An early start meant early problems for Georgia on Thursday.
The Georgia men’s basketball team was 9 of 25 and committed eight turnovers in the first half of a 58-49 victory over Gardner-Webb.
“I thought our team had a little zombie look to them — couldn’t even pass and catch it cleanly to start the game,” Georgia coach Mark Fox
The 11:30 a.m. start was Georgia’s (5-4) earliest of the season and first before noon.
“I was real disappointed in our concentration and energy level. The sun had been up for hours,” Fox said. “…Our older guys played better. It was a sign of maturity. The young guys have to learn to play whatever time they tell you.”
Said guard Juwan Parker: “We were a little out of rhythm, a little sped-up. I guess the early game got to us a little bit but we finally calmed down and figured it out.”
Gardner-Webb (6-7) jumped out to a 4-0 lead before Nemanja Djurisic poured in eight points and three rebounds to help Georgia to a 21-12 lead at the break.
“I thought the ball stuck to our hands,” Fox said. “We weren’t moving quickly, we weren’t cutting quickly, I thought we looked exhausted at times. (It was) just one of those days.”
Gardner-Webb chipped away at Georgia’s lead in the second half, and pulled within one point with just over six and a half minutes left.
Georgia pulled down 46 rebounds, including 14 offensive rebounds, to help seal the win. Parker led Georgia with 12 points, nine rebounds and three steals.
“He rebounded the ball well, he defended, he finished plays offensively,” Fox said. “He started to get comfortable.”
Charles Mann saw significant playing time for the first time since scoring 14 points in Georgia’s win over Appalachian State in November. He played just nine minutes in a game against Chattanooga and missed Saturday’s win over Lipscomb with a bruised knee.
Mann played 32 minutes, scoring eight points and pulling in eight rebounds.
“I just thought, he’s rusty and if I disrupt the rhythm it’s just going to make it worse,” Fox said. “Let’s let him play and try to find a rhythm.”
Georgia has won five straight since starting the season 1-4 with losses to Georgia Tech, Davidson, Temple and Nebraska.
“(We) dug ourselves out of a hole, so now the fun begins,” Parker said. “We have to keep competing, keep playing hard so we don’t dig ourselves into a hole again.”
Georgia will host Western Carolina at 2 p.m. Saturday.