Bulldogs win third straight, top FAU 74-61
ATHENS, Ga. – Marcus Thornton recorded his third-career double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds, as Georgia outlasted Florida Atlantic to win 74-61 at Stegeman Coliseum Sunday.
It was the third consecutive victory for the Bulldogs after opening the 2014-15 campaign with a loss at Georgia Tech. Thornton’s 17 points tied a career high that he set Friday night against Troy. He also tied a career high with five blocks. Kenny Gaines also scored in double figures, posting 15 points to help pace the Georgia offense. Nemanja Djurisic chipped in eight points, 10 rebounds and a career-high eight assists.
“This year, [Marcus] has confidence in his body and he has confidence in his game, and now he can be really aggressive,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said after the game. “He’s playing hard and playing like a senior and I am really happy for him.”
Georgia’s offense started hot for the second game in a row, scoring 12 points in the first six minutes of play. Florida Atlantic equaled Georgia’s hot start and led the Bulldogs for most of the first half, before a Charles Mann jumper put Georgia up with 7:44 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs scored 12 points over the final eight minutes and went into the half with a 35-27 lead.
The Bulldogs again opened up hot in the second half, scoring 18 in the first 10 minutes of play. After going nearly three minutes without a field goal, Georgia opened the game up to an 18-point lead with just over 2:30 left to play after a series of free throws. The Owls battled back down the stretch, but Georgia was able to hold off a potential comeback with four key free throws by J.J. Frazier in the final minute.
“It’s good to win,” Coach Fox said. “I was pleased with a lot of things that we did, but I don’t think we played as well as we did the other night. It’s good to have errors and to learn from them. I think today was a good experience for our team against a well-coached team and a team that’s going to win their share of games. There are a lot of things we can learn from tonight’s game to help us get better. For instance, we had a lot of offensive fouls that we need to figure out how to fix. But, overall good game and good experience and now we will move on.”
Sophomore Marquan Botley had a career night for the Owls, surpassing his previous high marks in points (20), assists (6) and rebounds (5). Jackson Trapp tied a career high with 15 points, and Kelvin Penn and Justin Massey each chipped in 11 points for Florida Atlantic.
Georgia vs. Florida Atlantic Notes
· Georgia’s starting lineup was: Marcus Thornton (64th career start), Nemanja Djurisic (29th), Juwan Parker (7th), Charles Mann (44th) and Kenny Gaines (34th).
· This was the third all-time meeting between the Bulldogs and the Owls. Georgia has now won all three matchups by double digits.
· Marcus Thornton recorded the highest rebound total of any Bulldog to this point in the season (12). Yante Maten recorded 12 rebounds in the exhibition match against Georgia Southwestern.
· The Bulldogs attempted a season-low eight three pointers against the Owls.
· Marcus Thornton tied his career highs in points (17) and blocks (5).
· Thornton also recorded his third-career double-double (17 points and 12 rebounds).
· Nemanja Djurisic had a career-high eight assists.
· FAU’s Marquan Botley registered career-highs in points (20), assists (6) and rebounds (5). Kelvin Penn scored a career-high 11 points and tied a career high with seven rebounds.
Georgia will travel to New York this week to participate in the annual NIT Season Tip-Off. The Bulldogs will open the week when they take on Gonzaga on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. ET. The game will air on ESPN2.