University of Georgia

Georgia’s basketball team gets a minor rebound

ATHENS -- It was the first victory of the season, and the first thing Mark Fox wanted to talk about was the first loss, four days before.

Yes, Georgia’s 80-70 win over Stony Brook was nice: first home game, five players in double figures and a lot of things that went right.

“We should feel good about it. I don’t feel great, because I feel like last week I let everyone down,” Fox said. “Last week’s loss felt like 20 losses. So now it feels like 19.”

He was referring to the season opener at Georgia Tech, an unfortunate loss for a Georgia team hoping to avoid another bad non-conference performance. Fox was asked what he meant by letting everyone down.

“Me. Me. Because we didn’t play well enough,” Fox said. “I couldn’t get us to calm down. That’s my job. That loss is on me. Period.”

Georgia trailed by as many as 16 in the first half at Georgia Tech, a deficit that proved too much to overcome. There was another early deficit Tuesday against Stony Brook, which led 13-5, but this time the Bulldogs turned things around quickly.

The Bulldogs took their first lead, 22-20, on a layup by Charles Mann. They never trailed again, leading by as many as 23.

It was a much better showing for the Bulldogs, as three players came close to double-doubles: Mann (16 points and nine rebounds), Nemanja Djurisic (11 points and eight rebounds) and Marcus Thornton (10 points and nine rebounds).

Shooting guard Kenny Gaines, slowed by the aftereffects of mononucleosis on Friday, played 27 minutes and had 13 points.

“I’m still trying to get back to 100 (percent),” Gaines said. “I feel like I’m around 80, 85. I do have some progression to go, but I’m feeling good.”

And freshman power forward Yante Maten, who had a quiet game against Georgia Tech’s front line, had 11 points and four blocked shots against Stony Brook.

“I know what to expect now,” Maten said. “Before I was a little blind to the physicality of the college post athlete in the post.”

The main concern was that Stony Brook’s Carson Puriefoy had 21 points in the first half (although he had only four in the second half). It was the continuation of an early season trend: another team’s outside shooter hurting Georgia.

Georgia Tech’s Stevens had Quinton Stephens had 22 points, including six 3s. In an exhibition game, Georgia Southwestern’s Damien Leonard had 25 points, including five 3s.

Georgia’s offense was enough to overcome it Tuesday.

“We played with composure and poise, offensively. If we had played that way last week, we’d have won by 12,” Fox said. “But we didn’t. It took a loss to get us to understand we have to play that way.”