Gaines, Georgia beat Texas A&M 62-53
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Georgia coach Mark Fox lost his voice on Wednesday, at the same time his Bulldogs continued finding their footing in Southeastern Conference play.
Kenny Gaines scored 15 points, on 6-of-12 shooting, and Charles Mann added 14 to help Georgia beat Texas A&M 62-53 on Wednesday night.
''We're fighting with Texas A&M and several others to be in the top half of the league,'' said Georgia assistant coach Philip Pearson, who sat in for a raspy Fox in the postgame press conference. ''We've got a lot of games to play, but this one was big for us, no doubt.''
The game was tied midway through the second half before the Bulldogs reeled off eight consecutive points, including a 3-pointer by Taylor Echols, to lead 51-43 with 6:46 remaining. Georgia later took a 55-51 lead with 43 seconds remaining when Gaines sank a 3-pointer from the left corner to put away the Aggies, who have won seven of their last nine.
Georgia (16-7, 7-4) has won two straight following a two-game losing streak. The Bulldogs are now 4-0 all-time against the Aggies, in a series that only dates to 2013. Texas A&M (16-7, 7-4) committed nearly twice as many turnovers (13) as Georgia (seven).
The Bulldogs had committed 36 turnovers in their two previous games, and Wednesday's clean showing marked a season low in turnovers.
''That was huge,'' Pearson said.
Alex Caruso led Texas A&M with 20 points, while Danuel House added 14.
''They did a good job of being the more physical team and imposing their will when they wanted to,'' Caruso said of the Bulldogs. ''We're going to take these negatives and turn them into positives.''
The negatives were plenty for A&M, including the normally reliable Caruso responsible for five of the miscues. Georgia outscored A&M 15-2 in points off of turnovers, and 12-2 off the bench. A&M's 22 points over the final 20 minutes were the least by a Georgia opponent in the second half this season.
''We're still a team growing and figuring things out,'' Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy said. ''We haven't had that kind of adversity in a while.''
The Bulldogs prevailed despite shooting 6 of 24 from the 3-point line (25 percent), including 4-of-15 in the first half.
''We felt like in the first half we got a little bit three-happy,'' Pearson said. ''A&M forces you to shoot the three because its defense is so good around the inside.''
While the Bulldogs only committed seven turnovers, senior forward Marcus Thornton was responsible for three of those. Thornton, in his second game back after missing two games with a concussion, finished with five points and eight rebounds in 29 minutes. . The Bulldogs made 12 of 16 free throws (75 percent), including 6-of-7 in the second half (85.7 percent) to keep the Aggies at a distance.
Texas A&M guard Danuel House banged his head and spent part of the first half in the locker room receiving a concussion test. He returned in the first half, and wound up playing 31 of the 40 minutes.
''To hold A&M to 34 percent shooting in the second half was big for us, and probably the difference in the game. We just really got down and got with it, and got our sneakers squeaking.'' - Georgia assistant coach Philip Pearson. The Aggies shot 34.8 percent (8 of 23) from the field in the second half, after connecting on 45.8 percent (11 of 24) of their shots in the first half.
Georgia plays host to Auburn on Saturday.
Texas A&M plays host to Florida on Saturday.