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Georgia survives turnovers for 56-54 exhibition win

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NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Kentucky vs Georgia Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia began the Tom Crean era this evening with an exhibition matchup against the UAB Blazers in beautiful Birmingham. And while it wasn’t always (or even often) pretty, the Hoop Hounds managed to leave fabled Bartow Arena with a 56-54 win.

Rayshaun Hammonds led all UGA scorers with 13 points, 5 of them in the final two minutes. Hammonds’ 3 point play drew the ‘Dawgs within 1 at 51-50. He then hit a spinning basket just before the 1:00 mark to stake the visitors to a 56-53 lead. UAB sank a free throw to draw within 2, then inbounded with 8 seconds left on the clock and a chance to win at the buzzer.

But the Athenians held and walked away with the (unofficial) W. It was a sloppy effort, with double digit turnovers and some streaky shooting. Coach Crean substituted liberally, at one point in the first half taking the entire five man unit off the court and replacing it with a new set of players. In short, there’s clearly just as much tinkering and testing going on as you’d expect from a team with a new coaching staff and also looking to replace the production of the reigning SEC player of the year.

The Crean Machine in Red and Black (TM) will return to action on November 1st, this time back at Stegeman Coliseum for another exhibit against West Georgia. They’ll then open regular season play on November 9th against Savannah State. Until later...

Go ‘‘Dawgs!!!