BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Freshman Shabazz Muhammad scored 14 of his game-high 21 points in the second half as 11th-ranked UCLA overcame a double-digit deficit to outlast Georgia 60-56 in the Progressive Legends Classic on Tuesday night.
Georgia, for the second consecutive night, led a nationally ranked team throughout the first half and also for much of the second period. The Bulldogs (1-4) were led in scoring by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who had 16 points. Seven other Georgia players scored, including three with 8 points: Donte' Williams, Nemanja Djurisic and reserve John Cannon.
But like Monday night's game against No. 1 Indiana, Georgia allowed the opponent to seize control down the stretch and get a victory.
The Bruins (4-1) wound up shooting 30 free throws (making 20) to a 6-for-10 clip for the Bulldogs (1-4).
"It was a tough, hard-fought game again," UGA coach Mark Fox said. "But for the second night in a row, in the gut of the game, the other team made the big plays and we didn't. UCLA's zone defense was effective. Give them credit for that. We just didn't execute well against it, particularly in the second half. We also were outscored by a wide margin at the free throw line. And in such a low-scoring game, that was the difference."
Georgia took quick command of this game, bolting to an early lead on buckets by Djurisic and Williams. A pair of foul shots by Williams with 7:40 left got the Bulldogs their first double-figure lead at 22-12. Their largest margin of the half came on a turnaround jumper by Cannon that boosted them in front 30-19 at the 3:31 mark.
UCLA, however, wasted little time gaining an even foothold in the second period. Muhammed scored on the Bruins' first two possessions, and a 3-pointer by Normal Powell with 16:43 left put UCLA ahead for the first time at 35-33.
The Bruins built their lead to five before Georgia mounted a rally to reclaim command. A jumper by reserve guard Charles Mann put the Bulldogs back in front at 44-42 with 10:04 left.
UCLA broke a 49-all tie and took the lead for good on a jumper by Travis Wear with 4;38 left. A key moment for Georgia came with the Bulldogs trailing 55-52, when Caldwell-Pope lost balance and fired a pass that was intercepted. UCLA converted the turnover into foul shots by Powell with 57 seconds left.
Georgia will resume their 2012-13 season this Friday at home against East Tennessee State. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.
ARTICLE COURTESY OF UGA SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS