Facing the season’s first meaningful challenge in the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mark Fox’s young Georgia Bulldogs showed much early promise but ultimately could not stay with the 20th-ranked California Golden Bears, who dominated the second half to cruise to an easy 70-46 victory.
Solid defensive rebounding and physical play permitted the Hoop Hounds to hang with the Golden Bears for the first 15 minutes of the first half; with five minutes and five seconds remaining until intermission, Georgia still held a 25-24 lead in what had been a back-and-forth battle to that point. After that, though, it was all Cal.
The Bears, who had outscored their first three opponents by a combined 230-165 margin, dominated the boards (35-25) and shot at a blistering pace from the field (25 of 48, 52.1%), from three-point range (6 of 11, 54.5%), and at the free throw line (14 of 18, 77.8%). The Athenians performed poorly in all three areas, draining just 19 of 57 two-pointers (33.3%), four of 19 from beyond the arc (21.1%), and four of seven from the charity stripe (57.1%). Unable to penetrate inside against a Pac-12 defense that matched up well man-for-man with the SEC squad, the Classic City Canines were forced to rely upon desperation heaves from three-point range, with predictable results as the Bears systematically extended their commanding second-half lead with fundamentally sound play.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope emerged from the frustrating outing with ten points to his credit, while Nemanja Djurisic provided nine. The Fox Hounds will play a consolation game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on ESPNU at 7:45 p.m. Eastern Tuesday night. Last Thanksgiving, Georgia fell to Notre Dame in double overtime in the Old Spice Classic.