Georgia could get used to this.
For the third consecutive season, Georgia defeated its in-state rival Georgia Tech. And while the game was close for 20 minutes, it was a rout by its end. The Bulldogs used a balanced performance in the second half to cruise past the Yellow Jackets 80-59.
The Bulldogs (8-2) out-scored the Yellow Jackets (5-5) by a score of 44-25 in the final 20 minutes.
Early on, Georgia Tech wanted to push the tempo and jumped out to a quick 7-3 lead. But Georgia responded and tied the game up at 9-all with a 3-pointer from guard Tyree Crump. Georgia Tech would take a 13-11 lead at the 14:45 mark of the first half, which would be the last time it was in front.
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This was a much needed win for Georgia, which is coming off of a 72-62 road loss at Massachusetts. After the game, head coach Mark Fox reiterated that he should have never scheduled that particular game with his team coming off of final exams and an 11-day break from game action.
But Fox said his team responded accordingly from the upset loss and put in a good couple of practices before the win over Georgia Tech.
"Sometimes if you use a loss correctly it will make you better," Fox said. "We were 7-1 at the time, and I don't think we were smelling ourselves, but we were a little comfortable. The loss probably did us a little good."
Four who mattered
Georgia forward Yante Maten: Maten was a matchup problem all night for the Yellow Jackets. Maten went 9-of-13 shooting and scored a game-high 24 points.
Georgia forward Rayshaun Hammonds:A game after notching only one shot attempt, Hammonds was much more aggressive and scored 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field.
Georgia Tech guard Tadric Jackson: Jackson was the most efficient offensively for the Yellow Jackets as he went for 17 points on 8-of-16 shooting.
Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie: Okogie was Georgia Tech's primary scorer, totaling 21 points. The bulk of his scoring, however, came from going 10-of-13 shooting from the free-throw line. Otherwise, he was 5-of-16 from the field.
Hammonds hit a 3-pointer with 14:12 left to play in the game, which gave Georgia a 12-point lead. The Bulldogs maintained control of the game from this point on.
Back in the flow: Fox mentioned earlier in the week that he hoped his team could get back to playing the way it was two weeks ago, when it defeated Marquette on the road. Coming off of a bad loss against Massachusetts, the Bulldogs regrouped accordingly and looked much more in sync on the offensive end. Georgia didn't rush its offense and played a patient, yet efficient, brand of basketball.
Hot from the field: Georgia followed up a 35-percent shooting performance against UMass by connecting on 58 percent of their shot attempts against the Yellow Jackets. In the second half, that number was 71.4 percent. It was a stark contrast from the previous game, as the Bulldogs were consistent from the field all night. The Bulldogs put in eight of its 18 3-point attempts, including a late 3 from Turtle Jackson to move them up 73-56 with 3:44 left to play in the game. Georgia won't always get near 60 percent from the field in a full game. But if the Bulldogs can get more offensive consistency on a regular basis, they will be in good shape moving forward.
One-sided second half: Georgia held a two-point advantage at the break before busting the game open in the second half. A lot of it can be credited to some good defensive play, which forced Georgia Tech into poor shot attempts. The Yellow Jackets were ice cold, hitting only 25 percent of its shots in the second half. There weren't too many second-chance opportunities available for Georgia Tech either as it was limited to only seven offensive rebounds.
Second in a row: Pastner has yet to defeat Georgia in his two seasons at Georgia Tech. A year ago, his team was blown out by the Bulldogs at McCamish Pavilion 60-43. In two seasons, Georgia has defeated Pastner's Yellow Jackets by a combined 38 points.
Making history: The last time Georgia won three games in a row over Georgia Tech came from 1952-54, when the Bulldogs won four in a row. The previous time Georgia recorded three consecutive double-digit victories over the Yellow Jackets was from 1912-14.
Football team honored: At the half, Georgia's football team was honored at midcourt for defeating Georgia Tech and winning the SEC. Both the Governor's Cup and SEC title trophies were present with the players, along with head coach Kirby Smart, athletics director Greg McGarity and President Jere Morehead.
They said it
Fox on Georgia's shot selection:"We really helped each other score. I think when you get balance -- Tyree (Crump) makes an open 3, Juwan (Parker) makes one, and it opens up the court. We had a lot of guys chip in and that balance really helped us."
Hammonds on the key to Georgia's defensive success: "Transition. In the first half, they were taking off. It was getting back and guarding your man and don't let them go baseline and clog the middle."
Maten on the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry: "As a freshman against Georgia Tech, I came in and, I don't remember who it was, but he said, 'We're not going to let some freshman come in and dominate us.' And he pushed me so hard. I thought, 'Oh, this is what it's about.' From then on, I made sure I was always mentally prepared to play Georgia Tech, giving it my all and will our way to a win."
Pastner on the loss: "They really just kicked our butt that second half. I felt like they punched us in the mouth and just kept punching us. We did not respond real well. I thought, in the second half, our defense failed us and we played very selfish on offense with five assists on 22 made field goals. We will just have to continue to get better from here."
Georgia will host Temple at Stegeman Coliseum Friday at 1 p.m.