ATHENS, Ga. -- Nemanja Djurisic scored a career-high 21 points and Georgia won its third straight Saturday 82-73 over Florida A&M.
Georgia led the entire game, mostly by double figures, but the Rattlers took advantage of a 7-minute cold spell by the Bulldogs in the second half to cut the deficit to six, 53-47, with 12:53 to play.
But Donte' Williams and Caldwell-Pope combined for three baskets in the paint to push the lead back to 59-47.
The Rattlers hit 7 of 15 3-point shots in the first half, but missed all 11 long-range shots in the second half. Florida A&M also struggled from the line, hitting 12 of 25 attempts.
The first half was a shooting clinic as both teams hit well from beyond the 3-point line. The Bulldogs made 7 of 11 from long range.
Florida A&M's problem, however, was that it had trouble shooting inside the arc. The Rattlers made 7 of 19 from inside the line, and five of those two-pointers came in the last 4 minutes of the half.
Georgia's Caldwell-Pope entered the game as the leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference, averaging 18.1 points per game. He was scoreless until he converted a breakaway opportunity with a slam dunk with 5:25 to go in the half.
Georgia scored the first eight points of the game. Back-to-back 3s by Florida A&M's Jamari Bradshaw closed the deficit to 17-15 with 11:27 to go in the half. But a 15-0 run by the Bulldogs pushed Georgia to a 42-24 lead, capped by Djurisic's 3-pointer with 4:06 to go before halftime.
Georgia led 49-36 at intermission.
The Bulldogs started slowly in the second half, scoring just one field goal in the first 7 minutes. The Rattlers got within six at 53-47 when Onyekachukwu Odi hit a pair of free throws with 12:53 to play.
Georgia responded with three baskets in the paint, a dunk by Williams, a follow by Caldwell-Pope and a layup by Williams to stretch the lead to 59-47.
Florida A&M made one last surge, cutting into the lead 78-71 with 42 seconds to go after a basket by Adams. The Rattlers forced a turnover on the inbounds play but another missed 3 ended the comeback attempt.
Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, considered a lock to leave the program before struggling in the second half last season, has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return for his junior season.
Louisville's Chinanu Onuaku, who recently underwent a medical procedure to correct a heart rhythm issue detected during the combine, will keep his name in the NBA draft pool.
Andrew White III will return to the Nebraska men's basketball team next season after removing his name from the NBA draft.
|South Carolina State||12-4||1||19-15|
|North Carolina Central||7-9||6||13-19|
|North Carolina A&T||7-9||6||10-22|