Georgia men’s basketball was unable to stop the bleeding on Saturday night, losing a fifth straight contest to Arkansas 78-75 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Georgia fell to 14-10, 4-7 SEC and Arkansas improved to 12-11, 3-7 SEC.
Georgia trailed for most of the game but clawed its way back and took a late lead for the first time since leading 19-17 early in the first half. After a few minutes of back-and-forth scoring to close out the game, a missed shot ended Georgia’s hopes of securing a comeback win.
Trailing 74-72, freshman guard Silas Demary Jr. stole the ball from Arkansas, leading to a quick run in transition with guard Justin Hill as the ball handler. Hill passed up a high-percentage shot in the paint and kicked it out to an open Jabri Abdur-Rahim in the corner for three. The shot missed, and Georgia had to play the foul game with 23 seconds remaining, unable to hit a last-second Hail Mary.
Demary Jr. ended the game with a team-high 19 points, coupled with three assists, two steals and only one turnover. Hill contributed 18 points for the Bulldogs, and Russel Tchewa was Georgia’s third and final double-digit scorer with 10.
Georgia’s 14 turnovers proved costly during the game, leading to 21 Arkansas points. After the game, head coach Mike White acknowledged the lack of ball control.
“Our live ball turnovers hurt us,” White said.
Another issue Georgia faced throughout the contest was its trouble defending in the post. Arkansas finished with 42 points in the paint and was awarded 26 free throws throughout the game.
“It’s just been a huge deficiency of ours all year,” White said. “We don’t alter many shots, we don’t block many shots and that’s why our margin for error defensively on the perimeter is pretty slim.”
Georgia shot well overall, but an inability to make three-pointers killed the team. After a 1-12 first-half showing from long range, Georgia finished the contest making only four of its 22 attempts.
Abdur-Rahim had another poor night shooting, but White was impressed with his play elsewhere.
“I thought Jabri played really hard,” White said. “I thought he was really active at the top of our 1-3-1 [zone], I thought he was flying around. [It] wasn’t his night shooting the ball, but that’s going to happen.”
Georgia switched to a 1-3-1 zone on defense at times throughout the contest, searching for defensive stops when they were tough to come up with. White said he doesn’t typically enjoy playing zone but was looking for a solution.
“I didn’t anticipate having to zone with this team,” White said. “Early in the season, our defensive numbers were really, really good and the SEC has exposed us a little bit.”
Georgia gets a week off before returning home to take on the Florida Gators on Saturday, Feb. 17 in Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia will be desperately trying to end its five-game losing streak but faces a tough Florida team.