Gaines, Thornton lead Bulldogs past Chattanooga 86-55
ATHENS, Ga. – Kenny Gaines scored 25 points and Marcus Thornton added a career-high 24 as Georgia built a big early lead and cruised past Chattanooga 86-55 here Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs (4-3) turned in their best offensive performance of the young season thus far. Collectively, they shot 63 percent from the field. Between Gaines and Thornton, the duo made 19 of 22 shots from the field, including six of seven from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I thought tonight we played with the kind of intensity and unselfishness that we’re capable of,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “When we play like that, and help each other, we’re a pretty good offensive team, maybe the best we’ve had in the past couple of years. I was pleased with our effort in what is a difficult environment.”
Gaines connected on Georgia’s first two possessions and the Bulldogs never looked back. Just once thereafter did Chattanooga (3-5) even the score, at 10 on a 3-pointer from Greg Pryor. Gaines answered with another jumper on the Bulldogs’ next trip, starting a 10-0 run that put his team in firm control.
Georgia got its first double-figure lead at 20-10 on a layup by Nemi Djurisic with 11:22 left before halftime. The margin stayed in the 8- to 10-point range for the first half’s remainder until a trey from Ronrico White at the buzzer cut the Mocs’ deficit to 39-32.
The Bulldogs reasserted their control of the game by scoring the first five points of the second period. They blew the game wide open with eight straight points — back-to-back treys from Juwan Parker and Gaines, followed by a reverse layup by Djurisic — that gave Georgia a 57-37 lead with 12:36 left.
Thornton and Gaines scored their last baskets on consecutive trips, the latter a Gaines 3-pointer that put Georgia ahead 78-52 with 4:32 left.
In addition to its red-hot shooting, Georgia also controlled the glass (39-24 rebounding margin), had 15 assists to just nine turnovers and blocked 10 shots.
The Bulldogs will return to action Sunday when they face Pac 12 Conference foe Colorado in a 12 Noon tipoff.