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STARKVILLE, Miss. – Charles Mann scored 19 points, Juwan Parker added 16 and Georgia overcame a slow start to beat Mississippi State 75-55 on Wednesday night.
Georgia trailed 22-8 midway through the first half and needed more than six minutes to make its first field goal.
But the momentum swung quickly. Georgia rallied for a 28-27 halftime lead and stretched its advantage to as many as 23 points late in the second half. Marcus Thornton added nine points and eight rebounds.
Georgia (13-10, 7-4 Southeastern Conference) is now tied with Mississippi for third place in the league. The Bulldogs meet the Rebels on Saturday in Athens, Ga.
Mississippi State (13-11, 3-8) has lost six straight. It was a miserable shooting night for MSU, which made just 3 of 25 attempts (12 percent) from 3-point range. Craig Sword led Mississippi State with 10 points.
Mann was 4 of 7 from the field and 10 of 11 on free throws. He also added six rebounds and five assists. Georgia shot 17 of 23 (73.9 percent) from the field in the second half.
Mississippi State jumped out to a 22-8 lead after a 3-pointer by Fred Thomas with 9:54 remaining in the first half. Georgia struggled to put anything in the basket early, missing its first eight shots before Brandon Morris finally knocked down a jumper.
Georgia coach Mark Fox used 12 players in the first half, trying to find a few who could produce some offense. Things started to turn when Fox put rarely-used freshman reserve Kenny Paul Geno into the game.
The 6-foot-6 Geno — a Booneville, Miss., native — scored six points as the Bulldogs rallied, going on a 20-5 run to take a 28-27 lead into halftime.
And the good times continued for Georgia early in the second half. The Bulldogs pounded their way inside for easy baskets and stretched their lead to 57-39 on Marcus Thornton's layup with 8:16 remaining. Georgia scored 40 points in the paint.
It was a bitter loss for Mississippi State, which squandered the 14-point first-half lead and was then embarrassed in the second half as Georgia picked apart its defense.
Now MSU faces two straight road games against Auburn and LSU before returning to Humphrey Coliseum.
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