Mann, Thornton lead Georgia past Missouri

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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Charles Mann can now see a bright side to Georgia’s rough start to the season.

“We knew we were a great team,” he said. “People didn’t believe that, but we believed in each other and in the system. We wanted to come out and play hard just to win this year.”

Mann scored 19 points, Marcus Thornton added 15 and Georgia won its second straight game with a 71-56 victory over Missouri on Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs (16-11, 10-5 Southeastern Conference) have won six of seven to strengthen their hold on third place in the league.

Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson each finished with 17 points for Missouri (19-9, 7-8 SEC).

The Tigers, coming off Saturday’s dispirited loss at Alabama, might have hurt their chance of making a sixth straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.

“No, we’re just trying to win,” Brown said. “We’re not trying to put extra pressure on ourselves. We’ve got to have faith in our team and each other.”

Georgia, which went just 6-6 in nonconference play, began the SEC schedule by snapping Missouri’s 26-game home winning streak on Jan. 8. Only No. 1 Florida and No. 17 Kentucky have performed better.

But Thornton said the Bulldogs aren’t discussing their postseason prospects. They still have a lot of work to do to earn an NCAA bid.

Georgia closes the regular season with games at Arkansas, against Mississippi State and at LSU.

“We’re not necessarily worried about that,” Thornton said. “So focus on the next game and try to put ourselves in position to win.”

Missouri dropped into a two-way tie for 10th place with Vanderbilt.

The Tigers’ last lead came on Brown’s layup midway through the first half. Missouri was outscored 16-6 over the final 9:12 before intermission.

Mann opened up the second half with a straightaway 3, and Juwan Parker’s three-point play a couple of minutes later gave Georgia its first double-digit lead at 37-26.

Despite outrebounding the Bulldogs, Missouri struggled in nearly every other facet of the game, missing 15 of its first 16 attempts beyond the arc, getting outscored 38-18 in the paint and 11-2 on fast breaks.

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