Various circumstances have left the Bulldogs reliant mostly on scoring from their guards in the last four-plus seasons, but Georgia’s interior players made a welcome appearance Saturday night in Stegeman Coliseum.
Their contribution paved the way for an 82-69 win over Arkansas in front of 8,322 fans that pushed the Bulldogs to 11-5 overall and 2-1 in the SEC. Georgia, which has a week off before facing SEC East leader Tennessee on Saturday, improved to 10-0 at home.
“It kind of put our guards at ease a little,” center Dave Bliss said of the addition of an inside presence. “When we have a post attack, I think we’re pretty good offensively. When (defenses) are respecting that we will throw it into the post, they will be honest more. I thought we did a good job of sharing the ball and playing like a team, and that really helped feed our offense.”
When the Bulldogs’ post play began to draw attention, shooting guard and leading scorer Billy Humphrey took over, tying his career high with 24 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
“Billy has been playing real good for us, and he especially threw it in there to me, and I was able to score, and when that happens you get confidence in your outside shot,” Bliss said.
Coming into Saturday’s game, Georgia was getting 24 percent of its points from its forwards and centers. That group had 35 percent against the Razorbacks, including 50 percent in the first half.
Fifteen of Georgia’s first 18 points came from Bliss and forwards Jeremy Price, Chris Barnes and Albert Jackson. That group also contributed 14 rebounds and eight blocked shots for the game.
“We really moved the ball well as a team and made extra plays,” Felton said. “I thought that had the most to say about having a good offensive rhythm the rest of the game. We got really, really quality looks all around because we moved it.”
The Bulldogs shot 50.9 percent from the floor, their best percentage in conference play this year. They led 34-27 at halftime and stayed at least six points ahead throughout the second half, leading by as many as 19.
Price had 14 points and five rebounds, and point guard Sundiata Gaines had 14 points and four assists, which moved him to fourth all-time in career assists at Georgia with 404.
Arkansas, which was led by Charles Thomas’ 14 points, solidified its spot as the worst 3-point shooting team in the SEC, missing 9-of-11. The Razorbacks fell to 13-5 overall and 1-2 in the league.
“I thought Georgia played outstanding,” Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey said. “We didn’t play very well.”