It was not the start that Mark Fox and the Georgia Bulldogs were hoping for. The Bulldogs saw a 10-point lead evaporate in the second half and dropped their SEC opener to the Arkansas Razorbacks by a score of 79-75.
Georgia came out firing and led by as many as 13 points in the first half. Their execution was sharp and they did a good job of controlling the pace while limiting their turnovers against Arkansas' pressure. The Razorbacks would close the half with a run to get back in the game but a three-pointer from Nemanja Djurisic and a pair of free throws from Kenny Gaines put the Bulldogs up 44-37 at the intermission.
Things started much the same for the Bulldogs in the second half. Arkansas would make a run but the Bulldogs would answer with a big shot. Another three-pointer from Djurisic put the Bulldogs back up 49-39 with 17:51 remaining in the game.
The tide started to turn however as Arkansas press started to wear down the Bulldogs. Turnovers started to mount and an offense that was crisp in its execution in the first half grinded to a halt in the second. A three-pointer from Anton Beard tied the game at 61-61 with 8:51 remaining. The Razorbacks took their first lead at on a Alandise Harris jumper three possessions later.
Georgia quickly retook the lead but Arkansas responded with a 7-0 run to go up 70-64 with 4:22 remaining and to force a Mark Fox timeout. The Bulldogs would respond with a four straight points to cut the deficit to two, but the Razorbacks were able to maintain their lead thanks to Bobby Portis and a thunderous dunk from Michael Qualls.
A couple of late turnovers by Arkansas again gave Georgia a remote chance but Qualls closed things out with a pair of free throws with just four seconds remaining.
Djurisic led the Bulldogs with 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Juwan Parker and Marcus Thornton finished with 11 points each while J.J. Frazier added 10 points off the bench. Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann finished with 10 and eight points respectively but were a combined 4-15 from the field with six turnovers. The Razorbacks outscored the Bulldogs 42-31 in the second half and Georgia's 17 turnovers played a huge part.
Bobby Portis kept the Razorbacks in it early and finished with a game-high 21 points. Qualls added 17 while Harris pitched in 15 off the bench.
Georgia will look to get back on track Saturday when they travel to Baton Rouge to take on LSU.