ATHENS, Ga. (AP) RJ Melendez scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half and Georgia cruised to an 80-69 victory over Mercer on Friday night.

Melendez made 5 of 8 shots with two 3-pointers for Georgia (5-3). His first-half effort led the Bulldogs to a 44-31 advantage. The Bulldogs shot 68% from the floor (13 for 19), made 5 of 7 from beyond the arc and 13 of 18 at the free-throw line before halftime.

Freshman Silas Demary Jr. and Jabri Abdur-Rahim scored 13 points apiece for Georgia with Demary adding seven rebounds. Reserve Justin Hill scored 11. Russel Tchewa pitched in with 10 points and eight rebounds.

Jalyn McCreary scored 15 points with four steals to pace the Bears (2-5). Freshman reserves Jake Davis and David Thomas scored 13 and 11, respectively. Jah Quinones totaled 10 points, seven assists and five boards.

Abdur-Rahim sank two free throws with 9:57 left in the first half to give Georgia a 20-18 lead and the Bulldogs never trailed again. Mercer got no closer than nine in the second half.

Georgia improves to 17-4 at home since Mike White took over the program last season. The Bulldogs were coming off a 68-66 victory over Florida State in the ACC/SEC Challenge, overcoming a 17-point deficit in the final 6:37.

The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 56-23, including a 35-7 record at home. It was the first time the two schools squared off since 2014 when Georgia beat the Bears 86-77 in triple overtime.

Georgia entertains Georgia Tech on Tuesday. Mercer will host South Alabama on Wednesday.


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