Fox let the players know he wasn’t pleased.
“He’ll allow us to laugh a little bit, but when it’s too much of it, he gets up in us,” forward Brandon Morris said. “That’s what we need. I feel like that he does it when he needs to.”
Former Whitefield Academy star Kenny Gaines scored all of his 14 points in the final 10 minutes, Morris and Charles Mann each added 10 points and Georgia beat Texas A&M 62-50 on Saturday night.
Georgia (12-10, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) has won two straight after ending a three-game skid in Thursday’s victory over LSU.
Fox was upset that the Bulldogs were joking around too much earlier in the afternoon. He knew that kind of approach would not suit Georgia well.
“I don’t think I had gotten on my team in the shoot-around all year until (Saturday),” Fox said. “We are fortunate to win.”
Mann, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer this season, was just 3-for-8 from the field, but his fastbreak dunk, following a steal by Morris, made it 56-48 with 1:55 left in the game.
Jamal Jones finished with 17 points and was the only player to score in double figures for Texas A&M (13-10, 4-6 SEC). The Aggies have lost six of seven.
Georgia sixth man Nemanja Djurisic, the Bulldogs’ second-leading scorer this season, hobbled off the court with 1:42 remaining with an apparent right leg injury.
Georgia’s next game is Wednesday at Mississippi State.
Texas A&M took its last lead at 40-39 on Shawn Smith’s layup with 10:21 remaining. Fox called a full timeout, and Gaines scored 12 of Georgia’s next 21 points.
“He just told us to keep fighting,” Gaines said. “Don’t let up. Don’t celebrate for any buckets that we might have made. Play hard for your teammates and just get after it on defense.”
Mann played the game with sore ribs on his right side, an injury sustained against LSU, but he hit four straight free throws in the final 1:09 to help push the lead from seven to 12.
Texas A&M hit just one of 19 attempts beyond the arc. Jones went 1-for-10, hitting a 3 from the right side to cut Georgia’s lead to 25-23 at the halftime buzzer.
“We couldn’t score and we needed someone to step up and make a shot,” Aggies coach Billy Kennedy said. “We just couldn’t make a shot.”
Donte’ Williams had nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
After Smith’s layup, Gaines hit a 3 on Georgia’s next possession, and he picked up a loose ball on the Bulldogs’ end and jammed to make it 44-40 with 9:19 remaining.
Gaines blocked Jones’ runner in the lane to force the Aggies into a shot-clock violation with 5:14 remaining.
Texas A&M had three offensive rebounds on a possession, but couldn’t score, and Gaines fed Mann for a fastbreak layup that made it
49-44 with 4:20 remaining.
The Bulldogs went ahead on 52-47 on Gaines’ straightaway 3 at the 3:48 mark, and they took a 54-48 lead on an 18-footer by Gaines with 3:01 remaining.
Texas A&M, which handed out a season-low three assists, also struggled at times on defense by allowing Georgia to grab too many loose balls and offensive rebounds to extend possessions.
“We had been working on that zone (defense) for the past two weeks, but it still has some holes in it,” Aggies guard Jordan Green said. “They also did a good job at making shots. We played them as drives, but they showed us they could shoot.”