Williams scored nine of his career-high 17 points and Djurisic scored 12 of his 14 after halftime as the Bulldogs pulled away from a Jackrabbits team (1-2) that gave Tubby Smith’s Minnesota club all it wanted Monday night before the Golden Gophers pulled away for a 71-55 win.
“They were very well coached. They shoot the ball well. They compete for 40 minutes and I was impressed with their team,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We knew coming in that we would have to play 40 minutes. We came into the game hoping to just really, really wear them down with the use of a lot of bodies, and I think we probably did that. We didn’t play exceptionally well throughout the game, but we did play very hard. It’s a good win for this team to continue to build on.”
Wearing them down might have been the plan, but it took nearly the entire game for it to work. Georgia (3-0) was ice cold on offense at the start, was outdone on rebounding 25-21 in the first half, and the Jackrabbits led by as many as seven points in the opening 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs steadily rallied to tie the score at 29 at intermission and took the lead for good when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's 3-pointer with 14:10 to play put them ahead 43-40.
Georgia outdid South Dakota State on rebounding, 20-15, in the second half and used many of those rebounds to create fast-break opportunities -- the Bulldogs outscored the Jackrabbits 11-2 on the break. Finally, the Jackrabbits were worn out in the final minutes.
“It seemed like the whole game they were just coming at us until like the last three minutes,” Williams said. “Probably the last three minutes, you could tell they were getting tired.”
Oddly enough, 6-foot-8 plodder Djurisic played a key role in several of those fast breaks. He was 6-for-8 from the floor in the second half after getting off to a sluggish start offensively.
“I should have stopped [shooting outside] earlier and tried to get more buckets inside and get more confidence and then start shooting again,” Djurisic said. “I made a mistake, but I got back in the second half.”
Williams’ career scoring high before Wednesday was five points. He added seven rebounds and four blocked shots. He was one of four Bulldogs in double figures, along with Djurisic, Gerald Robinson (15) and Caldwell-Pope (14). Marcus Thornton had seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Georgia senior Dustin Ware, who missed practice time while attending his grandfather’s funeral in Alabama, was scoreless on 0-for-4 shooting.
SDSU’s Nate Wolters scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half, while Taevaunn Prince finished with 13 and nine rebounds. Chad White added 10 points.
Other notes and quotes:
The schedule is about to get much more difficult for Georgia. The Bulldogs will leave Stegeman for the first time to play more CBE Classic games next week in Kansas City, Mo. Up first is California next Monday, followed by a game Tuesday against either Missouri or Notre Dame. The Bulldogs will then visit Xavier and Colorado before returning home to host Cincinnati on Dec. 2.