Georgia exacts Sugar Bowl revenge on Texas in hoops

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Photo Credit: Joshua Guenther | Daily Texan Staff

At the beginning of the month, Texas and Georgia clashed in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. The night began in dramatic fashion, as Texas’ Bevo XV charged at Georgia’s Uga during a meeting of live mascots. Bevo’s combative attitude set the tone for the contest, driving Texas to a statement 28-21 upset.

Roan cattle and bulldogs aren’t inhabitants of basketball arenas, so the sequel of the mascot meeting was called off. But the Sugar Bowl spirit lived on as a significant upset transpired on the hardwood in Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia (10–9, 1–5 SEC) upended Texas (11–9, 3–4 Big 12) in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, 98-88.

“Yeah, we’re at a crossroads right now,” power forward Dylan Osetkowski told the Austin American-Statesman. “It’s cliché, and it’s what everybody says. But we’ve really got to figure out what kind of team we want to be, how we want to finish off conference... We say it every single day. What we want to do is still right there in front of us to go do. But something has to change.”

The Bulldogs committed an alarming 26 turnovers, but that didn’t affect the outcome. Georgia shot lights out from the floor, connecting on 12-of-17 3-point attempts and outrebounded Texas, 36-22. Georgia’s efficient offense connected on 66.7 percent of field goals, and once the Bulldogs were able to break Texas’ press in the second half, a series of easy fast breaks sealed the upset.

“They were focused in on me which really opened things up for our post players,” Georgia point guard Tyree Crump told the Statesman. “Also Turtle Jackson and Teshaun Hightower hit some threes for us. Then, Texas couldn’t focus on one guy. They had to worry about all of us.”

Behind point guard Matt Coleman’s eight points in the first eight minutes, Texas created a 21-13 advantage. Georgia responded with a barrage of triples, sinking five threes to construct a 17-to-2 run and a 30-23 lead. The Longhorns, who led 19 seconds the rest of the afternoon, managed to tie the score at 46 before halftime, thanks to a Courtney Ramey fastbreak layup.

A Jaxson Hayes dunk to open the second half appeared to be the momentum-swinger Texas desired. But, Georgia’s immaculate 3-point shooting on its homecourt sustained and the Bulldogs leaped back in front with a 9-0 run. 

Although Texas’ offense shined with 88 points and 42.9 percent 3-point shooting, the inability to contain Georgia beyond the arc and in the paint forced the Longhorns to play from behind. The Longhorns turned the ball over 15 times, fouled Georgia en route to 28 free throw attempts and ineffectively ran a full-court press.

Ramey led all Texas scorers with 19 points, shattering his previous career-high of 13. Ramey was active for 38 minutes, receiving a chunk of Coleman’s playing time at point guard. Coleman racked up his fourth foul with over 14 minutes left and eventually fouled out of the contest after eight points in 18 minutes of action.

“I’m tired of losing, too,” Coleman told the Statesman. “Individually, I’ve always been a winner. I’ve never liked losing. It always comes down to doing little things better. It’s always something that you can do.”

A brief respite from a challenging Big 12 slate did not bode well for Texas’ chances. The Longhorns have now dropped five out of six games, and this loss classifies as their second double-digit defeat of the season (Michigan State on Nov. 23). Texas, fighting for a second-straight March Madness bid, has a daunting schedule ahead. No. 9 Kansas visits on Tuesday, followed by a road trip to No. 24 Iowa State.