole Miss rebounds in the final seconds, a jumper from underneath the basket from Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe sent him to the line to close the gap to 74-73 with seven seconds remaining. Ole Miss connected on both of its final two free throws to seal the 78-74 victory.
Georgia continues its three-game homestand with a matchup against Kentucky on Saturday, Feb. 11 at noon on ESPN.
• Series History – Today’s game marked the 123rd meeting between the Bulldogs and Rebels – Georgia leads Ole Miss 76-47.
• Double Digit Dawgs – Three Bulldogs notched double-digits points on the evening. Kario Oquendo posted his 15th double-digit performances of the season (38th career), while Braelen Bridges tallied his ninth (58th career) and Justin Hill logged his seventh (43rd career).
• Bridges Balls – Bridges notched a career-high 26 point en route to posting his eighth career double-doubles. His third of the season and fourth while donning the Red and Black. This marked Bridges’ fifth career 20-point outing and second of the season.
• Hill’s Highlights – Hill dished out a season-high seven assists on the evening. This marked his second career game with 10-plus points and seven-plus assists.
• Ball Control – Tonight marked the first time the Bulldogs have had 10 or fewer turnovers in back-to-back games since Jan. 15 (Tennessee) and Jan. 18 (Mississippi State) of 2020.
• Back-and-Forth – There were 15 lead changes on the evening. Neither team led by more than two possessions.
• Opponent File – The Bulldogs held the Rebels to 17.4 percent shooting beyond the arc (4-of-23), however Ole Miss outscored Georgia, 19-9, in second-chance points.
GEORGIA HEAD COACH MIKE WHITE
“Congratulations to Ole Miss, thought they were terrific. We went to Oxford, and I said it after the game that we feel like we kind of stole it, then they came here and kind of stole it, they had some good road wins. I thought they were really good, (Myles) Burns was terrific, their guards were really good, transition and defense in the second half failed us. I thought a couple live ball turnovers that led to layups, their offensive execution, getting to the rim, the advance of point blank looks in the second half, free throw line block outs, for us, obviously free throw line offensive rebounds for them, I thought those were big differences, big factors in the game. (Jaemyn) Brakefield was really good, did a lot of damage, he’s really good shooter, but did a lot more than we would have expected unfortunately on the interior. He really played hard offensively played through contact, they got to the file line and finished. It was a tough loss. When Braelen (Bridges) goes for 26 and 11 and Kario (Oquendo) bounces back and responds really well in the last 19 and you come up a little short on them, obviously it’s very disappointing.”
On how Justin Hill looked…
“Really proud. I mean, the first thing I look at with our point guards is that seven-to-one. You know he was plus four. Ole Miss is long and athletic in the back court. They pressure and change defenses, and he goes seven-to-one against thirteen and played with a lot of confidence. He was really vocal and he’s growing as a leader. I am happy about his development and proud, proud for him.”
On getting back on track……
“We have a day off tomorrow unfortunately, NCAA mandated. We’ll come back Thursday and get after it. Whether you win by 20, lose by 20, win 6-to-7, lose 6-to-7, what can you do? Kentucky won’t feel bad for us. No one felt bad for Ole Miss coming into this one, right? We’re going to continue to grow, get better, show off some weaknesses, respond. That what’s in these guys’ best interest in hoops and in life is how they respond. I thought we had a couple live ball turnovers where we’re looking at the ref and wondering ‘what happened there?,’ and you’re stuck playing transition defense. That’s not the correct response in this league. We’ve talked about it a lot, and we’ve got to be better in that area.”
GEORGIA GUARD KARIO OQUENDO
On how to limit second chance points…
“We just have to do it in the game, we have to get rebounds, we have to box out, hit our guys every time we go in. We do it in practice we have to just figure out how to put that on the court in game.”
On the loss…
“I think this is just one of those games where it could be a team builder. I think we can show that we can come together and finish off the season strong despite this loss. I definitely didn’t want to lose this one tonight, but I don’t think we played enough to win.”
On Coach White’s message after the game…
“Like I said like we have to learn how to put together the little things and figure out what we’re going to do against the small details, such as a player driving on the baseline, blocking out our guy on a free throw, just little things like that. We just have to be better on simple plays that lose you the game.”
GEORGIA CENTER BRAELEN BRIDGES
On what made the difference down the stretch…
“It just came down to the details and how well you paid attention to them. We made some mistakes late, and obviously we need to do a better job of getting rebounds.”
On how the team can grow from a close game…
“We just have to stay positive because in three days we have to play Kentucky. It’s hard to move on so fast, but that’s what you have to do so you’re prepared.”
On preparing for Kentucky…
“We have to pay attention to what they run, focus on the details, listen to what our coaches are telling us, and just play hard come Saturday.”