Dec. 20, 2011
ATHENS --- Gerald Robinson scored 20 points, including 12 in the second half, as Georgia broke open a tight game and defeated Mercer 72-58 in a non-conference basketball game here Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs (6-5) also got 11 points apiece from Connor Nolte, who matched his career high at UGA, and junior guard Vincent Williams, who surpassed his career best. The team's leading scorer, freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was saddled with early foul trouble and finished with eight points. Mercer (7-5) was led in scoring by Langston Hall with 16 points.
''That was certainly a very hard-fought win for us,'' Georgia coach Mark Fox said. ''I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mercer. They're a well-coached team and they have a lot of good players. I think our defense played very well tonight. We held them to eight points through 11 minutes of the second half, which is a great pace. We had a lot of players pitch in and contribute in the second half, and that's definitely the most satisfying aspect of the game for us.''
Mercer was able to forge an early lead in this game with Caldwell-Pope on the bench and the rest of the Bulldog offense in neutral. A short hook shot by Daniel Coursey with 11:19 left in the first half gave the Bears their largest lead at 16-8. Though the Bulldogs fought back to even the score, and even lead briefly, Mercer twice managed to take 4-point leads before halftime. The final time came 29-25 on a 3-pointer by Justin Cecil at the 2:21 mark.
Nolte, however, knotted the score at 30 on a right-corner trey with :02 left before halftime.
The Bulldogs gradually pulled away in the second period, needing six minutes to push their lead into double digits. Williams' 3-pointer with 13:59 left put Georgia ahead 44-33. Caldwell-Pope stole Mercer's next possession and dunked for a 13-point margin.
Georgia's lead reached its largest at 57-38 on two foul shots by Williams. Mercer then went on a 13-4 run to make things interesting in the final minutes. A 3-pointer by Jakob Gollon got the Bears with 61-51 with 4:13 left. Robinson, however, rescued Georgia with driving baskets on two straight possessions, and he assisted a Caldwell-Pope trey that pushed the Bulldog lead back to 15 at 68-53.
Georgia returns to action this Friday when it plays host to Furman in a 7:00 p.m. tipoff.