By Carey Phillips
Georgia held off Western Carolina 85-79 Monday in a non-conference men’s basketball game before 7,271 fans at Stegeman Coliseum.
Kario Oquendo scored 21 points for the Bulldogs. He received support from Braelen Bridges with 17, Aaron Cook with 13 and Dalen Ridgnal with 10.
Travion McCray paced the Catamounts (6-6) with 20 points. He was joined in double figures by Nick Robinson with 14, Marvin Price with 13, Vonterius Woolbright with 12 and Joe Petrakis with 11.
After trailing the entire first half, WCU pulled into a 44-44 tie on Petrakis’ three-pointer with 16:23 left in the game.
Western took its first lead at 53-52 as Price made a fast break layup with 12:01 on the clock.
McCray’s three-pointer put his team up 59-57 at the 9:13 mark.
The Cats led 62-61 with 7:49 to go as McCray made three free throws.
Georgia took the lead for good at 63-62 when Oquendo converted a three-point play with 6:45 on the clock.
That started a 12-2 run, during which Oquendo and Noah Baumann both hit three-pointers as the Dogs went up 73-64 at the 3:46 mark.
The game’s largest lead was 24-13 after a basket by Georgia’s Jabri Abdur-Rahim with 8:06 to play in the first half.
Western cut the gap to 35-33 at halftime after Price’s basket with 19 seconds left.
The Bulldogs made 44.6 percent of their field goal tries and limited WCU to 41.9 percent.
Baumann’s 11 rebounds helped Georgia control the boards 48-38. McCray and Tyler Harris both had eight for the Cats.
The Dogs committed nine turnovers, and Western had six.
Completing the WCU scoring were Marlow Gilmore with six and Harris with three.