Gerald Robinson scored 23 points to lead Georgia over Mississippi State 71-61 in the first round of the 2012 SEC Tournament in New Orleans Thursday night.
Georgia trailed by eight points with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half, but closed the half with a 16-6 run to take a 31-29 lead into the break.
After trading a few shots, the Bulldogs took control of the game and led by 13 with 8:12 remaining in the game. But Mississippi State went on a quick run to close Georgia’s lead to only three with 3:37 remaining.
Nemanja Djurisic, who came up big all game, tipped in a Donte Williams miss and later hit two free-throws to give the Dawgs a 64-57 lead. Mississippi State then hit two free throws to cut the lead back to five, but Gerald Robinson nailed a jumper to counter.
The Bulldogs proceeded to make five free-throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach.
Robinson, who led all scorers with 23, also had four assists and two steals. Nemanja Djurisic scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to record the first double-double by a Georgia Bulldog this season.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dustin Ware each scored 13 points and Donte Williams added 11 in the winning effort.
The win was head coach Mark Fox’s 50th at Georgia. Since he took over in 2009, Fox has guided the Bulldogs to a 50-44 overall record and 19-29 in the SEC.
Georgia advances to the quarterfinals of the 2012 SEC Tournament and will face Vanderbilt on Friday, Mar. 9 at approximately 10:00 p.m. ET (Tournament Bracket).