GAME NOTES: The Georgia Bulldogs will close out the non-conference portion of their schedule on Saturday as they welcome the Iona Gaels to Stegeman Coliseum.
Iona has dropped three of its last four contests to fall below .500 for the first time since opening the 2010-11 season 2-3. That also marked the last time the Gaels suffered back-to-back losses during the regular season. They have been idle since last Saturday's 81-73 setback to Rutgers in the ECAC/Madison Square Garden Holiday Festival.
Georgia has been idle for 11 days due to final exams. The Bulldogs' last outing resulted in a 62-54 loss at Georgia Tech on Dec. 4. They have lost two in a row and six of their last seven games overall as they begin a five-game homestand tonight.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
Iona trailed Rutgers by 22 points with ten and a half minutes to play, but a huge rally saw the Gaels cut the deficit to one late in the contest. However, the Scarlet Knights were able to end the threat with free throws down the stretch. Ultimately, Rutgers' sizeable 47-29 rebounding advantage, including a 17-9 edge on the offensive glass, proved too much to overcome. Lamont James paced Iona with a game-high 26 points and made all 14 of his free-throw attempts. However, he also committed a game-high six turnovers. Sean Armand chipped in with 17 points (and five turnovers), while Curtis Dennis scored 12 off the bench. Jones paces the squad with 21.7 points per game this season. Armand is next in line with 19.9 ppg to go along with a team-best 6.3 rpg, followed by Tre Bowman with 10.4 ppg.
Georgia has played just one home game in the past month, and all of that traveling seemed to really catch up with the Bulldogs. UGA enters the weekend shooting just 38.8 percent from the floor as a team and posting only 56.8 ppg. The loss to Georgia Tech was the fifth straight game the Bulldogs were held below 60 points, as they shot a dismal 31.6 percent from the floor and went 2- of-17 from the perimeter. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 16 points and 13 boards, although he made only 5-of-18 field goals. The Bulldogs have lacked scoring options behind the talented sophomore, who is averaging 17.4 points and has led the team in scoring in all eight games. Caldwell-Pope has accounted for 30 percent of the team's offensive production. Second-leading scorer Nemanja Djurisic is averaging 7.8 ppg.
Neither of these teams is playing very well at the moment, but Iona seems more likely to turn things around. Until the Bulldogs can find some help for Caldwell-Pope, the losses will continue to mount.
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