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Bulldogs lay the smackdown on Vols in 80-63 rout

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This was u-g-l-y.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Georgia
The Vols ran into a buzzsaw on Wednesday night.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Tennessee Volunteers (10-6, 2-2) were looking to make it three SEC wins in a row against the Georgia Bulldogs (11-5, 1-2), who were still trying to notch the first conference win of the season.

But an offensive onslaught led by Anthony Edwards’ 26 points, was easily too much for the Vols as the Bulldogs controlled the game from wire-to-wire in the rout. Jordan Bowden led the way for the Vols with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

Both teams got off to a quick start scoring-wise, combining for 14 points in the first 3:00, but Georgia was able to build an 8-6 lead in the early going.

John Fulkerson came through with a layup to tie the game at eight points apiece and Bowden hit a jumper a few possessions later to give the Vols their first lead of the game, a 10-8 advantage, with 14:30 left in the first half.

But Georgia battled right back. Yves Pons hit a jumper himself to push the lead to 12-8, but a quick Edwards 3 and a layup from Donnell Gresham Jr. put Georgia right back up, 13-11. Edwards drained another one from the perimeter and bad transition defense allowed Georgia’s offense to continue to make plays as they led 20-15 with 11:00 to go in the first half.

Georgia’s offense really began to roll over the next few minutes of play. Edwards and Rayshaun Hammonds made play after play en route to an 11-2 run that eventually saw Tom Crean’s squad pull ahead, 32-19, with 7:44 left in the first half. The Vols were doing everything in their power to stop the onslaught, but Georgia kept making shot after shot, while also making plays on the defensive end of the court to stymie Tennessee.

The Vols were able to make a few plays over the remaining minutes of the first half, but Georgia wasn’t having it. They continued to dominate the Vols and would eventually carry a 47-28 lead into halftime.

Edwards was on another level in the first half. He led the Bulldogs with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-4 from the perimeter. As a team, Georgia was dropping buckets at a 53.1% (17-of-32, including 8-of-13 from 3) overall clip from the floor, while the Vols hit 34.4% (11-of-32) of their shots.

The Bulldogs had also out-rebounded the Vols, 20-17. The only positive from the first half was the fact that the Vols only had five turnovers. It was clear that if they wanted any shot at even making this game competitive, then they would have to step it up in all phases.

The Vols were able to get some offense together and cut the lead to 53-36 in the first few minutes of the second half, but Hammonds came through with another 3 - his third of the game - to give the Bulldogs a 56-36 lead with about 14:45 left in the game.

The game hung around the score of 63-40 for what felt like forever. A scary moment came around the 8:11 when Georgia’s freshman guard, Sahvir Wheeler, banged his knee against a Tennessee defender and looked to be in serious pain. The four-star recruit was able to walk off under his own power, though, so everything appeared to be OK for the moment.

Bowden finally broke the 63-40 slump with a quick layup, but Georgia answered right back and led 65-42, with 7:51 left in the game.

Tennessee continued to fight, but Georgia was just too much as they went on to win, 80-63, to earn its first SEC win of the year.

The Vols wil travel to Nashville on Saturday, January 18 to take on their in-state rival, the Vanderbilt Commodores. Tipoff is scheduled for 6PM EST.

You can check out the final score and stats here.