Sports

Bulldogs rebound with rout

ATHENS -- Perhaps it was only appropriate. Georgia’s previous game was decided on a rebound, and not in a good way. So when it came to recovering from its most stunning loss of the season, rebounding was the emphasis.

And it proved to be the difference. Along with hot shooting, good passing, bench scoring and plenty more.

There was little that went wrong in Georgia’s 86-64 win over Mississippi State on Saturday.

“I’m pleased with the results (Saturday),” head coach Mark Fox said, in quite an understatement.

It was a pummeling from the start. The final time the lead was in single digits was when Georgia had a 16-7 lead. It was a rout the rest of the way, with Georgia leading by as many as 25.

“We came out flat,” Mississippi State guard Dee Bost said. “Give them a lot of credit, they hit a lot of shots. It was bad.”

From the beginning, it was obvious Georgia had more energy than on Tuesday, when it came out flat and lost 59-57 to Tennessee. That game was decided on the final play when the Vols’ Brian Williams grabbed an offensive rebound over Chris Barnes -- in what might have been an over-the-back foul.

So Fox, after a planned Wednesday off, made rebounding a big emphasis in Thursday’s practice.

It showed Saturday, as the Bulldogs won a lopsided rebounding margin 48-23. It had 17 offensive rebounds, while Mississippi State had only two. At one point, the scoreboard credited Georgia with a 36-12 advantage on the boards.

“Offensive rebounding is just effort,” Trey Thompkins said. “And guys are giving effort and giving as much effort as they can, because we care.”

Everything clicked for Georgia, which went 11-for-19 from beyond the arc. Dustin Ware and Sherrard Brantley had three apiece, and Thompkins had two, both in the first half.

It was an encouraging day for a Georgia team that entered ranking second-to-last in the SEC in 3-point percentage and last in number of made 3s.

Georgia (14-4, 3-2 SEC) also got contributions from all over, with Travis Leslie and Gerald Robinson tying for the team high with 17 points and freshman Marcus Thornton (seven points, nine rebounds) having a big game off the bench.

Jeremy Price also responded well to coming off the bench for the first time this season. The senior forward had 11 points and five rebounds, including consecutive baskets during an early run as Georgia pulled away.

“We needed to bounce back from that (Tennessee game),” Price said. “We knew that we needed to. At practice (Fox) said some things that kind of fired us up.”

The result was a second straight 22-point win of a team from Mississippi. The week before Georgia won 98-76 at Mississippi.

Earlier this season, without Thompkins, Georgia barely beat Mississippi Valley State by two. But now it heads into Tuesday’s home game against Florida with a chance to be in first place in the SEC East.

“We’ve had a couple of tough days. Coach got on us a lot,” Thompkins said. “And we had to step up to the challenge that he gave us. And we did. I’m proud of my team.”

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