COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 22 points, including a key 3-pointer late, as Georgia fended off a desperate rally by Texas A&M to defeat the Aggies 59-52 on Saturday.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope went head-to-head with Texas A&M's Elston Turner on Saturday night and led the Bulldogs to a road victory. (Photo by Texas A&M Athletics)
Georgia (8-11, 2-4) posted its first road win of the season in beating the Aggies (12-7, 2-4), who dropped their fourth straight conference game after winning at Kentucky early in the league schedule.
Caldwell-Pope led all scorers and was the only Georgia player in double figures. Nine Bulldogs scored overall, a fact that was not lost on head coach Mark Fox.
"It's great to win on the road, but especially in league play, and I was really proud of our guys and the way they kept their composure," Fox said. "I thought we played extremely well offensively in the second half and got big contributions from a lot of people. Tonight was an important step in the growth of our young team."
The Bulldogs spent much of the first half shooting free throws to grab a 27-23 advantage at intermission. They made just nine of 22 field-goal attempts in the first period, yet made 13 of 16 free throws.
Georgia used a 16-2 run to seize control early in the second half. Twelve of the 16 points came from 3-point range, including two from Sherrard Brantley and one each from Caldwell-Pope and Vincent Williams.
Freshman Kenny Gaines gave Georgia its largest lead of the night at 48-31 on a press-breaking layup with 10:20 left.
The margin remained comfortably wide for the Bulldogs until the final seven minutes. Texas A&M cut the deficit back into single digits at 50-41 on a 3-pointer by Fabyon Harris at the 7:04 mark. He followed a Caldwell-Pope miss with another jumper with 5:58 left.
Things got really interesting when A&M turned up its full-court pressure in the waning minutes. Harris intercepted a Brantley pass in rear court and sank a 3-pointer that pulled the Aggies within 52-48 with 3:59 left.
After the teams traded empty trips, Georgia turned to its offensive leader to right its struggling offense. Caldwell-Pope connected from 21 feet with 2:10 left, giving the Bulldogs a 55-48 lead.
Still, victory was not secured until a tip-in by Donte' Williams -- his only bucket of the game -- with 26 seconds left, putting Georgia ahead 57-52.
"I thought our kids showed a lot of character and composure late in the game," Fox said. "We turned it over a couple of times and that allowed Texas A&M back in the game. But we responded with some really big plays near the end. It was just a great win for our guys."
Caldwell-Pope made 8-of-12 shots and finished with a stat line of: 22 points, nine rebounds and two steals. Texas A&M star Elston Turner went head-to-head much of the game with Caldwell-Pope and scored 19 to lead the Aggies.
Georgia resumes its SEC schedule at 7 p.m. Wednesday against Auburn in Stegeman Coliseum.
Courtesy of UGA Sports Communications