COLUMBIA, Mo. - All year long, Mark Fox has been searching for a second scorer to take some of the pressure off Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. While Fox couldn't get a win against Missouri on Wednesday night, he may have found a solid option for his supporting actor.
Senior guard Vincent Williams made 7-of-10 shots and scored a career-high 23 points in a 79-62 loss to No. 17 Missouri.
"Vincent is a senior who has lost his job to a freshman and he just has great pride," Fox said. "He just really came to play, took advantage of his minutes and I thought he played very, very well."
Fox didn't sound surprised by Williams' production. But the opposing coach sure was.
"No," Frank Haith said when asked if the Tigers had Williams high on their list of priorities when scouting Georgia. "But he obviously played very well."
Williams' effort pushed Caldwell-Pope to the supporting role on Wednesday. The Bulldogs' leading scorer had 15 points, two below his season average. It wasn't nearly enough for UGA to get its first SEC win or to topple the 17th-ranked team in the country.
Ironically, Georgia did as good a job as anyone of slowing down Mizzou's leading man. Phil Pressey, who is Missouri's second-leading scorer and the SEC's top assist man, had just five points and six rebounds in 30 minutes on the floor. But the Tigers put four other players in double figures to overhwelm Georgia and send the Bulldogs' to their third SEC loss in as many conference games.
"They had very balanced scoring," Fox said. "Certainly, we wanted to do a job on Pressey, but that's why Missouri has such a great team because they have shooting and post play and always have two or three shooters on the floor and that's really hard to defend."
Georgia had particular trouble containing the Tigers inside. Alex Oriakhi and Tony Criswell combined to score 23 points and grab 14 rebounds, half of them on the offensive end.
"I thought our team played really hard," Fox said. "Missouri has a very good basketball team and a team that just has scoring all over the floor. That was difficult for us to stop.
"I thought their bigs, Oriakhi hurt us on the glass. I don't know how many offensive rebounds he had, but we knew rebounding was going to be an issue. I thought his offensive rebounding was a factor and the other big kid (Tony) Criswell, I thought their offensive rebounding was certainly an issue in the game."
The Bulldogs fell to 6-10 on the season and 0-3 in SEC play. Their next chance at a league win comes at 7 p.m. Saturday night against LSU. Those Tigers lost to South Carolina at home in overtime on Wednesday night.
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