Turtle Jackson and Yante Maten came alive offensively in the second half as Georgia came from behind to defeat Cal State Fullerton 64-57 to advance to the second round of the Wooden Legacy Tournament.
The Bulldogs got off to a sluggish start offensively and trailed for the first 30 minutes of the game. The Titans used a variety of defensive looks to limit Maten’s touches and he went to the bench early after picking up his second foul.
Georgia shot just 31 percent from the field in the first half and trailed 27-21 at the intermission. The Bulldogs turned the ball over 11 times in the first half leading to 11 points for Cal State Fullerton. Georgia was able to keep it close thanks to a 24-10 rebounding edge and nine second chance points.
The second half began much the same as the first with the Bulldogs turning the ball over and struggling to find any consistent offense. Jackson had two points and four turnovers at halftime but finally found a rhythm in the second and was able to keep Georgia within striking distance. Fourteen of Jackson’s team-high 16 points came in the second half.
The Bulldogs took their first lead on a tip in by Nicolas Claxton with 9:45 remaining. Jackson Rowe converted two free throws for the Titans to tie things back up at 43-43 with 6:43 remaining. Three free throws by Maten put Georgia back in front for good. He scored eight straight points for the Bulldogs down the stretch capped off by a three-pointer with 1:40 remaining to increase the lead to 55-49. Georgia would push the lead to as many as 10 before settling for the seven point win.
Jackson connected on 5-of-9 field goals including a pair of three-pointers. More importantly, he didn’t commit a single turnover in the second half. Georgia as a team turned the ball over just four times after halftime.
Maten scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half. Juwan Parker finished with 13 while Rayshaun Hammonds added seven points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Kyle Allman led Cal State Fullerton with 34 points.
Georgia moves on to the second round of the tournament and will face the winner of Friday’s matchup between San Diego State and Sacramento State on Saturday.