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  • It’s the bye week for the University of Georgia football team, which typically means it’s a time for polishing any mistakes made up to this point in the season, and sneaking in some good rest and relaxation at times to get healthy.  But after Thursday’s practice, instead of rushing off the field to the training tables or back to their dorms, Bulldog players were greeted by several of their best friends through Extra Special People, a nonprofit serving families and children with special needs in the 26-county area surrounding Watkinsville, Ga., since 1987. ESP’s annual Bulldogs and Buddies event with UGA Football players offers the team a chance to give their support to children with special needs who are huge Dawg fans. More than 150 ESP participants showered the players with hugs, requests for autographs and photos to commemorate the special day. “We appreciate Coach Smart and the UGA Football team taking time for some of their biggest fans. ESP works to provide typical experiences to kids of all abilities, bringing them life’s greatest joys,” said Laura Whitaker, Executive Director of ESP. “However each year, the players and coaches have told us that this event brings them incredible joy. Kids with disabilities have the ability to break down barriers and bringing smiles to all faces. It’s a win-win for everyone who came out today.” In its seventh year, Bulldogs and Buddies offers ESP participants the opportunity to visit with players after practice. Many current and past players including Jake Fromm, Aaron Murray and Lorenzo Carter have gone on to volunteer and advocate for ESP after their positive experience at Bulldawgs and Buddies. All season long, in celebration of Down Syndrome Awareness month, ESP is encouraging UGA fans to “Dress Down for the Dawgs” by dressing casually at the home games and tagging their photos on social media with #DressDownfortheDawgs. ESP aims to bring awareness to Down Syndrome and offer a fun way to support its participants of all abilities. ESP is an organization based in Watkinsville, Ga., that empowers individuals with special needs through eight weeks of annual summer camp, 19 after school enrichment programs, and ongoing family support and counseling. ESP currently serves more than 300 individuals with special needs and their families throughout 26 counties in Georgia, helping these families engage, connect and thrive while never paying more than 25 percent of the cost of any program. To learn more about Extra Special People, visit www.extraspecialpeople.com.   About Extra Special People Extra Special People, Inc., (ESP), a 501 (c)(3) is a nonprofit serving families and children with special needs in the 26-county area surrounding Watkinsville, Ga., since 1987. With ever-expanding after-school programs, weekend clubs, an eight-week long summer camp and family resources, ESP now reaches more than 300 children, with an ongoing dream of reaching every Northeast Georgia family that has a need and a desire to help their special child grow and thrive. Contributing to this dream was the addition of 70 acres in Jackson County in December 2014. Camp Hooray will one day continue the ESP mission by hosting overnight camps, weekend retreats and events for children and families of all abilities.  
  • Today marks the end of the first week of early voting in Athens and around the state. Advanced voting, which has been on a record pace through the first four days, continues through November 2, two weeks from today, with election day itself now 18 days away on November 6.  Athens Republican Brian Kemp, candidate for Governor, will be joined by Florida Senator Marco Rubio in campaign rallies Monday in Atlanta and Cobb County. The latest polls show the Secretary of State with a slim, within the margin of error lead over Atlanta Democrat Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia House Minority Leader. 
  • The University of Georgia will host a symposium on Oct. 20 that will bring more than 200 researchers and policymakers together to seek solutions to the nation’s opioid epidemic. The symposium will kick off at 9 a.m. in Room 101 of the Miller Learning Center with a lecture by journalist Beth Macy, author of “Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America,” a New York Times bestseller that the newspaper described as “a harrowing, deeply compassionate dispatch from the heart of a national emergency.” Dr. Rita Noonan, who oversees the majority of opioid addiction prevention efforts that are funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will deliver the lunchtime keynote at 12:15 p.m. in Room 101 of the MLC. The symposium also includes panel discussions that will feature faculty members from the university’s College of Public Health, College of Pharmacy, College of Veterinary Medicine, School of Law, School of Social Work, School of Public and International Affairs and Terry College of Business. Additional panelists include representatives from the CDC, Georgia Department of Public Health and Northeast Georgia Health System. The symposium will conclude with poster presentations during which faculty members and students from UGA, Emory University, Augusta University and other organizations will highlight results of their research and discuss current projects. Fazal Khan, an associate professor in the School of Law who chaired the planning committee for the symposium, said the discussions at the symposium lay the foundation for policy briefs, white papers and scholarly articles that can inform policymakers, health care providers and other key stakeholders. “Last year nearly 50,000 people died from the opioid epidemic in America,” Khan noted. “As shocking and tragic as that figure is, it significantly understates the impact of this crisis. The tentacles of this epidemic affect our society in myriad ways—in our schools, hospitals, prisons, workplaces and our homes. Given the public mission of this university, we felt a civic imperative to convene this interdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students who are conducting research on opioids. Our goals for the symposium are to disseminate important research, foster collaboration across disciplines and ultimately to make a real-world difference in addressing this national crisis.” The Interdisciplinary Opioid Epidemic Symposium is sponsored by the School of Law, School of Social Work, College of Public Health and Office of Academic Programs. The symposium is free and open to the public, but space is limited and registration is required.
  • A 56-54 win against University of Alabama at Birmingham in a Red Cross charity exhibition game started the Tom Crean regime with Georgia men’s basketball on Thursday evening at the Bartow Arena.    Trailing 47-51 with a little more than four minutes in regulation, sophomore forward Rayshaun Hammonds scored seven of Georgia’s last nine points, while the defense held the Blazers without a field goal to seal the win. Hammonds finished with 13 points and nine rebounds – both team-highs. Sophomore guard Teshaun Hightower tallied team-best three assists, while senior guard Turtle Jackson, fresh off of representing Georgia at SEC Media Day, grabbed two steals. Freshman forward Jojo Toppin chipped in eight points along with three boards and two assists.   In May, the NCAA set guidelines allowing programs to use one of their preseason events as a way to benefit a charitable organization involved in providing relief for those affected by a catastrophic event. This year, natural disasters the Red Cross is providing relief for include wildfires in California and recent Hurricanes Florence and Michael.   “This is why we schedule something like this,” Georgia head coach Tom Crean said. “This is going to help both teams. There is no doubt about that. For us to come out of here with a victory is good and we learned a lot about our team. We didn’t play E’Torrion Wilridge at all in the first half, we started him in the second half and he set the tempo for us against #1 (UAB’s Zack Bryant) who I believe will play in the NBA one day. He can play in any league in the country. We just found a way to win. We are so far away from understanding our offense in cutting and moving and we aren’t a great shooting team yet. But the bottom line is that we found a way. That is something we can build on. I’m really proud of how we defended and played with physicality, awareness and intent.”   UAB freshman Zack Bryant had 12 points in the first half, but only mustered two points in the second frame. The Bulldogs used 12 players in the first half and 13 total in the game. Wilridge, a senior forward, was the one that saw his first action in the second half and finished with five points.   The first points of the game came from forward Derek Ogbeide, the other Bulldog senior who participated at SEC Media Day on Wednesday at Birmingham’s Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook. Assisting on the play was a new face, Ignas Sargiunas, a freshman from Kaunas, Lithuania. A few minutes later, the Lithuanian did the scoring himself, draining a three-pointer. The game remained close throughout the first half with no lead exceeding six points and four ties. Late in the half, junior guard Jordan Harris connected on a three for a 21-all score, but Georgia trailed 27-25 at intermission.   To start the second half, Hammonds scored Georgia’s first two baskets before junior guard Tyree Crump sunk a three to tie it at 32-all. Edwards gave the Bulldogs their first lead, 39-38, at the midpoint of the second half and Wilridge extended it to three points with 8:19 to play.    The Blazers recaptured the lead up to four points, but a transition layup and free throw by Wilridge put Georgia back on top 47-46 at the 5:42 mark. Blazers went back up and after a UAB timeout; Hammonds began his late surge cutting it to 51-50 on a three-point play with 3:58 left in regulation. The Blazers only managed three points from the line the rest of the way through.   Last season, Georgia faced Michigan State in Grand Rapids, Mich., in a contest that raised just shy of $370,000 for the Red Cross' relief efforts following Hurricane Irma.   The Bulldogs will return to action on Thursday, Nov. 1, when they host Division II West Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum at 7:00 p.m. Georgia's first regular-season game is set for Friday, Nov. 9, against Savannah State at 8:30 p.m. That evening will feature a Georgia Basketball doubleheader, with the Lady Bulldogs hosting St. Bonaventure and tipping off at 6:00 p.m.
  • Clarke County Sheriff Ira Edwards’ annual motorcycle ride is set for Saturday. It is a fundraiser for a youth scholarship program and for the DARE drug education program. The ride registration starts at 11:30 tomorrow morning, with wheels up at 12:30 from Cycle World on Atlanta Highway in Athens.  From the Athens-Clarke Co Government website… The proceeds for this ride will go towards the Delta Psi Boule' Youth Scholarship Program and the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office D.A.R.E. Program. The ride will take place on Saturday, October 20th, 2018 with registration beginning at 11:30 a.m. The ride will start at 1:00 p.m. at Cycle World of Athens, (4225 Atlanta Hwy, Bogart, Ga.) The annual Rivers Alive cleanup takes place tomorrow, with volunteers gathering at 8 o’clock Saturday morning at the Sandy Creek Nature Center. From there, they’ll fan out around Athens, working in streams and along riverbanks until noon.  From the Athens-Clarke Co Government website… Athens’ Annual Rivers Alive event is just around the bend! Volunteer to help preserve our precious rivers and streams at this year’s Rivers Alive volunteer cleanup event. The 2018 cleanup is on Saturday, October 20 from 8:00 AM to 12:00pm. Volunteer check-in is at Sandy Creek Nature Center located at 205 Old Commerce Road. Volunteer Check-in starts at 8:00 AM and there will be free breakfast and live entertainment as we gather for the cleanup. Volunteers should bring a reusable water bottle and gloves, and wear long pants and closed toed shoes. Please visit www.accgov.com/riversalive for more information. Registration is required.

Bulldog News

  • KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt had a pretty good idea what it would take to beat Alabama on Saturday, but he didn’t have the team to execute it. “You look at their sideline and look at our sideline,” Pruitt said after the Crimson Tide crushed the Vols, “and they don’t hardly look the same.” RELATED: Georgia football SEC East’s best hope at beating Alabama It was 28-0 in the first quarter and 58-21 when it finally came to an end in Neyland Stadium, a crimson-and-orange checkered crowd of 97,087. But the game didn’t end before Pruitt, Alabama’s former defensive coordinator and arguably the best positioned coach on the planet to know how to scheme the Tide, had shown his blueprint. The Crimson Tide rolled for 545 total yards and 30 first downs, Heisman Trophy frontrunner Tua Tagovailoa 19-of-29 passing for 306 yards and 4 touchdowns on what Alabama reporters said was “an off day” for him. Before anyone question’s Pruitt’s planning, consider Tennessee is the first team to force Tagovailoa into back-to-back 3-and-out series in his career. Georgia beat Pruitt and the Vols 38-12 earlier this season, but not before Tennessee sacked Jake Fromm three times, forced two fumbles and became the first (and still only) team to hold Fromm without a TD pass in 21 games. So what does Pruitt say teams need to do to beat Alabama? “If you are going to play these guys, you have to be able to deny the ball, and you have to have enough guys to stop the run, and you have to be able to play them man to man (in coverage),” Pruitt said after Saturday’s game. “Lots of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, so they really stretch you sideline to sideline,” he said. “These guys can line up and run the ball, and probably not throw a pass today and they’d probably score 58 points.” Pruitt explained why he couldn’t judge whether this Alabama team is better than last season’s national championship team, when asked by DawgNation. “I don’t think that’s fair to judge, because things change every week,” Pruitt said. “They are very good offensively, they’ve got big men up front, they have good tight ends, they have a trigger puller, and they are explosive at wide receiver. “It’s like I said, you have to be able to deny the ball, because if you are even with them in the box, they will beat you in the run game,” Pruitt said. “You play them one on one, they will try to throw their RPO stuff, so you have be able to deny the ball and play them man to man, in my opinion.” Tennessee players wouldn’t come right out and say that no one else in the SEC could play with Alabama, but they made it clear they were impressed. “They are very explosive, Tua brings a dimension to their team that hurts teams,” Vols senior defensive end Kyle Phillips said. “Probably out of all the dual-threat quarterbacks, he can really kill you with his arm just as he can with his feet.” Tennessee senior middle linebacker Darrin Kirkland was asked what a team would have to do to slow the Alabama offense. “Overall, just consistency on the back end and consistent pressure up front,” Kirkland said, “executing on all levels.” Cornerback Baylen Buchanan, son of former Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl defensive back Ray Buchanan, gave his take on stopping the Tide. “You have to be more physical than them,” Buchanan said, “and you have to pay attention to the details and know what’s coming before it happens.” The closest to hope that any Tennessee player offered for future Alabama opponents came from defensive end Darrell Taylor, when asked if anyone could beat the Tide. “I think if any team plays well,” Taylor said, “they can beat anybody, that’s all I think.” Knoxville WBIR-TV Jeremy Pruitt postgame video The post WATCH: Jeremy Pruitt has keys to stop Alabama, but not players appeared first on DawgNation.
  • KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Somewhere, some time on Saturday, Georgia football coach Kirby Smart was watching the Alabama-Tennessee game. Football is a relationship business, and coaches keep up with one another and the players they recruited. It’s why Florida coach Dan Mullen said he’d watch LSU play his former program at Mississippi State on Saturday. RELATED: Georgia football busy prepping for Gators on bye week Maybe it was just a series, or perhaps a quarter — at a minimum highlights — but Smart surely watched (studied?) the head coach and program he was hired to beat at some point Saturday. Saban is king Nick Saban moved to 15-0 against his former assistants with the 58-21 win at Tennessee, Neyland Stadium checkered with 97,087 crimson and orange clad fans, some 5,000 short of a sellout. Alabama looked every bit the part of the No. 1 team in college football. But Smart and Georgia ultimately overtaking Saban and Alabama remains a realistic notion that goes beyond the Bulldogs’ No. 1 signing class in 2018. Georgia was the best team in college football last year, they just didn’t win the title game. The Bulldogs were the SEC champions, coming through the front door to qualify for the College Football Playoff. Georgia showed its mettle by overcoming last season’s hottest quarterback, some 2,000 miles from Athens in the Rose Bowl, at that. The Bulldogs fell one play short of topping the Tide — one second-and-26 broken assignment in the secondary —  before suffering a heartbreaking 26-23 overtime defeat. Tua Tagovailoa, the freshman QB who came off the bench at halftime and overcame a 13-0 deficit to beat Georgia in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, has not looked back. Heisman Trophy Tua Tagovailoa is a lock to win the Heisman Trophy if he stays healthy, and he looked more dangerous than ever piloting the Tide’s high-powered offense against the overmatched Vols. Alabama raced out to a 28-0 lead less than 12 minutes into the first quarter, and the game was over, the rest of the afternoon a matter of details. Tagovailoa, wearing a knee brace that limited his mobility, was 19-of-29 passing for 306 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions before exiting the game in the third quarter with Alabama up 51-14. The Tide reporters who cover the team swear it was Tagovailoa’s worst performance of the season. Georgia’s No. 8-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) were idle after a busy week cleaning up deficiencies, the focus on next Saturday’s showdown with Florida. Smart said earlier in the week he wasn’t sure exactly how he’d use Saturday off, but watching games was part of the plan. “I haven’t talked to my wife to see what I’ve got permission to do, whatever she says, I’ll do,” Smart said. “ Saturday I will be watching some games and probably watching some tape as well.” The Bulldogs can’t be ready enough for the SEC East Division co-leading No. 11-ranked Gators (6-1, 4-1). Smart has raised Georgia’s standards so high that anything less than an SEC Championship Game appearance is a disappointment, even after losing eight starters on defense and the school’s No. 2 and No. 3 all-time leading rushers. Alabama is a sure bet to be there waiting in the SEC Championship Game for the East Division winner. Georgia matches up best The Bulldogs appear to match up better with the Tide than anyone else in the division, from a personnel and scheme standpoint. As accurate as Tagovailoa appears, the keys to Alabama’s fast-strike offense are the Tide’s fleet-footed receivers. Georgia arguably has the most talented, deepest and best-coached secondary in the SEC , and Tagovailoa could be forced to press without his receivers streaking open. That has yet to happen this season, but it’s worth noting Alabama’s schedule has included just one Top 25 team to this point, Texas A&M. Georgia’s speedy, big-play receivers are another reason to believe the Bulldogs might give the SEC East it’s best chance at beating the Tide. Tennessee hit chunk plays in the pass game against Alabama on Saturday for gains of 40, 30, 27, 26 and 20 yards. The Tide’s defense has just three starters back from the crew that started against Georgia in last season’s national title game. More numbers to ponder:  Tennessee had 143 yards passing and 209 total yards on the Bulldogs’ defense in Georgia’s 38-12 win over the Vols on Sept. 29. Tennessee had 227 yards passing and 258 total yards against Alabama, averaging 4.7 yards per play on the Tide compared with 4.5 yards per play against Georgia. It’s a small sample size, to be sure, but as of Oct. 20 the Vols are only the second and most recent common opponent this season. Alabama would and should be a double-digit favorite over the Bulldogs if the game were to be played tomorrow, but of course it’s not, so there’s plenty of time for both teams to get better or worse. There’s certainly no guarantee the match up will happen. The Bulldogs still have to go through Florida and Kentucky in their next two games just to get another shot at Tagovailoa. Smart might have had that same thought at some point on Saturday, along with his own ideas of what he’ll do the next time he faces Saban.   This is Tua Tagovailoa’s 24th touchdown pass of the season. He still hasn’t thrown an interception. That is absurd. pic.twitter.com/u76dXO2PIP — CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 20, 2018 Georgia football DawgNation stories Georgia football has work to do on bye week Georgia-LSU top-rated television game, Atlanta market shines Kirby Smart defends Jake Fromm at LSU Georgia football saw warning signs, couldn’t dodge Tigers’ trap Why didn’t Georgia use Justin Fields more? RECAP: Scoring, injuries, news from Georgia’s 36-16 loss to LSU   The post Georgia, talented secondary and speedy receivers, best SEC East matchup for Alabama appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia coach Kirby Smart used the bye week to round off some corners and evaluate some young talent, the Bulldogs prepping for the key stretch of the 2018 season. A 36-16 loss at LSU exposed some of the weaknesses Smart had spoken about even as Georgia was off to a 6-0 start a No. 2 ranking. WATCH: Georgia football players share lessons learned, preview Florida “We’ve highlighted (weaknesses) to our team,” Smart said. “Sometimes it takes that loss to really make them understand.” Bulldogs fans have remained engaged, keeping up with Georgia’s bye week activity with one eye on the future. The Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) play SEC East Division co-leader Florida (6-1, 4-1) at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. The question of the week comes from the DawgNation Forum, from “TNDawg71:” “ What about UF is similar to LSU that could give us problems? Has the team worked much on game planning this week, or is it typically working on issues during a bye week?” Florida is better against the run than its 163.1 yards-per-game average indicates, keeping the LSU rushing attack in check in a 27-19 win in Gainesville on Oct. 6. The Tigers, of course, rushed for 275 yards on Georgia last Saturday. WATCH: Chip Towers and Mike Griffith take on all questions, Facebook Live  Florida has actually allowed fewer passing yards per game than the Bulldogs, too, 160.1 per game to Georgia’s 174.3 allowed through the air each outing. The Bulldogs’ offense has been more proficient than Florida’s, but the key to Georgia finding the balance it seeks will be the running game. Smart has insisted since the beginning of this season that the Bulldogs will not get away from run game, and that power football will remain the core of the offensive identity. Georgia has one of the most powerful and accomplished offensive lines in college football, and Smart has put emphasis on that line being prepared for the QB pressure and run blitzes the Gators are likely to bring. “We got a lot of passing situations today, and got a lot of work done,” Smart said after Tuesday’s practice. “Got ready for the future opponents.” Defensively, Smart aimed to sharpen tackling fundamentals and alignment – all it takes is being one step out of place or one step late for a minimal run game to break open. RELATED: Georgia football safety J.R. Reed explains bye week leadership “At the end of the day we’ve got to put the players in a better position and tackle good,” Smart said. “We’ve got to be physical in this league. Those backs are what we’re going to face every week, 215-220 pounds, downhill. You’ve got to wrap up and we’ve got to get more people to the ball. “You don’t win a lot of one on one tackles in this league. You win a lot of two on one tackles. We need more two on one tackles.”   Georgia football DawgNation stories Georgia-LSU top-rated television game, Atlanta market shines Kirby Smart defends Jake Fromm at LSU Georgia football saw warning signs, couldn’t dodge Tigers’ trap Why didn’t Georgia use Justin Fields more? RECAP: Scoring, injuries, news from Georgia’s 36-16 loss to LSU     The post Ask Griff: Georgia football busy during bye week prepping for Florida showdown appeared first on DawgNation.
  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Georgia senior point guard William “Turtle” Jackson said the little things new coach Tom Crean is preaching could lead to big success for the Bulldogs. “Coach Crean preaches details, the little things,” Jackson said at SEC Tipoff 19, the league’s annual media day event. “If he has an X on the court, and you’re an inch from that X, he’ll stop (practice), and you need to get right on that X, he’s very detailed. “That’s what makes him so great, it’s the little things that develop into the big things, and that’s how we can win.” RELATED: 4 takeaways from Georgia basketball thriller at UAB That’s how Georgia beat UAB in both teams’ exhibition opener on Thursday night at Bartow Arena, 56-54, with Crean making personnel and defensive set adjustments and the players responding for the come-from-behind win. “He’s always drawing up something and brewing up something,” Bulldogs freshman JoJo Toppin said. “It’s really comfortable when your coach is good with the clipboard.” Crean took Marquette to the Final Four (2003) and rebuilt Indiana into a Big Ten powerhouse that enjoyed a 10-week stint as the nation’s No. 1-ranked team (2012-13). Georgia was picked to finish 13th in the 14-team SEC on Wednesday, and t he Bulldogs have made just one NCAA Tournament appearance in the past seven years, most recently in 2015. The last time Georgia advanced to the Sweet 16 was 1996. But the exhibition win was promising, and it showed how much progress the Bulldogs have made in their quest to improve despite losing former SEC Player of the Year Yante Maten. WATCH: Tom Crean proud UGA ‘found a way to win’ at UAB Georgia senior post Derek Ogbeide, a 6-foot-9, 250-pounder, said the players are sold on Crean’s attention to detail. “He understands almost every inch of the floor can be valuable, and it can be used whether   it’s a scoring opportunity or a defensive opportunity,” Ogbeide said. “It may be one more step, but it’s a valuable step, and a step that may help us get to our goal. “So only slightly different, but very impactful.” RELATED: Georgia players shrug off low media projections Indeed, in Thursday night’s one-possession game at UAB every step made the difference until the final buzzer. “I tell the guys, momentum is always up for grabs, and the game is always giving you something, and it may not be what you wanted, or what you planned for, or what’s pretty,” Crean said. “But you’ve got to find it, and our guys figured that out tonight.” Georgia basketball PG William “Turtle” Jackson   Georgia C Derek Ogbeide The post WATCH: Georgia basketball reveal ‘little things’ that make Tom Crean special appeared first on DawgNation.
  • BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Tom Crean got to know his Georgia basketball team better, and the Bulldogs learned something about their head coach. Georgia’s 56-54 win at UAB might “only” be an exhibition victory, but it was an important first step in the Bulldogs attaining the sort of mutual respect needed for a new coach and a new team to get off on the right foot. RELATED: Tom Crean Era opens with gritty road exhibition win Georgia, particularly senior guard William “Turtle” Jackson, sophomore power forward Rayshaun Hammonds and senior E’Torrion Wilridge, showed step-up ability. Crean, meanwhile, made key personnel substitutions, defensive changeups and play calls with the game in the balance. “Coach Crean is always locked in and always noticing the shifts of the game,’ said Georgia freshman JoJo Toppin, whose 3-pointer at the 13:36 mark of the second half ignited a 7-0 run that gave the Bulldogs their first lead since the game’s early moments. “He’s always drawing up something and brewing up something,” Toppin said. “It’s really comfortable when your coach is good with the clipboard.” Here are four takeaways from the Bulldogs’ win over the Blazers in basketball crazy Bartow Arena: Defensive stopper UAB’s All-Conference USA guard Zack Bryant appeared unstoppable at times in the first half, scoring 12 of his 14 points through the first 20 minutes before Crean inserted the 6-foot-6 Wilridge into the game. Suddenly, the 6-1 Bryant couldn’t blow through the lane to the rim like a running back, Wilridge matching his athleticism and physicality, and using his long reach to his advantage. “We went with (Wilridge) as a momentum changer …. E’Torrion has some defensive stop abilities,” Crean said. “He legitimately changed the momentum for us tonight.” Bryant, who most observers agreed would star in any basketball league, was 6-for-9 shooting in the first half with one turnover in the first half, but 0-for-6 with three turnovers in the second half. Wilridge didn’t in the first half. Hammonds’ assertion Hammonds looked the part of his No. 51 prep ranking in the second half, the sophomore showing takeover ability down the stretch on offense and defense. Hammonds was 5-of-8 shooting in the second half and pulled down four of the team’s 11 offensive rebounds the final 20 minutes, one of they keys to the come-from-behind win. It was Nicolas Claxton and Hammonds making the defensive stop on the Blazers’ final possession after the crafty Crean changed up defenses coming out of the final timeout. “Nick and Rayshaun made the right play,” Crean said. “It’s great to walk out of here knowing our defense, rebounding and physicality helped us win the game in the second half.” Turtle power Jackson was the 11th man to enter the game, and while the results were not immediate, his value became clear as the game progressed. The Bulldogs outscored UAB by 12 points with Jackson in the game — Mike Edwards and Hammonds were plus-7 — and Crean took note of the senior point guard’s defensive prowess. “He was really aggressive in the second half,” Crean said. “What he did do, he handled the ball and he defended, and that’s what we need. He brought that defense and played like a veteran.” Georgia cut its turnovers down from 13 in the first half to 7 in the second half with Jackson on the point, and Crean said fans can expect to see his 3-point shooting improve, too. “He’s not really understood … the spacing he needs, he missed a couple of threes because his footwork wasn’t where it needed to be,” Crean said. “He hasn’t grasped that part of it yet, but he will.” Jackson was just 1-of-3 shooting (all threes) with two assists, no turnovers and two steals, but his intangibles far outweighed the boxscore. If Jackson’s shooting improves, more great wins are ahead for the program. Crean’s clipboard There were 19.5 seconds left in the game when a loose ball scramble forced Georgia to call timeout with the 56-54 lead and just one second left on the shot clock. Crean drew up a clever inbounds play that involved multiple players rotating through the lane before Hammonds threw a pinpoint pass to a soaring Claxton that was laid in at the rim. WATCH: Tom Crean postgame, proud his team found way to win Somehow, a replay showed the shot clock at zero before the ball left Claxton’s hand and the basket was disallowed. “That’s the quickest one second I’ve ever been a part of in 19 years as a head coach,” Crean said, no stranger to home court advantage in basketball-crazy gyms. The referees had the clock reset to 19.4 seconds for the Blazers ensuing possession, an indication Claxton had gotten the shot off in 0.1 seconds.         The post 4 takeaways from Georgia basketball’s thrilling 56-54 exhibition win at UAB appeared first on DawgNation.