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UGA strong on offense, defense in snapping losing streak on hardwood

ATHENS - In need of a well-played game on both sides of the ball to snap a losing streak, Georgia got just that Friday. Charles Mann scored 13 of his 14 points in the second half and Kenny Gaines also scored 14, while the Bulldogs’ defense was excellent in a 71-53 victory over Appalachian State at Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia (2-4), which avoided its first five-game losing streak since the 2008-2009 season, held the Mountaineers to 32 percent (18-of-55) shooting from the field, including just seven made field goals in the second half.

Appalachian State took a 36-35 lead a minute into the second half on a jumper by Tevin Baskin. Gaines followed with a dunk off a feed from Mann that put Georgia up for good.

While the visitors from the Southern Conference went more than eight minutes between field goals, Georgia, which shot 55 percent (27-of-49) from the field, went on a 14-3 spurt, capped by two of Nemanja Djurisic’s 10 points on a dunk that made it 47-37 with 12:32 to play.

Baskin, who led all scorers with 20 points, had a lay up with 10:11 left that cut the deficit to 49-41, but Appalachian State (1-5) had three made field goals over the final 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, Mann fed Cameron Forte for a bucket and a 59-43 cushion.

“It’s good to be back home and it’s good for these kids to get a win,” Georgia coach Mark Fox told georgiadogs.com. “This group needs some confidence. They need lots of experience, but they certainly need some confidence.”

Georgia built a first half lead as large as 20-13 when J.J. Frazier fed Donte Williams for a bucket at the 10:08 mark. Appalachian State followed with a 10-2 run, aided by seven of Tab Hamilton’s 11 first-half points, that gave the Mountaineers the lead at 23-22, their first lead since one minute into the game.

The Bulldogs took the lead back on a lay up by Forte, who then assisted on Djurisic’s dunk that made it 26-23. Appalachian State’s Mike Neal drained a pair of 3-pointers late, the last of which put the visitors up 32-31, but Georgia took the one-point lead heading into the locker room on a pair of free throws by Gaines.

“We did some positive things. I thought we scored the ball efficiently. We did not rebound it in the first half, but once we solved that, we were able to separate from them,” Fox said. “But certainly I’m happy to get the win.”