Dawgs thrash Wake to jumpstart season

Dennis Felton

ATHENS – In the first 26 minutes of Saturday's game against Wake Forest, Georgia turned the ball over 21 times. In the next 14, it did it five times.

It's no coincidence, then, the final 14 minutes were the highlight for the Bulldogs, who raced away from Wake Forest in a 72-50 victory in front of 7,800 fans in Stegeman Coliseum.

"That was one of the main topics of discussion at halftime," said head coach Dennis Felton, whose team gave the ball away 18 times in the first half, "and we did better in the second half."

It was the second-largest margin of victory on the season for Georgia, which beat the Demon Deacons (5-3) by just one point last year.

"I thought it was going to be a close game," said sophomore forward Albert Jackson, who returned from a six-game suspension and contributed four points and three rebounds. "Coming out here and dominating somebody like that is great. Your confidence can only go up after that."

Georgia's defense wasn't nearly as streaky as its offense, and it kept Wake Forest at arm's length even through the scoreless stretches. The Demons Deacons (5-3) shot 31 percent from the field, including 19 percent from 3-point range, and only hit 50 percent of their free throws.

"I was very, very, very pleased about what we did on defense," Felton said. "They are a team that is hard to control in transition, and we did that. To hold them to 50 points and 31 percent shooting is a really good day."

Wake Forest also chipped in 20 turnovers, which led to 27 Bulldog points.

"When we play our defense and do the things Coach Felton tells us to do, it's very hard to beat our defense," said Terrance Woodbury, who finally provided the offensive spark that got Georgia going.

The two teams had combined to score four points through the first six minutes of the second half when Woodbury got the Bulldogs started with a 3-pointer to put his team up 39-31 with 13:56 left in the game. Georgia outscored the Demon Deacons 36-19 from there.

"It was a big, big three to kind of stem the tide and get us going again," Felton said. "Terrence had an excellent game, and it started with his defense. He had one of the best defensive games of his career."

Woodbury and Sundiata Gaines led the Bulldogs (6-1) with 15 points each. Woodbury added five assists and a steal, while Gaines had nine rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Billy Humphrey and Jeremy Price each had 10 points, and backup point guard Zac Swansey contributed eight points, five assists and two steals.

Georgia now heads to Hawaii for the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, where it will start the tournament by playing East Tennessee State on Dec. 20.

NOTE: Freshman forward Jeremy Jacob will be out a month after breaking his right foot.

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