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Georgia men's basketball holds off Bowling Green
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ATHENS — Despite Mark Fox’s expectations of an improving frontcourt, Georgia had to rely on its guard play in a 63-54 victory over Bowling Green on Sunday night.

Georgia’s coach said that his frontcourt is improving, though it was hard to tell it by the statistics. Bowling Green out-rebounded Georgia 43-28 Sunday, but the Bulldogs relied on their senior guards to pull away in the first round of the Progressive CBE Classic.

"I think our frontcourt improved," Fox said. "We did not rebound it well, but they are getting better."

The Bulldogs held off the surging Falcons late by hitting 10 of 15 free throws over the final 3:15.

"We were not nervous at all," said senior guard Gerald Robinson, who led Georgia with 15 points. "We are a very good free throw shooting team. We work hard just to perfect that craft."

"We were relaxed," said the other senior guard, Dustin Ware. It was Robinson and Ware who found themselves on the line late. "We go through situations every day. We put ourselves in those scenarios."

Georgia (2-0) got 11 second-half points from freshman wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, stymied in the first half by early foul trouble.

"I got frustrated with those two fouls," said Caldwell-Pope. "My game went away from me. I put my head down in the first quarter. I came back in the second half pretty strong. I got a little more comfortable with my offense and started playing defense well and let it flow."

Dee Brown led Bowling Green (1-1) with 15 points, and Scott Thomas added 11. A’uston Calhoun led the strong rebounding with 11.

Georgia’s last field goal in the game came with 4:45 to play when Caldwell-Pope drove the baseline for a layup punctuated by a free throw that gave the Bulldogs a 53-43 lead.

A three-point play by Brown with 2:49 to go pulled Bowling Green (1-1) within five, 53-48. The Falcons then chose to put the Bulldogs on the line, but were never as close as five points again. Robinson made nine of 11 free throws in the game.

"We made immature plays," summarized Fox, "but we’re an immature team. We need to grow up fast."

With a frontline dominated by freshmen, inexperienced sophomores and transfers, Fox relies on Robinson and Ware.

"Both are winners and very patient with our young guys," he said. "We rely on them so much. They did not do it all great, but they were good."

Bowling Green coach Louis Orr said, "We competed, and that’s first and foremost. We had 19 offensive rebounds but only 18 points in the paint, so that hurt us not being able to score more inside.

"Georgia has strong guards, a big, physical frontcourt, and they’re a very good defensive team. Give them credit. They make you earn what you get."

The format of the Progressive CBE Classic guarantees each team four games. Georgia hosts South Dakota State on Wednesday. Bowling Green hosts Austin Peay Nov. 21 in its second game.

In the first half, Bowling Green was as close as 18-17 with 9:18 remaining after a jumper by forward Craig Sealey. But the Bulldogs clamped down on the Falcons, holding them to two field goals the rest of the half. By the time Scott Thomas hit a jumper with 2:29 to go in the half, Georgia was up 29-20.

During the Bulldogs’ 11-1 run, no single Georgia player scored more than one field goal. Georgia led 33-22 at the half despite being out-rebounded by the Falcons 25-13 at intermission.

Georgia scored five quick points to start the second half, taking its largest lead of the game at 38-22 after a 3-pointer by Ware. The Bulldogs still led by 13 at 44-31 with 14:54 to play after Nemanja Djurisic’s basket.

But the Falcons closed the gap. Sealey accounted for a field goal and two free throws during a 12-4 comeback that made it 48-43 with 7:16 to go. Then came Brown’s three-point play to set up the finish.

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