Georgia forward Nemanja Djurisic (42) grabs a rebound over Jacksonville forward Dylan Fritsch during their game in Athens on Friday.
Fort Valley stuns GSW men on home floor in season opener
AMERICUS --- The Georgia Southwestern State men's basketball team opened the season at home in disappointing fashion Friday with an overtime loss to Fort Valley State, 78-75.
GSW had a chance to win the game in regulation but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Daryl Davis led GSW (0-1) with a team-high 14 points and six rebounds, while Jamon Hawkins added 13, Austin Kelly scored 12 and Michael Tankersly chipped in 11.
GSW will try to rebound today at 2 p.m. vs. Brevard (Fla.) College.
ATHENS — Georgia coach Mark Fox says the Bulldogs are a long way from a finished product, particularly if Donte' Williams doesn't get back in his good graces.
"I didn't think in the second that we played with much spirit," Fox said. "I thought we were a little bit out of rhythm, but the important thing is that we were able to win the game."
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 17 points, Nemanja Djurisic added 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead Georgia to a 68-62 win over Jacksonville on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Georgia looked as if it has plenty of work to do before facing No. 1 Indiana in 10 days. The Bulldogs will play Youngstown State and Southern Mississippi next week before facing the Hoosiers in New York.
Fox kept Williams, who started all 32 games last season, in uniform on the bench the entire game.
Afterward, Fox said that Williams needed to be more responsible, but the coach did not offer a reason for his decision other than to say it was "not a substance suspension or any of that nonsense."
Fox would not say whether Williams, a 6-foot-9 junior who averaged 7.8 points and 5.1 rebounds last season, will play when the Bulldogs host Youngstown State on Monday.
"Donte' didn't play because I didn't think Donte' was as responsible as I want him to be," Fox said. "He just wasn't as responsible as I want him to be in life, period. I'm just trying to help him grow."
Georgia scored its last field goal with 6:19 remaining and hit just 24 of 38 free throw attempts. The Bulldogs struggled against the Dolphins' full-court pressure and were sluggish on defense as Jacksonville shot 61.3 percent from the field in the second half.
The teams combined for 44 turnovers, with Marcus Thornton committing six of Georgia's 23.
Keith McDougald finished with 13 points, Glenn Powell scored 11 and Russell Powell had 10 for Jacksonville.
The Dolphins shot 61.3 percent from the field in the second half, but they never led in the game.
Georgia was up by 15 points in the closing seconds of the first half before Javon Dawson's runner with 10:53 remaining cut the lead to five.
Caldwell-Pope, who was held scoreless until the 1:32 mark of the first half, was 10 of 12 from the free throw line and hit just one of five attempts beyond the 3-point arc. For the game, Georgia shot 21 percent on 3s.
"I wasn't as good as I could be," said Caldwell-Pope, an All-Southeastern Conference freshman last season and Georgia's leading returning scorer. "In the first half, I let their defense speed me up and I didn't stay calm. In the second half, I calmed down and just played basketball, but overall I didn't play well enough."
Fox took the blame for Georgia's struggles with full-court pressure, adding that the Bulldogs have yet to spend much time on getting the ball up the floor with defenders playing close and active.
"It was kind of ugly game," Fox said. "We were turning the ball over. There were several fouls. The game just had no rhythm in the second half. We ran a bunch of guys in and out of there so we had no rhythm, but that's not unusual for a first game."
The Bulldogs are coming off a 15-17 season. Jacksonville went 8-22 last season with just two victories coming outside the Atlantic Sun Conference.
GEORGIA TECH CRUSHES TULANE IN OPENER:
ATLANTA — Georgia Tech's old stars returned to provide a reminder of where the program has been.
The Yellow Jackets' current players, coming off an 11-20 season, took an encouraging first step in their efforts to bring the program back.
Kammeon Holsey, who didn't start due to an ankle injury, scored 18 points and Georgia Tech opened its season by beating Tulane 79-61 on Friday night.
"You saw different things today that are very important in building back a once-proud program," said second-year coach Brian Gregory. "You saw glimpses of what the program should look like and we're going to keep building toward that."
Georgia Tech opened its new McCamish Pavilion, built on the site of the Yellow Jackets' old Alexander-Memorial Coliseum.
More than 140 former players, managers and trainers returned for the game, including Georgia Tech's first All-American, Roger Kaiser, and all-time leading scorer Rich Yunkus. Among other former players recognized at halftime were John Salley, Matt Harpring and 1990 Final Four stars Kenny Anderson and Dennis Scott.
Former coaches Bobby Cremins and Dwayne Morrison joined the players on the court.
"Seeing all those guys was incredible," Gregory said.
"You realize you're in a special place. All we needed to do was make sure we played well, and our guys did exactly that."
Holsey, a junior forward, came off the bench less than 5 minutes into the game and immediately assumed a lead scoring role for Georgia Tech (1-0), which returns all five starters.
Georgia Tech played its first home game since the 2010-11 season. It played last season's home games at two sites while its facility was being rebuilt.
"It was crazy," said senior guard Mfon Udofia. "I almost cried. Just to see those students in the crowd. Just to see the fans. It's been a long time since we had a packed house like this. It was unbelievable."
Josh Davis led Tulane (0-1) with a career-high 27 points. Ricky Tarrant had 18.
The Green Wave took a 57-52 home win over Georgia Tech last season. Tulane coach Ed Conroy said this Georgia Tech team looks bigger and deeper.
"They have more bodies," Conroy said. "They're bigger and stronger. They were a lot more physical and I think it showed in their emphasis on the boards."
Gregory started freshmen forwards Marcus Georges-Hunt, who had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Robert Carter, Jr., who had nine points and seven rebounds. Another freshman, Chris Bolden, made two 3-pointers and had 10 points.
"I thought they responded extremely well," Gregory said. "They've injected a little energy into the program, there's no question about it."
Junior center Daniel Miller had 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Yellow Jackets. Miller helped the Yellow Jackets Georgia Tech take a commanding 47-23 advantage in rebounds.
"I thought Tech right from the very first possession, I think they batted it up three or four times and really hit the offensive boards and that really set the pace," Conroy said.
The Yellow Jackets pushed their lead to double figures for the first time, at 20-10, on a jumper by Bolden. Georgia Tech led 39-30 before the Green Wave closed to within five points, at 41-36, on a basket by Davis early in the second half.
Georgia Tech took control with a 19-7 run. Holsey had a three-point play as part of his run of seven straight points during the run.
Davis made 12 of 15 shots for Tulane, but some of his teammates struggled from the field. Jordan Callahan made only 2 of 12 shots for four points. Center Tomas Bruha, who had only four rebounds, made only 2 of 7 shots for 4 points.
Davis easily surpassed his previous high of 23 points against Nicholls State on Nov. 15, 2011. Davis said the loss showed where the Green Wave, who finished 15-16 last season, must improve.
"The rebounding and defense, we have to get back on defense much quicker," Davis said. "We'll get back in the gym and take care of it."
Georgia Tech announced a sellout, listed at 8,600.
SOUTH ALABAMA STUNS DEFENDING ACC CHAMP FSU:
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State raised its Atlantic Coast Conference championship banner before its season opener. Then the Seminoles took the floor and struggled in every way.
Antoine Allen hit four 3-pointers and scored 21 points to lead South Alabama to a 76-71 season-opening upset of No. 25 Florida State on Friday night.
Augustine Rubit added 12 points and Mychal Ammons had 11 points and 11 rebounds for South Alabama, which shot 9 of 15 from 3-point range.
"They were a little tougher than we were," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "They played with a lot more maturity. They executed their game plan better than we did."
The Seminoles had won 10 straight season openers coming into Friday's game — every game since coach Leonard Hamilton arrived on campus. And Florida State had routed South Alabama 80-39 on Nov. 20, 2011, in Tallahassee.
But on Friday, Florida State struggled late in shooting just 10 of 28 (35.7 percent) from the floor in the second half. The Seminoles also had 17 turnovers and just nine assists.
"They're a very good team," Allen said. "But we weren't scared at all. We were ready for the challenge. We gave it our all for 40 minutes and we came out with the win."
South Alabama coach Ronnie Arrow credited a summer trip to Canada that gave the team extra practices and exhibition games for helping the team prepare for the season.
"Don't let anybody underestimate those trips once every four years," Arrow said. "We went on it, we got 10 extra practices, we got three games. You can't coach experience. It just takes time to develop into it. Hopefully our guys know what it takes now and we just get better and better and better."
Five Jaguars scored in double figures.
"It's been a long time since we allowed five guys to score in double figures," Hamilton said. "They were very on point with everything that they did."
Terry Whisnant and Montay Brandon had 11 points apiece for the defending ACC champions. Senior guard Michael Snaer had 10 points at halftime but was held scoreless in the second half. He shot 2 of 11 in the game.
Terrance Shannon returned from a shoulder injury to score 10 points for Florida State. Shannon played in just seven games last season after having season-ending surgery in November.
"The biggest thing with us is we have to have a short-term memory," Shannon said. "Put this game in the past and move on. We know we are young. We know it's going to take time."
SULLIVAN DROPS 26 AS AUBURN ROLLS IN SEASON OPENER:
AUBURN, Ala. — It was an old-fashioned shootout at Auburn Arena and though the Tigers' Frankie Sullivan lost the individual battle — his team won the game.
The Tigers' senior guard finished one point shy of a career high with 26 to lead the Tigers to a 61-50 win against IPFW on Friday in the season opener for both teams.
Individually, Sullivan was outdone by his counterpart, IPFW guard Frank Gaines. The senior picked had a career-high 32 points for the Mastadons.
Much of the second half was a one-on-one battle with the two trading big buckets and plenty of points. Though it worked out for the Tigers in the end, Sullivan said that wasn't the plan.
"I'd rather for me to have to score four points and him to score two than us to go back-and-forth like that," Sullivan said. "I'd rather play defense on him and stop him from scoring because we knew he was a great scorer. I'd rather play great defense than outscore anybody.
"I don't like getting into scoring matches with anybody, because it's not an individual game. It's a team game."
Auburn used an 18-4 run over 9:22 in the second half to turn a five-point deficit into a 55-46 lead with 1:24 left. Sullivan put an exclamation point on the rally, dunking an offensive rebound — much to the approval of the packed student section.
Sullivan had nine points during the rally.
"Frankie Sullivan," Auburn center Rob Chubb said when asked what started to click offensively after a sloppy first half that included 11 turnovers.
Auburn kept going to Sullivan throughout the second half, and the senior answered most of the time. He scored 16 of his points in the second and finished the game shooting 11 of 20 from the field.
Sullivan spent much of last season recovering from a knee injury. Auburn coach Tony Barbee said Friday night was proof his senior was back to full healthy.
"I saw it all summer," Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. "That's why I kept saying Frankie was back. He couldn't do that last year. If he did that in practice — which he could do every now and then — he'd look like a 15-year NBA vet. He couldn't jump for three weeks. It was over with.
"So now, we saw that all summer long, which is why we were encouraged with what we were expecting from Frankie. This is the year I think he can have."
Chubb had 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to start the season with a double-double. Forward Allen Payne had 12 points and seven rebounds.
Gaines, who was ninth last season with 21.2 points per game, shot 10-of-18 from the field and 9-of-11 from the free throw line.
"I thought he was efficient," IPFW coach Tony Jasick said of Gaines. He took a couple shots early where I thought we could get a better one. Frank is a good player and as he continues to grow as a leader, I think our team will grow."
Auburn will next play Nov. 15 against Murray State. IPFW will play Rochester on Nov. 13.