FULLERTON, Calif. — Once Yante Maten settled down, the rest of the Georgia Bulldogs followed suit.
Turtle Jackson scored 14 of his career-high 16 points in the second half, when Maten had 13 of his 15 points, and the Bulldogs rallied past Cal State Fullerton 64-57 in the opening round of the Wooden Legacy on Thursday night.
The Bulldogs (4-0) trailed the entire game until Nicolas Claxton’s tip-in with 8:53 remaining. They pulled away over the final 6 ½ minutes when preseason SEC player of the year Maten picked up his scoring after being limited by two fouls in the first half.
“We didn’t really make any adjustments at the half. We just tried to get our guys to calm down,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “Maten played very impatiently in the first half and that led him to some bad plays. In the second half, he played with the poise of a senior down the stretch.”
Kyle Allman scored a career-high 34 points, making 13 of 15 free throws, to lead Fullerton (1-3), which never led by more than six points while playing on its home floor. It was the fourth-best scoring performance in tournament history.
“My teammates found me in the right spots,” Allman said. “I was confident in my shots.”
After huge losses in two of their first three games, the Titans played tough defense, using full-court pressure, double teams and flying around the court to stick hands in the Bulldogs’ faces. Georgia had its worst shooting performance of the season at 42 percent.
“We gave ourselves a chance,” Fullerton coach Dedrique Taylor said. “We just had a couple mishaps and a couple shots didn’t fall our way.”
Allman’s 3-pointer left Fullerton trailing 49-48, but the Titans got no closer.
Maten missed his first free throw this season and is now 29 of 30 in four games. The rest of the Bulldogs are 50 of 84 from the line. After double-doubles in his first three games, Maten had just four rebounds against the Titans.
The game featured Georgia coach Mark Fox squaring off against his former assistant Taylor, who is in his fifth season at Fullerton. Taylor was on Fox’s staff at Nevada for two years.
“You never like to play your friends,” Fox said. “I wanted to win and fortunately we did.”
The Bulldogs are playing their first road games of the season. Last season, they notched wins at Georgia Tech, Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Alabama, and took ranked Kentucky and Florida to overtime before losing.
Cal State Fullerton got blown out to start the season, losing by 42 at No. 10 Southern California and by 19 at No. 21 Saint Mary’s, before inflicting similar damage on Bethesda in a 42-point victory.
Georgia: Advanced to the championship round on Friday.
Cal State Fullerton: Dropped into the consolation bracket on Friday.