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Rejuvenated Georgia takes aim at visiting Rider

Feb. 5, 2022; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs guard Kario Oquendo (3) drives against the Auburn Tigers at Stegeman Coliseum. Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via USA TODAY NETWORK

Ncaa Basketball Auburn At Georgia

The Georgia Bulldogs will look to close their nonconference schedule with their sixth win in seven games against the visiting Rider Broncs on Wednesday in Athens, Ga.

The Bulldogs (9-3) haven’t played since rallying for a 72-65 win over visiting Chattanooga on Dec. 21. Rider (5-5) hasn’t played since Dec. 22, when the Broncs knocked off visiting Marist 77-71 for their fourth win in their past five games.

Georgia already has easily surpassed its win total from last year and is off to a strong start under first-year coach Mike White, who arrived after leading Florida for seven seasons. He replaced Tom Crean, who was let go after the Bulldogs went 6-26 last season.

Georgia’s Kario Oquendo scored 22 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:48 remaining, to lift the Bulldogs over the Mocs.

Oquendo, who averages a team-high 14 points per game, shot 7 of 11 from the field, including 2 of 5 from 3-point range, to go along with two steals. Terry Roberts, the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game, added 14 points and six assists.

Braelen Bridges chipped in 12 points and two steals, with Jailyn Ingram finishing with 10 points off the bench.

The Bulldogs ended the game on a 17-5 run after trailing 60-55 with 6:19 left.

“Resilience and mental toughness, a little bit of poise but we need a lot more poise,” White said. “Really proud of the fight down the stretch. The confidence and swagger offensively down the stretch of Kario Oquendo, I thought he was fantastic.”

Rider saw its nine-point lead with 13:28 remaining cut to 67-66 with 2:51 to go before ending the game on a 10-5 run.

Mervin James, who averages 12.2 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game, had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Allen Betrand added a team-high 19 points to go along with two rebounds and two steals. Dwight Murray Jr., who averages a team-high 19.3 points per game, added 17 points and five rebounds.

Zahrion Blue came off the bench to score seven points, including four in the second half, to go along with four rebounds.

“I’ve been preaching we have to get more productivity off the bench,” Rider coach Kevin Baggett said. “The better we are with the guys on the bench, the better we are as a team.”

–Field Level Media