Georgia had to play differently than it had early in the season in order to beat George Washington 81-73 in the opening round of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, but the Bulldogs did what was necessary in order to squeak out the victory.
Georgia had offensive control of the game in the early stages of the first half, controlled by the two stars J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten, who accounted for all of the Bulldogs’ first 11 points. However, a combination of the offense sputtering and poor perimeter defense gave George Washington a slim lead at the intermission.
In the second half, Georgia was in search of other scoring options after Frazier was shutdown offensively after being matched up against 6-foot-8 big man Yuta Watanabe for the Colonials. Maten was also in foul trouble in the second half as he fouled out with 3:36 remaining in the game.
Georgia’s supporting cast was able to step up and emerge for the first time this season. Sophomore forwards Derek Ogbeide and Mike Edwards combined for 19 points and 10 rebounds. Juwan Parker had his most impactful performance since returning from an Achilles injury, posting 9 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bulldogs also implemented more of a zone defensive style with trap schemes, which hadn’t yet been seen this season.
The Colonials put up a fight offensively throughout the contest, led by Tyler Cavanaugh with 21 points and Matt Hart with 17 points. The explosiveness from George Washington came from behind the 3-point line, finishing with a 42 percent clip from deep.
Georgia’s victory keeps the team in the winner’s side of the bracket, and the Bulldogs will play either Kansas or UAB to conclude the tournament in Kansas City.