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Georgia holds off Western Carolina

Sportsnaut
Dec 20, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs guard Braelen Bridges (23) shoots against Western Carolina Catamounts forward Joe Petrakis (33) during the first half at Stegeman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 20, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs guard Braelen Bridges (23) shoots against Western Carolina Catamounts forward Joe Petrakis (33) during the first half at Stegeman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Kario Oquendo scored 21 points and Aaron Cook added 13 points and 12 assists to lead Georgia to an 85-79 victory over visiting Western Carolina in a nonconference game on Monday in Athens, Ga.

Braelen Bridges had 17 points and seven rebounds, and Dalen Ridgnal added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Bulldogs (5-6), who made 13 of their 14 free throws in the second half to secure the victory against the Catamounts (6-6).

Oquendo shot 6-for-13 from the field and 7-for-7 from the free-throw line and added seven rebounds, while Bridges went 5-for-7 from the field and 7-for-10 from the line, in addition to grabbing seven rebounds. Noah Baumann had a game-high 11 rebounds to go along with six points, with Cook going 5-for-8 from the field.

Western Carolina had four players score in double figures, led by Travion McCray’s 20 points and eight rebounds. Nicholas Robinson added 14 point, while Marvin Price had 13 and Vonterius Woolbright 12.

Georgia shot 44.6 percent (29-for-65) from the field and 34.6 percent (9-for-26) from 3-point range and outrebounded the Catamounts 48-38.

Western Carolina shot 41.9 percent (31-for-74), but it struggled mightily from 3-point range, making just 12 of 46 attempts (26.1 percent) from beyond the arc. The Catamounts also went just 5-for-11 from the free-throw line.

After McCray made three free throws to give the Catamounts a 62-61 lead with 7:49 left, the Bulldogs responded with 6-0 run to take a 67-62 lead they wouldn’t relinquish following Bridges’ 3-point play with 5:00 remaining.

Georgia tried to put the game away early by jumping out to a 24-13 lead with 8:06 remaining, but the Catamounts closed the half on a 20-11 run to pull to within 35-33 at halftime.

Ridgnal scored eight first-half points to lead the Bulldogs, who shot 41.9 percent (13-for-31) from the field and 30.8 percent (4-for-13) from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs would have held a larger advantage at halftime had they not missed half of their 10 free throws.

The Catamounts, who were led by McCray’s seven first-half points, struggled even more offensively. Western Carolina shot 34.2 percent (13-for-38) from the field, 20.8 percent (5-for-24) from 3-point range and missed four of its six free-throw attempts.

–Field Level Media