ATHENS, Ga. - A couple of 6-foot-9 freshmen helped Georgia defeat Mississippi Valley State 98-57 on Tuesday night.
Trey Thompkins and Drazen Zlovaric came off the bench to hit 15 of 17 shots, grab 13 rebounds, block two of shots and steal one pass in leading the Bulldogs (5-1) in the NIT Season Tip-Off on Tuesday night.
Playing in just his second game after sitting out the first four games with a high ankle sprain, Thompkins scored a game-high 23 points in 21 minutes.
Zlovaric, whose minutes had been limited so far this year, finished with 16 points. It could have been more if he had kept his size-15 sneakers off the 3-point line.
"I've got to buy me some 14's," he joked after the game. "I usually do that in practice, too. Coach keeps telling me to stand back an inch or two. When I got into the locker room, my teammates were all saying, 'Man, you could have had 30.'"
Mississippi Valley State (0-7) nearly let him.
Shannon Behling contributed 13 points, while Eric Petty scored 12, rebounded seven and assisted on two baskets for Mississippi Valley State.
"We subdued a team and made it tough for them to make shots," said Georgia coach Dennis Felton. "It was the first time we have had a dominating rebounding performance all year."
Georgia outrebounded the Delta Devils 51-25. Jeremy Price led the way with nine boards to go with 10 points. Zac Swansey and Terrance Woodbury added 10 each for the Bulldogs. Swansey scored all 10 of his points by halftime when Georgia led 46-26.
Mississippi Valley State kept things respectable for the first 10 minutes, trailing 21-16 after a baseline drive by Behling.
But the Delta Devils managed just one field goal over the last eight minutes of the half. The Bulldogs closed the half with a flurry of 3-pointers in the last 78 seconds, two by Swanzey and one by Thompkins.
Three quick Georgia baskets to start the second half quelled any faint comeback hopes for Mississippi Valley State.
"We got after it," said Mississippi Valley State coach Sean Woods. "We didn't really get beat in a bunch of places. They just made shots that we didn't."
Felton was pleased with the play of his freshmen.
"Typically, most all freshmen except for the very best tend to be inconsistent," he said. "These guys are talented and can be terrific players."
Thompkins played 18 minutes on Monday, scoring 10 in Georgia's 54-48 win over Santa Clara.
"I got a taste of what it is like to play college basketball," he said. "It came a little easier than last night."