Thornton leads Georgia past Colorado, 64-57
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Georgia lost a key starter for an indefinite period of time while landing what coach Mark Fox called a ''resume win.''
Georgia took a big lead with a 16-0 run and held on after losing guard Kenny Gaines to beat Colorado 64-57 on Sunday.
Gaines, a junior who was averaging 12.3 points per game, was taken to a hospital after suffering a sprained right shoulder early in the second half.
There was no immediate timetable on how long Gaines will be out. Fox said ''that's never a good sign'' when a player has to be hospitalized.
''It'd be a big blow if he can't come back, I know that,'' Fox said before the injury was diagnosed as a sprain.
Gaines remained on the floor for a few minutes before being helped off the court and to the locker room midway through the second half. Xavier Johnson appeared to fall on top of Gaines as each dove for a loose ball. Johnson drew a foul on the play.
Marcus Thornton led Georgia (5-3) with 16 points, including a basket that started the run late in the first half. The Bulldogs scored the final 12 points of the first half and continued the run with the first two baskets of the second half for a 38-22 lead.
Josh Scott had 18 points, including 12 in the second half, and 11 rebounds for Colorado (5-2).
''We needed to play consistent for 40 minutes of basketball together,'' Scott said. ''We didn't do that today. We did it in the second half, but in the first half we didn't.''
Colorado pulled to with six points at 57-51 on a 3-pointer by Johnson, who had 10 points, with 1:07 remaining. Juwan Parker and J.J. Frazier combined for five free throws to push the lead back to 11 points.
Askia Booker led Colorado with 20 points, including three baskets in the final minute.
Colorado is coming off its third straight NCAA tournament appearance. Georgia, which opened its season with a loss at Georgia Tech before falling to Gonzaga and Minnesota in the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York, needed the quality win.
''I actually thought driving in our kids might be feeling a little pressure,'' Fox said.
A 3-pointer by Johnson pulled Colorado even with Georgia at 22-all with 4:11 remaining in the first half. It was the Buffaloes' final basket of the half.
An offensive rebound and basket by Thornton started the 12-0 run to finish the half. Thornton also made two free throws in the run, while Nemanja Djurisic and Frazier hit 3-pointers.
A layup by Booker three minutes into the second half ended Georgia's 16-0 run.
''The scoring drought in the first half hurt,'' said Colorado coach Tad Boyle. ''... We just can't play only one half of basketball and expect to beat good teams. We have gotten away with that at home, but you can't get away with that on the road.''
Colorado: The Buffaloes missed their final five shots of the first half and shot only 35.6 percent (21 of 59) for the game. ... Colorado beat Georgia each of the last two years in Boulder, including an 84-70 win last season. It fell to 1-5 at Georgia.
Georgia: Thornton was again in double figures one game after his career-high 24 points in an 86-55 win over Chattanooga. ... Gaines had four points and four rebounds before the injury. ... Freshman Yante Maten had no points and four fouls in seven minutes.
Frazier matched his career high with 15 points. He made each of his three 3-pointers and each of his six free throws.
Georgia has a two-week break for fall semester finals before its next game. The unusually long layoff may be well-timed, due to Gaines' injury. Gaines missed most of the preseason with an illness, so Georgia had that time to work with other lineups. ''I hope and pray he's all right,'' Thornton said. ''I'm glad we've got two weeks.''
Colorado: hosts Colorado State on Wednesday.
Georgia: hosts Seton Hall on Dec. 21.