Georgia whipped Charleston Southern 79-59 in front of 6,871 fans in Stegeman Coliseum. The Bulldogs were coming off a two-point win over South Alabama and a five-point win over slumping Clemson.
“This was a game we were determined to pull away,” said senior forward Chris Daniels, who had his third straight double-double. “We were determined to finish it.”
Georgia improved to 7-2. It now has eight days off before playing at No. 16 Pittsburgh on Dec. 30. Then it gets No. 4 Georgia Tech at home on Jan. 3, four days before the conference schedule starts.
“We’ve got to come in with a strong mind-set,” Daniels said.
Coach Dennis Felton said he doesn’t want his team to worry too much about the opponent in the upcoming weeks.
“We really do try to treat every game the same,” he said. “Hopefully, you have one of those teams that plays at a consistent level no matter who the opponent is.”
Jonas Hayes led the Bulldogs with 17 points on six of nine shooting. Rashad Wright and Damien Wilkins each added 14.
Daniels had his sixth double-double of the year, with 10 points and 13 rebounds. He also had four assists, a block and a steal.
Georgia saw a 10-point lead cut to three midway through the second half. The Bulldogs seemed to be pulling away with 14:43 remaining when freshman Steve Newman scored inside and was fouled. His free throw put Georgia ahead 40-30.
However, the Buccaneers (2-7) scored eight of the next 11 points and trailed just 41-38 when Trent Drafts scored over Hayes and hit a subsequent foul shot with 12:28 remaining.
Then Georgia found its stride. The Bulldogs scored on 14 of their next 17 possessions and took a 74-50 lead when Buzz Wehunt hit two free throws with 3:11 remaining Felton attributed the offensive success to his team “getting settled down and running team offense.” The Bulldogs shot 39 percent in the first half but rebounded to hit 53.6 percent of their shots in the second half.
“We started getting the ball inside a little bit,” Daniels said.
Georgia outscored Charleston Southern 34-16 in the paint and had 40 rebounds to the Buccaneers’ 28.
“Georgia beats you underneath the basket,” Charleston Southern coach Jim Platt said. “They are a very big, strong and athletic team. If you let them get the ball in good position, they are going to bury you.”