UGA basketball

Georgia falls short at Auburn, 79-65

AUBURN, Ala. – With a 14-point lead at the end of the first half, the Georgia Bulldog basketball team could not withstand a second-half offensive burst from the No. 17/20 Auburn Tigers, as Georgia fell 79-65 on Saturday night at the Auburn Arena.

“We played very sound in half number one,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “I thought our defense just collapsed at the start of the second half. We gave them momentum, and we just couldn’t stop it. We eventually did, and we got back in a position to make a couple plays to win. Now we have to regroup and get ready for Arkansas.”

Georgia separated itself by 14 points by the end of the half, the largest deficit the Tigers have faced at the end of the first half this season. The top-ranked Bulldog defense also held the Tigers to a 25 percent shooting clip from the field, while the Georgia offense shot 56 percent. The Bulldogs also dominated in the paint in the first half, scoring 14 points compared to Auburn’s four.

Auburn struck first with a couple free throws, but Georgia quickly secured the lead with a 9-2 run, featuring junior forward Derek Ogbeide and redshirt senior Juwan Parker, whose 3-pointer provided a 9-4 Bulldog margin at the 15:43 mark.

The Tigers evened the contest at nine, and the two teams traded points back-and-forth until a pair of defensive stands allowed seven unanswered Georgia points. Sophomore guard Tyree Crump produced five quick points off the bench, including a 3-pointer, followed by buckets from Parker and senior forward Yante Maten for the 23-15 edge.

Georgia closed out the half with a 17-6 run, featuring seven points from the charity line, including five from Maten. Parker capped the Georgia scoring parade with a pair of 3-pointers and led all scorers with 13 points at the end of the 40-24 opening frame.

Auburn reversed the tale in the second half, taking its first lead since the opening minute of the game at the 13:45 mark with a Mustapha Heron dunk for the 43-42 edge over the Bulldogs. The Tigers continued to establish themselves on offense throughout the half, separating themselves by as many as 13 points.

Georgia cut the Tiger lead to five with Parker’s career-tying fourth 3-pointer, which capped a 14-5 Bulldog run. The Auburn offense continued to surge to close the half, sealing the 79-65 final.

The top-ranked Georgia (12-6, 3-4) defense outrebounded Auburn (17-2, 5-1) 34 to 27, marking just the fifth game this season an opponent has topped the Tigers’ boards effort.

Maten led Georgia with 17 points and nine rebounds. The Pontiac, Michigan native has scored in double-digits in all but one game this season. Parker followed, producing 16 points and matching a career-high with four 3-pointers. The redshirt senior shot 50 percent from the field. Freshman Rayshaun Hammonds also registered double-digits on offense with 10 points.

Next up, Georgia welcomes Arkansas to Stegeman Coliseum for a mid-week contest on Tuesday. The game will be available on SEC Network at 6:30 p.m.

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Bulldogs edge Tigers 61-60 in final seconds

BATON ROUGE, La. – A second-half surge led the Georgia Bulldogs basketball team to a 61-60 victory over the Louisiana State Tigers in the last five seconds of regulation at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on Tuesday night.

Trailing by two points with 1:18 remaining in the game, freshman guard Teshaun Hightower snagged a steal and sprinted to the basket, before he was intentionally fouled. The ball remained in Georgia hands after Hightower took a trip to the charity line, and redshirt senior guard Juwan Parker drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key to hand Georgia the temporary 59-58 margin.

After LSU sophomore forward Duop Reath hit a jumper for the one-point Tiger lead, Parker secured an offensive rebound with 23 seconds remaining to keep the Bulldogs in possession. Following a Georgia timeout, junior guard Turtle Jackson found senior forward Yante Maten, who fought to the basket for a layup and the 61-60 win.

“You’re going to have some knockdown drag-outs in college basketball,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “This a big road win for us, and we just keep fighting forward. That’s what you have to do in a league that’s as tough and as deep as this. You’re going to have bumps in the road, you have to keep battling.”

Maten paced the Bulldogs with his eighth double-double of the season and ninth 20-point performance. The league-leader in scoring provided 21 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks, with a 7-for-7 clip from the free throw line.

The Georgia (12-5, 3-3) defense held the league’s top team in shooting efficiency (49.8 percent) to 43.4 percent from the field. After making 52 percent of their shots in the first half, the Bulldogs allowed the Tigers (11-6, 2-3) only 35.7 percent in the second.

Junior forward Derek Ogbeide controlled the Georgia attack in the first half, leading all-scorers with nine points in 20 minutes, on the way to his fifth double-digit scoring outing of the season (11.). After a Hightower 3-pointer, who logged a career-high eight points, the Bulldogs broke through a full-court press, with Jackson finding Ogbeide at the basket for the go-ahead 7-5 layup. Following another Hightower bucket at the 14:38 mark, Ogbeide collected all seven of Georgia’s next points, diminishing a 10-2 LSU run and cutting the Tiger edge to three.

Maten provided a jumper and his own tipin with a little over two minutes remaining in the first frame, but LSU distanced itself to a 34-24 advantage.

To open the half, Georgia swiftly responded with a 14-3 run, stopping the LSU offense on four-straight possessions while scoring eight unanswered points, featuring a pair of buckets from both Maten and Parker. Trailing one point at the 14:59 mark, Maten supplied a three-point play from a layup and a free throw to knot the game for the first time since the opening half at 37. A Hightower free throw made it 38-37.

“We just made a couple adjustments at the half, and talked about getting back to playing like the team that we were earlier in the year,” Fox said. “We finally calmed down.”​

After a Jackson 3-pointer tied the game at 41, sophomore guard Jordan Harris followed it up with a 3-pointer to provide the 44-41 Georgia lead. LSU jumped back in with three consecutive buckets, as the two teams traded points back-and-forth for the remaining minutes, combining for a total of 16 lead changes and eight tied scores by the end of the game.

Next up, the Bulldogs continue play on the road on Saturday against the Auburn Tigers, the top team in the conference. The game will be available on SEC Network at 6 p.m.

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UGA outhustled by South Carolina, 64-57

Athens, Ga. – The Georgia Bulldogs (11-5, 2-3) edged 64-57 by the South Carolina Gamecocks in Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday afternoon for their first loss at home this season.
The loss snapped Georgia’s home win streak at eight games to start the 2017-18 campaign, its best start since 2010-11. UGA held South Carolina to 27-percent shooting from the field, the Gamecock’s lowest output this season. Prior to tip, the Bulldogs ranks first in the SEC in field goal percent defense, giving up an average of .384 to its opponents.
“Obviously we didn’t play well enough to win we just got beat up on the backboards in the first half and we got ourselves in position to win the game and our free throw shooting in the second half was really really subpar,” said Georgia head coach Mark Fox. “Against quality teams you can’t have those kind of errors. I was real disappointed in our free throw shooting in the first half but South Carolina is a really good defensive team. We anticipated it would be a slugfest and when you have a game like that you have to rebound and make free throws and we didn’t do that.”
Senior forward Yante Maten posted his 15th double-digit game of the season with 25 in addition to tying his season-highs for blocks, with four, and steals with two. The 20-point game by Maten marked his eighth such output this season. Red-shirt senior guard Juwan Parker also had his fifth double-digit game of the season with 11 points.
South Carolina (11-6, 2-3) posted the first points of the game and Maten immediately answered with a jumper. The Gamecocks gained an early lead over Georgia which they maintained for the entirety of the half and eventually the game. Heading into the break, the Gamecocks led by eight points at 37-29.
The Bulldogs notched the game up two separate times in the second half, but were unable to take the lead. Both teams’ stifling defense kept the margin below double digit points the entire game as the largest lead was nine by South Carolina.
Coming back from the half, a Maten lay-up launched the Bulldogs on an 8-2 run, which tied the game for the first time. A Parker jumper, foul and converted free throw at 14:19 made it 39-all. South Carolina fought back to overtake the margin 41-39. In an effort to keep the spread low, Maten, junior forward Derek Ogbeide, and freshman forward Nicolas Claxton each deflected shots out of the hands of the Gamecocks.  Maten tied the score for the second time, 49-49, on a jumper with 3:37 remaining. South Carolina pushed past the Bulldogs to regain the advantage. The Bulldogs drew fouls to regain possession but we unable to catch up to the Gamecocks converted late at the foul line and sealed the victory.
Georgia tallied a total of nine blocks in the game, one short of a season-high. Ogbeide tied his season-high of blocks with three and rebounds with nine.
Georgia returns to action on Tuesday, January 16 against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., at 7:00 p.m.

Head Coach Mark Fox
On the struggles on offense…
“They’re very disruptive on how they play and they’ve done that several years in a row and they’re very physical and they are a hard team to pass and catch against and you end up trying to dribble the ball a lot. This is a game where your guards have to make plays off the bounce and we didn’t make enough of those.”

Senior Forward Yante Maten
On the game…
“At the end of the day it’s going to come down to who wants it more and that wasn’t us today. I personally put that on me because I know I let up a lot of rebounds. We didn’t convert on the free throw line either and in a close game like that it made a big difference in the outcome of the game. We are down definitely because we haven’t lost twice in a row like we did tonight but we can’t let this loss affect our turnaround for LSU.”

Junior Forward Derek Ogbeide
On changing the tide of the game…
“We had several opportunities in which to change the game in a certain way we wanted but hopefully this game won’t hurt us in the long run. As far as us goes we’re looking at going onto the next win against LSU. With our talent we can make up for this and the other losses we have. We just need to push forward.”

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Yante Maten named to Wooden Top-25 List

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia’s Yante Maten was named to the Midseason Top-25 list for the John R. Wooden Award, presented by Wendy’s, the Los Angeles Athletic Club announced on Thursday.

Maten, a 6-8, 243-pound, forward from Pontiac, Mich., is in the midst of a standout senior season for the Bulldogs and currently ranks second in the SEC in scoring at 19.3 ppg and first in rebounding at 8.9 rpg. He also is among league leaders in minutes played (fifth), field goal percentage (seventh) and free throw percentage (10th).

Maten has scored in double figures in 14 of the Bulldogs’ 15 games, with seven 20-point outputs and seven double-doubles. He scored a season-high 30 points against Temple, his fifth career 30-point outing and third career 30-point, 10-rebound performance.

Earlier this season, Maten joined the Bulldogs’ top-10 carer leaders in both points and rebounds. He currently ranks No. 8 in both scoring (1,539 points) and rebounding (740 boards), as well as No. 4 in blocked shots (167), No. 5 in free throws made (410) and No. 6 in free throw attempts (547).

Maten, who is the SEC’s active career leader in points, rebounds, blocks and double-doubles, was one of two league players on the 25-player Wooden ledger.

Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts based on their performances during the first half of the 2017-18 season, the list comprises of 25 student-athletes who are front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor. The players on the list are considered strong candidates for the 2018 John R. Wooden Award presented by Wendy’s.

The leading candidates will be further pared to 20 top players in early February. Fifteen top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA will be submitted to voters on the Final Ballot prior to the NCAA Tournament.

Every year, players have made the Final Ballot that were not on the preseason or midseason lists. Voters are permitted to take into consideration the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament when casting the ballot. The 10-man Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round of the NCAA Tournament. The winner of the 2018 John R. Wooden Award will be presented during the ESPN College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s on Friday, April 6, 2018.

Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best basketball player at an NCAA Division I university who has proven to his university that he is making progress towards graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), and last year’s recipient, Frank Mason III of Kansas.

Georgia is currently 11-4 on the season and 2-2 in SEC play. The Bulldogs return home on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. to host South Carolina at Stegeman Coliseum, where Georgia is a perfect 8-0 this season. The game is a sell-out The only seats that remain are the free 2,000 tickets for UGA students that will be distributed beginning at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.

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Bulldogs fall to Missouri 68-56 in Columbia

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Georgia Bulldog men’s basketball team was unable to overcome a second-half offensive burst from the Missouri Tigers on Wednesday night, falling 68-56 at the Mizzou Arena.

“This is as physical a game as we’ve probably had all year,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “We didn’t respond well enough to that. We’ve got to do a better job when it’s physical, finding ways to draw fouls, get to the line, or draw contact. We didn’t do a great job of that tonight.”

Missouri freshman forward Jontay Porter put the Tigers on the board first with a jumper, but Georgia quickly responded within the first minute, claiming the 4-2 lead from consecutive layups from senior forward Derek Ogbeide and freshman forward Rayshaun Hammonds.

With 9:04 remaining in the first half, Missouri guard Kassius Robertson drained a 3-pointer to knot the game at 11, but senior guard Yante Maten drew a foul and knocked down a pair of free throws to re-claim the lead. On the other end of the floor, Ogbeide posted a block and a defensive rebound, setting up a Tyree Crump 3-pointer off the bench to extend the Bulldog edge to five.

Georgia separated itself by as many as seven points throughout the first half, securing the first 7-point advantage by a jumper from junior guard William Jackson II, who shared the top Bulldog performance in points with Crump at 10.

A late couple of buckets in the first half from Missouri cut the Georgia lead to 23-20 and prevented the Tigers from recording their lowest scoring output in a half this season. Utah held Missouri to 19 points in November.

Entering the game as the league-leader in defensive field goal efficiency (38.2 percent), the Bulldogs (11-4, 2-2) held Missouri to a 26.7 percent clip from the field in the first 20 minutes. The Georgia defense also contained the Tigers (12-4, 2-1), the conference-leader in 3-point field goal percentage (40.3 percent), to a 1-for-9 performance in the first half.​

In the second half, Missouri took its first lead of the contest since its first bucket of the game during a 13-2 run. Georgia responded, and Maten sparked a 13-4 Georgia run, piecing together a 3-point play at the 13:14 mark with a charge to the basket for a dunk and a free throw. Freshman forward Nicolas Claxton hit a 3-pointer to break up a pair of Jeremiah Tilmon jumpers, and the Bulldogs used offensive outputs from Crump, Ogbeide and Hammonds to establish a two-point game.

Despite holding Missouri without a field goal for the remaining 3:13 of the game, a pair of 3-pointers from freshman Teshaun Hightower and Crump could not withstand the final Tiger lead.

Up next, Georgia returns home to Stegeman Coliseum to face off with South Carolina on Saturday. The game will be available on SEC Network at 1 p.m. ET.

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