No. 11 UCLA hands Georgia men’s basketball team another heartbreaking loss

NEW YORK — For the second consecutive night, the Georgia men’s basketball team gave a top-25 opponent all it could handle.

And for the second straight night, the Bulldogs finished with a heartbreaking loss.

Shabazz Muhammad scored 20 points and No. 11 UCLA made enough free throws late to hold off Georgia for a 60-56 win Tuesday night in the consolation game of the Legends Classic tournament.

A night earlier, Georgia fell 66-53 to No. 1 Indiana.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Bulldogs (1-4) with 16 points and had eight rebounds on Tuesday. Marcus Thornton had 10 rebounds for Georgia.

In the final minutes of a mostly dreary game, UCLA (4-1) took the lead with Muhammad on the bench, on baskets by Travis Wear and Jordan Adams, but the hyped freshman re-entered with 1:58 left to play.

He made two free throws with 1:15 left, then scooped up a loose ball on the other end with a minute remaining and fed Norman Powell, who was fouled attempting a layup.

Wear finished with 10 points and eight rebounds for UCLA, and Kyle Anderson had nine rebounds and nine points.

The Bruins got the second half off to a bright start, tying the game at 30 on Travis Wear’s midrange jump shot.

Georgia’s Caldwell-Pope answered with a quick 3-pointer before UCLA took its first lead following two free throws and Norman Powell’s 3-pointer with less than four minutes gone.

UCLA spent most of the first half playing indifferent-looking defense and missing shots from outside. Georgia took an 11-point lead about 3½ minutes before the break, but the Bruins scored the period’s final six points, helped by Muhammad’s 3-pointer with 2:24 to go.

Earlier, Georgia outmuscled UCLA underneath, mostly finding Nemanja Djurisic for easy layups.

The play was not helped by the atmosphere. Empty seats outnumbered fans at the Barclays Center, and some of the fans were wearing Indiana gear, waiting for the Hoosiers’ appearance in the title game later in the evening.

Muhammad played 28 minutes in his first start of the season after playing as a reserve on Monday night in the Bruins’ 78-70 loss to unranked Georgetown. He appeared winded in the final five minutes of the game, and had to take a breather before coming back on for the final two minutes.

The 6-foot-6 Muhammad, one of the most highly sought after high school players last season, was declared eligible by the NCAA on Friday. In his first game, he finished with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting and was 2 of 4 from 3-point range in 25 minutes.

The NCAA said that UCLA’s sanctions against Muhammad were sufficient after the school required him to sit out three games and repay $1,600 in impermissible benefits. The NCAA and UCLA found that Muhammad accepted travel and lodging during three unofficial visits to Duke and North Carolina.

 

NO. 11 UCLA 60, GEORGIA 56

GEORGIA (1-4)

Caldwell-Pope 5-13 3-4 16, Thornton 0-3 0-2 0, V. Williams 1-5 0-0 3, D. Williams 3-5 2-2 8, Djurisic 4-9 0-0 8, Mann 2-5 1-2 5, Dixon 0-0 0-0 0, Gaines 0-2 0-0 0, Brantley 2-8 0-0 6, Morris 1-1 0-0 2, Cannon 4-8 0-0 8. Totals 22-59 6-10 56.

UCLA (4-1)

Powell 1-4 4-6 7, Anderson 4-7 1-2 9, Drew II 2-4 1-1 5, Muhammad 6-12 8-11 21, T. Wear 4-9 2-4 10, Smith 1-3 2-4 4, Adams 1-6 2-2 4, Parker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-45 20-30 60.

Halftime — Georgia 30-25. 3-Point Goals — Georgia 6-23 (Caldwell-Pope 3-8, Brantley 2-8, V. Williams 1-4, Thornton 0-1, Djurisic 0-2), UCLA 2-11 (Powell 1-2, Muhammad 1-2, Anderson 0-1, Drew II 0-2, Adams 0-4). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Georgia 34 (Thornton 10), UCLA 34 (Anderson 9). Assists — Georgia 15 (Mann 4), UCLA 5 (Anderson 3). Total Fouls — Georgia 20, UCLA 13. A — NA.

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