Sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a career-high 27 points, but the Dawgs suffered their first loss of the season, falling 68-56 to Youngstown State in the Progressive Legends Classic on Monday evening at Stegeman Coliseum.
Caldwell-Pope was the only Dawg to score in double figures, and he also added five three-pointers, six rebounds and four steals for Georgia (1-1). Kendrick Perry led the way for Youngstown State (2-0) with 23 points.
"That's a frustrating loss," said coach Mark Fox. "You have to give Youngstown State credit. They came in here to beat our tail and that's what they did. We played very poorly offensively in the first half, and it set the game back 10 years the way we played offensively in the first half. We shot 12 percent, but came back in the second half and shot 48 percent and only had four turnovers in the second half, where we had 11 in the first half. We can't play that immaturely offensively and have chances to win. We got beat, we didn't play well and we didn't play well the other night once we got a lead but we got away with it with a win. Today we didn't get away with it, and hopefully this will be a good stepping stone for us because it's certainly a teachable moment."
Youngstown State opened the game on an 8-0 run, including a pair of layups by Shawn Amiker to begin the spurt. Caldwell-Pope broke the scoring drought for Georgia with a three-pointer at the 15:55 mark, but each team would then go three more minutes without a point.
Caldwell-Pope scored the first five points of the game for the Dawgs, and he would go on to score each of Georgia’s three first-half field goals.
Both teams committed 11 turnovers apiece in the first half but were unable to capitalize on the other end, as Georgia scored just two points off turnovers and Youngstown State scored four.
The teams once again went scoreless for a three minute spurt midway through the first half before Youngstown State’s Kamren Belin grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the putback to extend the Penguins’ lead to 16-6. Caldwell-Pope broke the Dawgs’ scoring drought with a baseline jumper on the left side off an assist by Sherrard Brantley at the 4:07 mark to trim the Penguins’ lead to 19-8.
With the offense struggling in the first half for Georgia, the team was able to convert on seven of their 11 attempts from the charity stripe, including six in the final three minutes, to enter the break trailing 25-14.
The offense came alive at the start of the second half, as Georgia nailed a trio of three-pointers, including a pair from Caldwell-Pope and a deep trey from Brantley in the first three and a half minutes of play. John Florveus then was fouled on a made lay-up and converted on the three-point play to pull the Dawgs within six, 32-26, at the 16:23 mark.
Caldwell-Pope continued to have the hot hand from downtown, draining his third three of the half and fourth of the game to trim the Penguins’ lead to 32-29 with 15 minutes remaining.
Youngstown State opened up a nine-point lead midway through the half, and the teams would continue to trade baskets until the Penguins rattled off a 6-0 run to once again open up the lead with just under 12 minutes remaining.
Georgia shot 48 percent from the field in the second half, including 55 percent (5-9) from behind the arc. The Dawgs also converted on nine of 10 attempts from the free throw line and turned the ball over just four times in the second period of play.
Georgia continues play in the 2012 Progressive Legends Classic on Thursday evening when they host Southern Miss in an 8 p.m. matchup to be televised on FSN.