The past two games have been quite frustrating for Georgia coach Tom Crean.
On Saturday, his Bulldogs blew an 18-point lead before falling to then-No. 20 Arizona State, and Tuesday night against Oakland, the Bulldogs found themselves in danger of enduring a similar fate.
This time, however, Georgia didn’t fold, making sure an early 17-point advantage stood up in an 81-69 win over Golden Grizzlies in Athens, Ga.
Early in the second half, Georgia’s big lead almost disappeared after a trio of 3-pointers by Tray Maddox, Jaevin Cumberland and Braden Norris brought the Golden Grizzlies within 51-48.
Oakland (4-8) also climbed within 66-64 with 4:56 to play on a layup by Xavier Hill-Mais.
However, that would be as close the Oakland would get. The Bulldogs responded with a 10-0 run, highlighted by four points from Nicolas Claxton and a 3-pointer by Teshaun Hightower that put Georgia up 76-64 with 2:02 to play.
Four players finished in double figures for the Bulldogs (6-4), led by Claxton and Rayshaun Hammonds with 17 points each. Hightower had 16, and Turtle Jackson scored 14.
Oakland was led by Hill-Mais with 21 points, followed by Cumberland with 14, Norris with 13 and Maddox with 12.
For the second time in as many games, the Bulldogs put together a solid first half in jumping out to 45-34 lead.
It was Jackson who had the hot hand.
The senior from Athens came into play converting a mere 7 of 20 3-point attempts, but against the Golden Grizzlies, he hit four on his first five tries. His 12 points would lead the Bulldogs’ first-half effort.
However, despite Jackson’s heroics, Oakland was able to hang around.
Trailing 37-20 with 6:39 left in the half, the Golden Grizzlies went on a 9-2 run to close within 39-29 on a layup by Maddox with 2:30 left in the half.
The Bulldogs would answer with a 6-0 spurt to go up 45-29 before Oakland tallied the final five points of the half to go into the locker room down 11.
—Field Level Media