Dawgs get first win of basketball season

ATHENS - Georgia is not going to be picky about its victories this season.

The Bulldogs had to hold off a second-half rally by a lightly-regarded Southwestern Athletic Conference opponent Wednesday night but eventually got their first win of the season, pulling away from Alabama A&M for a 71-54 victory. An announced crowd of 6,176 - which, in reality, was barely half that - watched the game in Stegeman Coliseum.

"We already have doubters so we'll take every win we can get so we start getting people back on our side," forward Steve Newman said.

Even second-year coach Dennis Felton, who casts a very critical eye, was reasonably upbeat afterward.

"It's terrific, but it's just one (win)," he said. "I'mm more in tune with whether or not we're progressing and I feel like we progressed tonight." Georgia (1-2) shot 47.6 percent from the floor, more than 10 percentage points better than its season average, and topped 70 for the first time this year.

"We had our backs against the wall," said freshman guard Channing Toney, who led the Bulldogs with 16 points. "We knew we had to fight for this game." The Bulldogs led by as many as 19 but allowed Alabama A&M (1-3) to cut the lead to seven on a layup by Andre Matthews with 8:46 left.

"Yeah, we lost a little composure as they made some of their steals and their run," Felton said, "but we had enough composure to finish it off, turn it around and win going away."

The Bulldogs return to action Friday against Georgia Tech in Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

Sophomore Levi Stukes, Georgia's leading returning scorer, finally found his offensive game and had 15. He had 13 total in the first two games of the season. Freshman Dave Bliss had a game-high 10 rebounds.

Freshman Younnes Idrissi had five of Georgia's season-high eight blocked shots. The Bulldogs also had a season-high 11 steals.

"It always feels good to get on the right track," freshman center Dave Bliss said.

Alex Evans made his Georgia debut. The preferred walk-on returned from a knee injury to play nine minutes and score two points. Also, redshirt freshman Corey Gibbs, who has battled a knee injury since arriving at Georgia, scored his first collegiate points on a putback with 2:50 left in the game. He finished with four points.

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