Competing without its top player, Georgia leaned on its defense and rebounding to notch a 68-46 nonconference win over Florida A&M on Friday in Athens, Ga.
Mardrez McBride amassed 15 points, nine rebounds and four steals for the Bulldogs (7-2), who surpassed their win total from a 6-26 season in 2021-22. The result gave coach Mike White his 250th career victory.
Jabri Abdur-Rahim came off the bench to tally 14 points for Georgia, and Braelen Bridges chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds. The Bulldogs shot 48.1 percent from the field and controlled the boards 40-28, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds.
Jordan Chatman scored 12 points in a reserve role for Florida A&M (1-6). Jordan Tillmon added 10, but the Rattlers’ season-long scoring problems continued. Florida A&M came in averaging 55.8 points per game (next to last among 352 Division I teams) and didn’t hit that number, converting only 36 percent of its shots and turning the ball over 18 times.
Florida A&M’s leading scorer, Byron Smith, never got untracked. He made only 1 of 8 shots and finished with two points and five turnovers.
Georgia played without leading scorer Terry Roberts, who was declared out just before tipoff due to an undisclosed illness. In eight games, Roberts has averaged 14 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists and two steals.
Without the Bradley transfer, the Bulldogs turned to a combination of Bridges and McBride. Bridges, who had 21 points and 13 rebounds Wednesday night against Hampton in his first start of the season, scored 10 points in the first 13 minutes to help Georgia establish a 24-12 advantage.
Abdur-Rahim dunked off a turnover with 5:38 left in the half to make it 28-14, but the Bulldogs couldn’t quite put Florida A&M away. The Rattlers managed to do enough to hang around, holding Georgia to six points over the half’s remainder to draw within 34-23 at intermission.
Smith, the only double-figure scorer for Florida A&M entering the game, managed just one first-half bucket.
–Field Level Media