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Georgia Bulldogs Win NIT Opener

RELEASE FROM UGA SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS:

 

Georgia Downs Vermont, Advances to Second Round on Saturday

 

ATHENS, Ga.—The Georgia men's basketball team closed the game on a 14-2 run, advancing to the second round of the National Invitational Tournament with a 63-56 win over the Vermont Catamounts Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia (20-13) was led by Charles Mann and Marcus Thornton who scored 29 and 16 points, respectively—both career highs. Donte' Williams led Georgia on the boards with seven rebounds.

"That was a March game versus two very good teams," said head coach Mark Fox. "Let me start by complementing Vermont's team. I've never had more pleasure scouting an opponent than I did their team. They play the game the right way, they play it together, and they're experienced. They play the game in a way that I think everyone can appreciate, so I thought that we would have the games full and we did.

"In the first half I thought that our defense was terrific. I thought that in the second half, because Vermont was so good and because they're defense took a step back, that they wore us out for a period there in the second half. Then our crowd lifted us up. For a team that started slowly before Thanksgiving, this team decided to climb back in it and our fans have been right there with us. Tonight they helped lift us up and win it and that was a real difference in the game."

Three minutes into the second half, Vermont (22-11) embarked on a 21-2 run, taking a 47-39 lead when Hector Harold hit a three-pointer from the corner with nine minutes remaining in the game. Just a minute later, Georgia pulled to within two points, but the Catamounts quickly responded with five straight points to bolster their lead back to seven points.

However, Georgia stopped the Catamount momentum, closing the game on an 14-2 run, largely behind nine points from Mann, to secure its 20th win of the season and advance to the NIT second round.

In the first half, Georgia held Vermont without a field goal in the final four minutes, closing the half on a 7-1 to take a 29-20 lead into halftime. Georgia forced 11 first-half turnovers and limited the Catamounts to just 33 percent shooting from the field.

With tonight's win, Georgia has notched its 12th 20-win season in program history and just its second in the past 12 years.

Sandro Carissimo led Vermont with 11 points and five rebounds.

Georgia will host Louisiana Tech in the tournament's second round on Saturday at 11 a.m. For ticket information, visit Georgiadogs.com

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