After tightly contested games in the first six outings of the year, Coach Mark Fox's squad has started to find its footing and has now won three straight games by double digits. But it did not appear so at first, as Clemson had a 13-5 lead about five minutes in. That quickly changed thanks to sparks off the UGA bench, and the Dawgs went on a 25-3 run before taking a 39-24 lead into the locker room at the half.
Clemson's shooting cooled off quickly and the Dawgs got hot at the same time. Combined with some tough defense, and a deep bench, UGA held Clemson to 21.8% shooting in the first half. Another quick 9-2 run to open the second half really sealed the deal. The game was fairly uneventful for the last 10 minutes as Clemson couldn't mount a charge and the Bulldogs had an answer (and more) for every possession. Senior Kenny Gaines led the way with 17 points, and joined fellow senior Charles Mann in the 1,000 point club for UGA men's basketball. He is the 46th player in Red & Black to accomplish that feat. All 13 players in uniform got into the game and Georgia scored 32 points in the second half for the final 71-48 tally.
Overall, it came down to Clemson's poor shooting. The Tigers from Lake Hartwell only connected on 33% of their shots in the 2nd Half, and only hit 3-13 from beyond the 3 point arc. Clemson did grab 10 more offensive boards than Georgia, and many of those were frustrating to fans, but with so many players getting rest (Yante Maten only played 15 minutes), Clemson had a bigger lineup on the floor much of the time. And while Clemson forced 14 turnovers, they only converted those to 8 points, while UGA converted 14 Clemson turnovers to 18 points. The teams were square in overall rebounds, 35 apiece, but Georgia dominated other defensive stats with 6 blocks and 8 steals. Offensively, the Hoop Hounds found their way inside and scored 26 points in the paint to Clemson's 14.
While Clemson futility in Athens isn't quite what it is in Chapel Hill, the results of last night's game leave UGA with a 31-9 advantage over the Tigers playing in Athens. And considering school is on break, it was a decent crowd. Official attendance was announced at 10,523 in the friendly confines of Stegeman Coliseum. The team is now off for the Christmas break but returns to action in the Steg December 29th against visiting Robert Morris. The game will be televised on the SEC Network to boot.