MEN’S BASKETBALL: Georgia vs Clemson Game Notes

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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Georgia vs Clemson Game Notes


Georgia guard Charles Mann (4) during the Bulldogs’ game against the in state rival Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 in Athens, Ga.
Photo: Georgia Sports Communications

 

Georgia vs Clemson

Tuesday, December 22 at 6:00 p.m.

Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) in Athens, Ga.

TV: SEC Network (Matt Stewart, PBP; John Pelphrey, Color)

Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network by IMG (Scott Howard, PBP; Chuck Dowdle, Color; Tony Schiavone, Producer) Flagship: AM 750; Sirius: 81; XM: 81

 

The Starting Five

• Georgia leads the all-time series with Clemson 55-24, including a 30-9 record in Athens.

• The Bulldogs are currently No. 36 in the NCAA RPI and No. 41 in ESPN’s BPI. The average RPI of the UGA’s opponents is 91, the highest average for any of the 351 teams competing in Division I.

• Yante Maten has posted career-high scoring outputs this season, progressing from 13 to 17 to 21 (twice) to 24 versus Winthrop.

• Kenny Gaines is currently three points shy of becoming the 46th Georgia Bulldog to score 1,000 career points.

• With his 35-point outburst against Ga. Tech, J.J. Frazier (right) became just the fifth Bulldog to score 35 points or more twice for UGA. Frazier, who also scored 37 at Miss. St. last season, joined Willie Anderson, Jacky Dorsey, Litterial Green and Zippy Morocco.

 

UGA Completes Pre-Christmas Slate With Interstate Date

The Georgia Bulldogs host Clemson at Stegeman Coliseum at 6 p.m. on Tuesday before a week-long break from action around Christmas. The Bulldogs will host Robert Morris next Tuesday in their final tune-up prior to opening SEC play at Florida on Jan. 2.

Clemson represents Georgia’s second-straight ACC foe following last Saturday’s 75-61 victory over arch rival Georgia Tech.

Georgia improved to 5-3 on the year with its win over the Yellow Jackets. J.J. Frazier poured in 35 points, including 22 in the second half, to pace the Bulldogs en route to SEC Player of the Week honors.

Yante Maten continues to lead Georgia and rank among SEC leaders in scoring (No. 8 at 16.9 ppg), rebounding (No. 7 at 8.1 rpg), blocks (No. 3 at 2.1 bpg) and field goal percentage (No. 3 at .580).

Frazier and Kenny Gaines also sport double-digit scoring averages at 16.0 ppg and 15.3 ppg, respectively. Gaines enters the Clemson contest three points shy of becoming UGA’s 46th 1,000-point career scorer.

Clemson dropped to 7-4 with the Tigers’ 65-59 loss to South Carolina last Friday. 

Jaron Blossomgame leads Clemson in both the scoring and rebounding columns, averaging 16.5 ppg and 7.1 rpg, respectively. The Tigers’ most impressive individual statistic, however, is Jordan Roper’s assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.50, which ranked No. 8 nationally as of Sunday.

 

Keeping An Eye On…Entering today’s game:

 

Millennium point watch…

• Kenny Gaines is 3 points shy of becoming Georgia’s 46th 1,000-point scorer

 

Among UGA’s career Leaders

 

Charles Mann is…

• 5 points from co-No. 27s Nemanja Djurisic and Jerry Epling

• 13 points from No. 26 G.G. Smith

• 19 FTAs from No. 1 Litterial Green

• 50 FTs from No. 2 Litterial Green

• 23 assists from No. 10 Donald Hartry

 

Kenny Gaines is…

• 1 3FG from No. 9 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

• 7 3FGA from No. 10 Sundiata Gaines

 

J.J. Frazier is…

• 2 3FGs from No. 19 Jumaine Jones

• 15 3FGAs from No. No. 19 Jumaine Jones

 

Series History With The Tigers 

Georgia currently possesses a 55-24 lead in its all-time series with Clemson, including a 30-9 edge here in Athens.

The Bulldogs and Tigers once were regular foes, meeting 72 times from 1913-65 before a two-decade hiatus in the series. Though separated by less than a 90-minute drive, UGA and CU did not face off again until the 1986 NIT. That was the first of three-straight postseason meetings which also included a Georgia victory in the 1996 NCAA Tournament and a Clemson “W” in the 1999 NIT.

The Bulldogs and Tigers split a neutral site “home-and-home” series in the early-2000s, with Georgia winning a Dec. ‘03 matchup at Philips Arena as part of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Classic and Clemson returning the favor at the Bi-Lo Center in Greenville in Feb. ‘05.

Most recently, the Bulldogs and Tigers contested a true home-and-home series during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 campaigns. Georgia secured a 72-69 win in Athens on Dec. 28, 2005, and Clemson garnered a 75-60 victory a year to the day later at Littlejohn Coliseum.

In the most recent matchup, Clemson’s Trevor Booker scored 14 points to lead a quintet of Tigers in double figures in the 15-point win. Terrance led Georgia with 14 points as well.

Clemson led 34-28 at the half and used a 9-0 surge early in the second stanza to grab an even more decisive advantage.

 

Last  Time Out

J.J. Frazier poured in a season-high 35 points to lead Georgia to a 75-61 victory over arch-rival Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon in Stegeman Coliseum.

Sophomore forward Yante Maten joined Frazier in double figures with 17 points. The Pontiac, Michigan, native chipped in five rebounds and two blocks for a complete performance. Frazier finished the night with six 3-pointers and also went 11-of-12 from the free throw line.

“That’s a great win for our team,” Mark Fox said. “It’s a great win and our kids have practiced well. We have practiced them very hard in the last 10 days. They have gotten better and beat a good Georgia Tech basketball team. If you look at their numbers, they’re probably in the top 50 or 60 in the country. It’s a resume win in that regard and certainly a good win for our team.”

The Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets battled back and forth for the initial 20 minutes before Georgia Tech took a one-point, 34-33, lead into the break.

Georgia raced out of the gates to begin the second stanza with a 7-0 run. Kenny Gaines got things started down low, followed by a Frazier 3-point basket on the ensuing possession. Houston Kessler topped it off with a layup on fast break, forcing the Yellow Jackets to burn a timeout.

The Bulldogs held on to their lead for all of the second period.

After allowing the Yellow Jackets to shoot 50 percent in the first half, the Bulldogs buckled down on the defensive end and held Georgia Tech to just 29.6 percent shooting in the second half.

After the Jackets pulled within 65-57 with 2:11 left, Georgia converted on 10-of-12 free throws – 8-of-8 by Frazier – down the stretch to ice the win.

 

Computers Like UGA & Its Schedule

The two most noted computer rankings hold Georgia in high regard. The Bulldogs are currently No. 36 in the NCAA RPI and No. 41 in ESPN’s BPI through games of Dec. 20.

In addtion, Georgia’s strength of schedule also rated is the nation’s third-toughest in the RPI and fourth-most difficult in the BPI. The average RPI of the Bulldogs’ eight opponents to date is 91, the highest average for any of the 351 teams competing at the Division I level this season.

The Bulldogs are one of only two teams – along Oregon State – in the top-60 on the NCAA’s ledger yet to face a team with an RPI in the 200s.

 

No Giant But A Jacket-Killer

J.J. Frazier’s 35 points against Georgia Tech last Saturday represented the most ever by a Bulldog against UGA’s arch-rival.

Frazier shot 64.3 percent from the field (9-of-14), 66.7 percent from 3-point range (6-of-9) and 91.7 percent at the line (11-of-12) versus the Yellow Jackets. Add in his four assists and Frazier had a hand in 57.3 percent of Georgia’s total offensive output of 75 points.

Frazier was stellar in the first half (13 points) and spectacular after the intermission. He scored 22 points (of UGA’s 42 in the period) and was 8-of-8 from the line in the final 1:29. Georgia was just 12-of-22 (.545) at the charity stripe before Frazier’s performance iced the victory.

 

A Positive Breakout

Not that the media needs any self affirmation but the folks who predicted Yante Maten would be one of the nation’s “breakout” players this season – including those at CBS, NBC and SI – are probably feeling pretty good about themselves.

Most expected Maten to up his contributions following the departure of seniors frontcourt mates Nemanja Djurisic and Marcus Thornton. He’s done more than just that.

A year ago, Maten averaged 5.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 18.2 minutes per game.

Through the first seven games this season, Maten has more than tripled his scoring (16.9 ppg), nearly doubled his rebounding (8.1 rpg) and is logging a team-high 31.3 mpg. 

Actually, Maten’s increased production can be traced to late last season.

Over Georgia’s last 11 contests, Maten has produced all three of his career double-doubles, all four of his double-figure rebounding efforts and seven of his 11 double-digit scoring productions.

Maten posted four career-high scoring outputs in UGA’s first seven games, improving from 13 points entering the season to 17 points versus Chattanooga to 21 points in back-to-back outings against Seton Hall and Oakland and 24 versus Winthrop.

 

Gaines Nearing Millennium Mark

Kenny Gaines enters the Clemson contest three points shy of becoming the 46th Bulldog to reach 1,000 career points.

Gaines has scored 997 points in 10 games played in a Georgia uniform, officially a 10.0 ppg career scoring average.

Gaines will join classmate Charles Mann in the Bulldogs’ millennium scoring club. Mann scored his 1,000th career point in last year’s regular-season finale at Auburn.

Mann entered 2015-16 at No. 36 among UGA’s career scoring leaders and has ascended to No. 29. He enters the Clemson game five points shy of catching both former teammate Nemanja Djurisic and Jerry Epling (1967-70) at the No. 27 slot with 1,123 points.

 

Maten 20-point Streak Snapped

Yante Maten’s four-game, 20-point scoring streak came to an end when he only scored 17 points (on 8-of-11 FG shooting) against Georgia Tech.

Maten opened the stretch with a career-high 21 points at Seton Hall and matched that output against Oakland. He then scored 20 points versus Kansas State before pouring in a new career best of 24 against Winthrop.

That represented the Bulldogs’ first four-game 20-point streak since Trey Thompkins recorded five straight 20-point outings in February of 2010.

Despite ending the 20-point string, Maten’s efficiency over the past five games has been spectacular. The sophomore from Pontiac, Mich., has connected on 62.3 percent (38-of-61) of his shots from the floor over the past quintet of contests.

 

Mann’s Versatility Not Just Hype

It’s not uncommon to hear a comment like “Ya know, he could play all five positions.”

Charles Mann has proven that isn’t idle hyperbole when discussing his game.

Mann, one of two Bulldogs along with Yante Maten to start every game this season, got the nod at four different positions during Georgia’s first eight outings. He started at his natural ‘1’ slot in five games but also started at the ‘2’ versus Winthrop, at the ‘3’ against Georgia Tech and at the ‘5’ – yes the ‘5’ – against Chattanooga.

Against High Point, Mann saw action at all five spots – from point guard to low post – during his 31 minutes of PT. Perhaps most impressive was his defensive effort in several matchups with John Brown, the nation’s No. 4 active scorer.

“He’s been so unselfish and willing to do that and has not complained one time,” Mark Fox said.

 

Frazier, Gaines Pop For 35 Each

J.J. Frazier and Kenny Gaines became the first pair of Georgia teammates to score 35 or more points in a game during the same season.

Gaines poured in 35 points against Murray State on Nov. 20, and Frazier matched that output against Georgia Tech last Saturday afternoon.

On four times have the Bulldogs had two 35-point performances in a single season, and the other three instances involved a single player doing so.

In 1952-53, Zippy Morocco scored 38 points vs. Tennessee and 37 vs. Alabama. In 1974-75, Jacky Dorsy posted 43 vs. Southern Miss and 41 vs. LSU. In 1990-91, Litterial Green notched 38 vs. UCLA and 35 vs. Florida.

Frazier, who scored a career-high 37 at Mississippi State on Jan. 24, 2015, joins the three aforementioned Bulldogs and Willie Anderson as the only five players to score 35 points or more two times for Georgia.

 

UGA’s All-SEC Tandem…

Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann were both named preseason first-team All-SEC in balloting of league coaches, becoming just the second duo of Bulldogs to earn first-team preseason honors since the recognition began prior to the 2004-05 season. 

Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins were also first-team selections prior to 2010-11.

Mann became Georgia’s first-ever two-time first-team preseason All-SEC selection.

 

…Has Very Strong Ties

The duo of Georgia natives Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann has played a significant role since they arrived on campus in 2012.

Between them, Gaines and Mann have a combined 206 games played, 148 starts and 5,253 minutes played. 

Much of that has been compiled together by the tandem of Peach State products.

Gaines, who is from Atlanta, and Mann, a native of Alpharetta, have started together for 65 of Georgia’s 75 contests since the beginning of the their sophomore year of 2013-14. All told, they have played 1,612 minutes and 43 seconds together at Georgia. 

 

Small In Stature, Big On Boards

J.J. Frazier grabbed 10 rebounds against Winthrop on Dec. 8.

In the process, the junior from Glennville became the most prominent name on a list of Division I players under 6-feet tall.

A year ago, Frazier was among seven players under 6-feet who recorded a double-figure rebounding effort. He hauled in 11 boards against Seton Hall.

With his performance against Winthrop, Frazier joined five other under-6-foot players with 10 or more rebounds this season.

Frazier is the only player in the nation under 6-feet to have a double-figure rebounding performance in each of the past two seasons.

And A Well-Rounded Effort

Along with his 10 boards, J.J. Frazier also scored 15 points – for his first career double-double – and handed out five assists versus Winthrop.

 

Frazier became just the third Georgia player to post 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists during Mark Fox’s six-plus seasons as the Bulldogs’ head coach.

Travis Leslie did so twice, both against Vanderbilt. Leslie had 21 points, 13 rebounds and five assists against the Commodores on Jan. 12, 2011, and also notched 22 points, 10 boards and five assists versus Vandy on Feb. 25, 2010. In addition, Trey Thompkins had 23 points, 14 rebounds and six assists against Arkansas in the first round of the SEC Tournament on March 11, 2010.

Thanks to stats guru Dave McMahon for compiling the data in the previous two notes on Frazier’s feats.

 

Ogbeide Makes Official Debut

Freshman Derek Ogbeide (pronounced “Ohwg-Bay-Day”) enjoyed a very impressive unofficial debut for Georgia.

In the Bulldogs’ Nov. 6 exhibition win over Armstrong State, Ogbeide grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. He also scored four points and recorded one assist,

block and steal in 19 minutes of action.

Ogbeide suffered a right shoulder injury in practice thereafter and missed Georgia’s first five games of the season.

 

Ogbeide finally made his official premiere with the Bulldogs when he checked at the 17:27 mark of the first half against Kansas State. He played two minutes in the contest.

“He was just cleared today a little before 2 o’clock,” Mark Fox said. “I just wanted to get him 45 seconds here and there just to get him to relax and so he’d been out there before.”

The day before the Kansas State contest Fox was asked about what Georgia was missing without Ogbeide.

“He would allow us to impose our size and physicality on people” Fox said. “Without him, we are so fearful of the foul trouble. Our depth isn’t what it could be. It’s changed our rotations to a large degree.”

Ogbeide played without a minutes limitation for the first time against Georgia Tech, logging 11 MP and recording four boards and two points.

 

Past, Present Bulldogs Graduate

A current and former Bulldog received their diplomas from UGA in commencement ceremonies in Stegeman Coliseum on Dec. 18.

Junior Juwan Parker earned his degree in Management, impressively in just two and a half years after his arrival in Athens. He will begin pursuing a master’s degree in Sport Management in January.

Adrian Jones, who played for the Bulldogs from 1997-01, also secured his bachelor’s in Recreation and Leisure Studies.

All told, 24 current and former Bulldogs have now graduated from UGA since Mark Fox arrived as Georgia’s head coach in 2009.

Three more will receive their degrees next May. Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann will earn their bachelor’s in Housing. Houston Kessler will garner his bachelor’s in Economics.

 

Return of The Mask

J.J. Frazier played the first three-plus games with a protective mask on his face after suffering a slight nasal fracture in practice on Nov. 5, the day before the Bulldogs’ exhibition outing versus Armstrong State.

Frazier warmed up with the mask before the exhibition, but was held to out of action. He then played with the mask for the first three and a half games before discarding it in the second half at Seton Hall.

Last season, Frazier played six games with the mask after suffering a fractured orbital bone and concussion during a Feb. 14 matchup with Auburn. He missed Georgia’s next game and then played the final five regular-season contests and an SEC Tournament date with South Carolina but dispatched the protective gear for the last two games.

 

More PT For KPG

Kenny Paul Geno entered the 2015-16 season with a career high of 21 minutes played against Missouri late last season.

Through Georgia’s first eight games this season, Geno is averaging 24.6 minutes of action per game. The Booneville, Miss., native has matched or bettered his previous career-most MP in six games, including a new 35 MP versus Chattanooga in the opener.

Geno averaged 3.8 minutes as a freshman in 2013-14 but had earned increased playing time during last season’s non-conference schedule. He suffered a broken left wrist in the SEC opener against Arkansas and missed 10 games following surgery. Geno returned to log double-digit minutes in eight of the Bulldogs’ final nine outings of 2014-15 and earned a starting nod for six of the last eight games.

Geno started the first seven games this season, compiling a stretch of 13 starts in 15 outings dating back to last season.

 

< 50 Victories Rare For UGA

Georgia’s 49-46 victory over High Point on Nov. 25 marked just the third time the Bulldogs have won while scoring less than 50 points since advent of the shot clock with the  1985-86 season.

Georgia last won scoring fewer than 50 when it defeated South Carolina, 48-47, on Feb. 23, 2006.

The only other sub-50 victories since 1985 both came against Mississippi State when the shot clock was set at 45 seconds – 49-35 on Feb. 20, 1988, and 48-41 on Jan. 17, 1987.

 

Gaines Earns SEC Honor

Kenny Gaines was tabbed as the SEC’s Co-Player of the Week on Monday, Nov. 23, three days after his career-high 35-point outburst against Murray State. He shared the weekly honor with Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis.

Gaines accounted for 55.6 percent of UGA’s points in the 63-52 win, including 64.7 percent in the second half (22 of 34). He also equaled the No. 15 single-game scoring output by a Bulldog, as well as tying marks for No. 6 in 3-pointers made (7) and No. 5 in 3-pointers attempted (14).

Gaines’ performance against Murray State represented just the eighth time a Bulldog has scored half of Georgia’s points going as far back as complete records for UGA Basketball exist (beginning with the 1960-61 season) as outlined below.

 

50 Percent Of UGA’s Points

Player, points Game info

Kenny Gaines, 35 63-52, Murray St. (11/20/15)

J.J. Frazier, 37 72-66, Miss. St. (1/24/15)

K. Caldwell-Pope, 32 63-68, LSU (3/14/13)

Travis Leslie, 34 66-78, Vanderbilt (3/12/10)

Levi Stukes, 20 38-50, Florida (3/2/05)

Willie Anderson, 36 71-65, Florida (2/10/88)

Donald Hartry, 31 62-61, Miss. St. (2/8/86)

Dominique Wilkins, 33 64-58, Ole Miss (2/27/82)

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.