After losing its opening game against Virginia Monday night, Georgia fell to Northwestern 78-62 in its second matchup of the Roman Legends Classic on Tuesday.
Turnovers remained a significant problem for the Bulldogs, and they could not slow down the Wildcats’ high-powered offense.
Georgia started slow offensively, not scoring its first points until the 16:30 mark of the first half. Despite a few shots falling for the Bulldogs early, they created plenty of open looks.
The Bulldogs repeatedly left Northwestern open from the 3-point line. The unit struggled to fight through screens, and the Wildcats capitalized from behind the arc, shooting 8-17 from three in the half.
After a 14-4 scoring run from Northwestern, head coach Tom Crean was forced to call a timeout with 8:48 left in the first half. The scoring struggles continued for the team as they shot 8% from three and 23% from the field to end the first half. With its poor shooting, Georgia went into the locker room at halftime down 43-23.
“I’m not worried about the shooting, I think that will come. We shoot too well in practice and it’s just a matter of getting some rhythm,” Crean said.
One of Georgia’s key contributors, Braelen Bridges, started with two quick baskets but picked up his fourth foul with 17:13 left in regulation, forcing him to sit for the majority of the second half.
Georgia began to pick up some rhythm on the offensive end of the floor after a posterizer dunk from Kario Oquendo, and an and-one finish from Jailyn Ingram gave the team energy.
The Bulldogs shot the ball significantly better in the second half, outsourcing their first-half point total of 23 in fewer than 10 minutes. Northwestern got out to a 62-45 lead, but the Bulldogs started to tighten the margin. Georgia brought the score within 10 after a corner three from Christian Wright, and a putback from Jabri Abdur-Rahim forced a Northwestern timeout.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were not able to take advantage of Northwestern’s scoring drought. Both teams began to exchange baskets in the final few minutes, but the Wildcats closed out the game by knocking down multiple shots from the foul line.
“We did a good job even when we’re missing shots of making the next pass. We’ve got to have an aggressive locked-in defense that talks better,” Crean said. “We didn’t show the commitment to intensity and urgency in the first half like we needed to, but we certainly showed it in the second half.”