ATHENS, Ga. (AP)Aaron Cook scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Georgia held off Florida International’s upset bid with a 58-51 win in Tuesday night’s season opener for both teams.
Absent senior forward P.J. Horne to a preseason knee injury, the Bulldogs took the floor without a starting player from last year’s 14-12 team.
And it showed early.
Florida International took advantage of the Bulldogs’ 28.6% shooting (8 for 28) and built a 27-22 lead with seven of its 10-made baskets from beyond the 3-point line.
Despite regrouping after the break, it wasn’t until Christian Wright’s layup with 7:47 remaining that made it 44-42 did Georgia maintain the lead the rest of the way.
Tevin Brewer’s jumper brought the Panthers within 51-48 with 2:47 left after Georgia built a 50-42 lead on a pair of free throws by Kario Oquendo three minutes prior. But baskets by Jaxon Etter, Jailyn Ingram and Oquendo helped subdue FIU.
Georgia increased its second half shooting percentage to 41.4% (12 for 29) but made just 1 for 7 of its 3s.
Braelen Bridges, Oquendo and Etter, off the bench, each scored nine points for Georgia, which held a 46-36 rebounding advantage.
Brewer led Florida International with 14 points and Denver Jones scored 13 of the bench.
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