UGASports - Georgia falls apart in second half again, loses at home to Vanderbilt
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Georgia falls apart in second half again, loses at home to Vanderbilt

No, this isn't the same story you read on Wednesday night.

Yes, Georgia came out strong in the first half. But on Saturday night against Vanderbilt, (10-6, 2-2 SEC), the Bulldogs (5-12, 0-4) once again crumbled in the final 20 minutes on their way to a 73-66 defeat in Stegeman Coliseum.

The loss is Georgia's sixth in a row.

"I felt like we were locked in the whole first half. As you can see, we went into the half with a pretty good lead," transfer forward Braelen Bridges said. "Then second half, I feel like we took our foot off the gas a little bit and relaxed."

Georgia basketball player Braelen Bridges (23) during a game against Vanderbilt at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles/UGA Sports Communications)
Georgia basketball player Braelen Bridges (23) during a game against Vanderbilt at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (Photo by Mackenzie Miles/UGA Sports Communications)

With 1:43 left in the first half, Georgia held a 34-20 lead. The offense started slow but had begun to figure it out. The defense, meanwhile, had stymied the Commodores to that point.

Vanderbilt then closed the half on an 8-2 run to trail 36-28 at halftime. In the locker room, the Bulldogs emphasized not letting that carry over into the second half.

"It was a focal point at halftime," Etter said. "That actually pushed us to come out even harder in my opinion."

Instead of rallying, however, Georgia allowed a 13-0 run to start the second period. An eight-point lead turned into a five-point deficit in less than four minutes.

Putting a 40-minute game together has been a struggle for the Bulldogs all season. Lately, it's been finishing that has plagued them.

"The bottom line is we’re not coming out with the intensity and the urgency that we’ve got to have in that second half, especially on the defensive end, which means I may have to change the lineup," Georgia head coach Tom Crean said. "Maybe at the beginning of the game, but probably definitely at halftime because it’s becoming too much of a story."

That run established a lead Vanderbilt never relinquished. Georgia made it interesting in the final minutes, but the Commodores held on for the win.

Saturday makes two home conference losses for the Bulldogs so far in this campaign. They've had chances to win both.

But just as a 40-minute game continues to elude Georgia, so too do the wins.

"If they go on a little run, that’s our job to move onto the next play and get a stop on defense and score on offense," Etter said. "That completely ends their run, it ends momentum. Coach always says basketball’s a game of runs. If you limit their momentum, we’re in that second half. We were in that second half, but we should have won that game."

Georgia returns to action on Wednesday night when it travels to Auburn. The game tips off at 9:00 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.