BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Freshman Shabazz Muhammad scored 14 of his game-high 21 points in the second half as 11th-ranked UCLA overcame a double-digit deficit to outlast Georgia 60-56 in the Progressive Legends Classic here Tuesday night.
Georgia, for the second consecutive night, led a nationally-ranked team throughout the first half, and also for much of the second period. The Bulldogs (1-4) were led in scoring by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who had 16 points. Seven other Georgia players scored, including three with eight points: Donte' Williams, Nemanja Djurisic and reserve John Cannon.
"It was a tough, hard-fought game again, but for the second night in a row, in the gut of the game, the other team made the big plays and we didn't," Georgia coach Mark Fox. "UCLA's zone defense was effective; give them credit for that. We just didn't execute well against it, particularly in the second half. We also were outscored by a wide margin at the free throw line. And in such a low-scoring game, that was the difference."
Georgia took quick command of this game, bolting to an early lead on buckets by Djurisic and Williams. A pair of foul shots by Williams with 7:40 left got the Bulldogs their first double-figure lead at 22-12. Their largest margin of the half came on a turnaround jumper by Cannon that boosted them in front 30-19 at the 3:31 mark.
UCLA (4-1), however, wasted little time gaining an even foothold in the second period. Muhammed scored on the Bruins' first two possessions, and a 3-pointer by Normal Powell with 16:43 left put UCLA ahead for the first time at 35-33.
The Bruins built their lead to five before Georgia mounted a rally to reclaim command. A jumper by reserve guard Charles Mann put the Bulldogs back in front at 44-42 with 10:04 left.
UCLA broke a 49-all tie and took the lead for good on a jumper by Travis Wear with 4;38 left. A key moment for Georgia came with the Bulldogs trailing 55-52, when Caldwell-Pope lost balance and possession, a turnover that UCLA converted into foul shots by Powell with 57 seconds left.
Georgia will resume their 2012-13 season this Friday at home against East Tennessee State. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. (EST).
University of Georgia