Saturday May 23rd, 2015 10:51AM

Mann, Gaines lead Georgia past Mountaineers 71-53

By The Associated Press
ATHENS -- Coach Mark Fox had plenty of concerns during Georgia's four-game losing streak.

The Bulldogs were a mess defensively. They were rebounding poorly.

And Fox was equally frustrated by inconsistent free-throw shooting.

"That's an individual responsibility," Fox said. "That's concentrating on the technique, but we had some good free throws shooters miss some free throws. We've got to address that."

Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines each scored 14 points and Nemanja Djurisic added 10 points to help Georgia snap a four-game skid with a 71-53 victory over Appalachian State on Friday.

Cameron Forte had eight points for the Bulldogs (2-4).

Tevin Baskin finished with 20 points and Tab Hamilton scored all 11 of his points in the first half for the Mountaineers (1-5).

After Mann's free throw made it 53-43 with 8:20 remaining, Georgia held a double-digit lead for the rest of the game.

Appalachian State missed nine straight field-goal attempts early in the second half before Baskin's 20-footer cut the lead to eight points with 11:07 remaining.

Georgia corrected some of the problems it had in losses to Georgia Tech, Davidson, Temple and Nebraska, but the Bulldogs still missed 9 of 23 free-throw attempts against the Mountaineers.

Though it wasn't as egregious as Georgia's 16-for-30 performance against Nebraska, Fox was still displeased.

Mann, Gaines and Cameron Forte each missed two.

"We shot great until the last game (against Nebraska) and it cost us the game," Fox said. "Tonight we didn't shoot them very well either. We've got to address that."

The Bulldogs used a considerable size advantage to outscore Appalachian State 40-14 in the paint. They had only 11 assists, but the ball movement, court awareness and offensive rebounding improved.

Forte made it 55-43 with 7:46 remaining when he picked up a loose ball that teammate Donte' Williams mishandled in the paint and hit a short jumper. A few seconds later, Forte stole the ball from Hamilton and Mann quickly scored on a fastbreak layup for a 14-point lead.

Georgia never trailed after Gaines dunked to put the Bulldogs up 37-36 in the first two minutes of the second half.

The play was set by Marcus Thornton, who redeemed himself for a turnover a few seconds previously by stealing the ball from Hamilton and helping get the ball to Gaines on a fast break.

Georgia held the Mountaineers to just three offensive rebounds in the second half.

Maybe the competition wasn't as stout as what the Bulldogs faced in losing three games last week in the Charleston Classic, but Djurisic was encouraged nonetheless.

"We had trouble defending, and we had to focus on that," Djurisic said. "Rebounding was an issue, and we've worked on that lately. We really wanted to make an impact from the start, and I think we did a better job, especially in the second half, of stopping them from shooting 3s and rebounding well."

Mike Neal's straightaway 3 in the final minute of the first half gave Appalachian State a 32-31 lead before Gaines' two free throws put Georgia ahead by one point at intermission.

The Mountaineers went 0 for 5 in the second half on 3s. Chris Burgess missed 6 of 7 attempts. Hamilton and Frank Eaves both went 0 for 3.

Appalachian State, coming off an overtime loss at North Carolina Central last week, dropped to 13-34 on the road during the last four seasons under coach Jason Capel.

"We missed a lot of shots," Capel said. "We had 55 (shots from the field) and we had some really good, open looks. We allowed them to get in transition because of our badly missed shots and because of our turnovers."

The Mountaineers, of the Southern Conference, also dropped to 2-23 against Southeastern Conference opponents. They dropped to 0-5 against Georgia.
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