Season openers are expected to look a little ragged, especially for a team needing to replace more than half of last year’s scoring and rebounding.
Georgia showed plenty of room for improvement in a 62-49 win against Wofford on Friday at Stegeman Coliseum.
Freshman guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a team-high 15 points, while senior guard Dustin Ware had 14 points and fellow senior Gerald Robinson added 11. Sophomore forward Donte’ Williams had a career-high 13 points and three blocked shots.
“We knew Wofford was a good team and they weren’t going to make it easy,” Ware said. “We’re definitely glad we got the win and started off on the right note.”
Georgia lost four of its top six scorers and rebounders from last year, so Friday was the first time most of the squad played extended minutes. The first half looked especially sloppy as Georgia only hit 10 of 30 (33 percent) from the field and two-time defending Southern Conference champion Wofford (0-1) outrebounded the Bulldogs 24-14. Despite the poor shooting and reboundings, Georgia hit 5 of 15 from the 3-point line and only had one turnover to take a 30-21 halftime lead.
“In the first half we were excited, we were three-happy,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “I think we shot 15 threes in the first half. But in the first possession of the second half, the ball went inside. We got outrebounded terribly in the first half, but the second half we did much better and ended up winning it for the game.”
Caldwell-Pope scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half. He hit 5 of 12 from the field, including 2 of 3 from the 3-point line, and added four rebounds and a steal in 33 minutes.
“They tried to play a lot more help defense on me (in the second half),” Caldwell-Pope said. “They tried to play really close on me and tried to not give me a lot of space.”
The perimeter did most of the damage for Georgia. Starting forwards Marcus Thornton and Williams combined to shoot 2 of 10 from the field and scored five points. Reserve forward Nemanja Djurisic scored eight points and had four rebounds, all in the second half.
“I thought in the first half our ball care was tremendous,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We’re not finishing plays at the percentage I’d like. I didn’t expect this to be a thing of beauty with as many of our pieces missing as we have offensively. Our defense I thought was pretty sound most of the game. … It’s a win and certainly a good experience for our team.”
NOTES: Georgia hit 15 of 22 (68.2 percent) from the free-throw line. … Georgia finished the game with eight turnovers and 12 assists. … Jay Rome played for little less than a minute late in the game. … Connor Nolte missed the game with a strained hamstring.