Bulldogs drop SEC opener 79-75 to No. 23 Arkansas
ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia Bulldogs fell to No. 23 Arkansas 79-75 in its 2014-15 Southeastern Conference opener at Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday night.
Georgia (9-4, 0-1) turned the ball over a total of 17 times in Tuesday’s loss. Arkansas (12-2, 1-0) gained significant contribution from their bench, seeing 34 points come from non-starters including 15 from Alandise Harris. Bobby Portis led all scorers with 21 while Michael Qualls scored 17 for the Razorbacks.
The Razorbacks shot 51.7 percent from the field over the course of the night and made 11-of-13 free throws, while the Bulldogs connected on 45.5 percent of their field goals and 16-of-24 free throw attempts.
Four Bulldogs scored in double figures in the loss. Nemanja Djurisic led the team with 16 points, Marcus Thornton and Juwan Parker each scored 11 and Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier each totaled 10.
“That was a high-level game.,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said following the game. “You have to give Arkansas a lot of credit. I thought they played very well and very determined. I thought we played really hard, but we didn’t get the stops we needed to get. You can’t give up 50-plus percent from the field and expect to win versus a good team. We made some errors. We had 17 turnovers and missed some free throws, but we’ve got to be able to get more stops than we did tonight to win a high-level game. Give Arkansas credit. They’ve got a good club.”
Georgia led for almost the entirety of the first half despite big performances by Arkansas’ Portis, who led all scorers with 15 points in the first half. Djurisic led the Bulldogs with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Georgia’s hot shooting was too much for the Razorbacks to overcome, as the Bulldogs hit 57.7 percent of their shots, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range to take a 44-37 lead into the half.
The Razorbacks flipped the script in the second half, shooting 57.7 percent from the field and connecting on 4-of-7 shots from deep, while Georgia shot 34.5 percent from the field and just 3-of-11 from deep.
Arkansas took its first lead of the game with 6:35 remaining after a Harris jumper capped off a 21-7 run by the Razorbacks. After Georgia regained the lead with just under six to play, Harris hit another jumper to give the lead back to the Razorbacks, and then a three to extend the lead to 68-64 with five minutes remaining.
Georgia was able to fight back to within two points with four seconds remaining but failed to force a turnover on the inbounds pass and was instead forced to foul, allowing Arkansas to hit two free throws which put the game out of reach.
Georgia vs. Arkansas Notes
· Georgia’s starting lineup was: Marcus Thornton (73rd career start), Nemanja Djurisic (37th), Juwan Parker (15th), Charles Mann (52nd) and Kenny Gaines (43rd).
· This was the 33rd all-time meeting between the two schools. Arkansas now leads the series 19-14, having won each of the last two meetings.
· This was Georgia’s first loss at home of the season. Georgia is now 7-1 on the year when playing at Stegeman Coliseum.
· The loss snapped the team’s first six-game win streak since 2011.
· The Bulldogs made a season-high nine 3-pointers.
· Georgia shot above their season averages for both field goals (45.5 percent-to-44.1 percent) and 3-point field goals (45.0 percent-to-34.9 percent)).
· J.J. Frazier attempted a career-high 12 field goals.
· Marcus Thornton recorded the 100th block of his career.
· Nemanja Djurisic tied a career high with seven made field goals.
· Juwan Parker tied a career high with four made field goals.
Georgia will look to rebound from Tuesday loss when the Bulldogs travel to Baton Rouge, La. to take on LSU on Saturday January 10. It will be the only matchup of the season between Georgia and LSU after the Bulldogs went 2-0 against the Tigers a year ago. This will be Georgia’s first road game of the 2015 calendar year, and tipoff is set for 9:00 p.m. on ESPNU.