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Competition gets tougher as Georgia travels to Wake Forest

Oct 19, 2022; Mountain Brook, AL, USA; Georgia head coach Mike White speaks during the SEC Tip Off 2022-23 Men's Basketball Media Day in Mountain Brook Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022 at Grand Bohemian Hotel.

Basketball Sec Men S Basketball Media Day
Credit: Gary Cosby Jr. / USA TODAY NETWORK

Mike White got a win in his first game as the Georgia coach but a second victory figures to be tougher to come by when his Bulldogs visit Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C., on Friday night — one of two matchups pitting the Atlantic Coast Conference against the Southeastern Conference that night.

“An ACC road game in Game 2,” White said. “It’s not ideal, but an opportunity at the same time. They’re playing us early, too. We’ll find out really soon exactly where we’re at with our level of competition.”

South Carolina hosting Clemson is the other SEC-ACC matchup.

Georgia (1-0) opened with a 68-55 victory over Western Carolina to provide a successful debut for White, who spent the previous seven seasons as head coach at Florida. The media’s pick for 13th in the 14-team SEC, the Bulldogs return their leading scorer from last season in guard Kario Oquendo.

Oquendo, an all-SEC second-team pick two seasons ago, scored 18 points in the opener. Frank Anselem, a transfer from Syracuse, with 11 points was the only other Bulldog in double figures as Georgia had to fend off Western Carolina’s second-half rally after leading by 15 at halftime.

“We’ve got a little fight to us,” White said. “We’ve got to have a lot more fight to win in our league, of course, and we’ve got to execute better.”

Picked to finish ninth in the 15-team ACC, Wake Forest (1-0) opened with a 71-59 victory over Fairfield. Four players scored in double figures with Delaware transfer Andrew Carr, East Tennessee State transfer Daivien Williamson, and sophomore Cameron Hildreth scoring 14 points each. Freshman Bobi Klintman added 11.

Third-year coach Steve Forbes liked his team’s defense after it held Fairfield to less than 39-percent shooting and forced 13 turnovers. The Deacons had seven stops over the final four minutes of the first half and never trailed again.

“We didn’t get off to a great start offensively,” Forbes said, “but we didn’t let our offense dictate how we defended, and that kept us in the game.”

–Field Level Media