MBB: Georgia vs. Jacksonville Preview

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MBB: Georgia vs. Jacksonville Preview

Sahvir Wheeler
Sahvir Wheeler

Georgia (2-0) vs. Jacksonville (3-0)

Friday, December 5, at 7:00 p.m. ET

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

Series History: UGA leads, 9-0

Last Meeting: UGA, 68-62, on Nov. 9, 2012

Watch: SEC Network (Tom Hart, play-by-play; Daymeon Fishback, analyst)

Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta; XM: 190; Internet: 961 (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• Tye Fagan became the 28th UGA Bulldog to earn SEC Player of the Week honors (a combined 38 times) since the award’s inception in 1985.

• Sahvir Wheeler is the first UGA player to record back-to-back double-digit assist tallies since at least 1979…we’re still going back searching for another instance.

• Versus FAMU, T. Fagan & S. Wheeler became the first Dogs to have double-doubles in the same game since N. Claxton and D. Ogbeide vs. S.C. on 3/9/19.

• UGA’s roster features eight newcomers with representative in every class – two freshmen, a sophomore, two juniors and a trio of graduate transfers.

• Six different Bulldogs combined to win a total of nine state championship at their high schools – Brown, Fagan (2), Horne (2), Taylor, Walton and Wheeler (2).

The Opening Tip

Georgia hosts Jacksonville on Friday evening in the second of three outings in a six-day span. 

That comes following a 263-day gap between March 11 – when Georgia played its final game of the 2019-20 season – and Nov. 29 – when the Bulldogs opened their 2020-21 campaign.

The Bulldogs were ready to return to action on Nov. 25; however, the carpet was pulled out from beneath them just three hours before tipoff when COVID issues within the Columbus State traveling party caused the cancellation of their opener.

That cancellation has caused a ripple effect on the Georgia schedule, turning an excessively long period between contests into a rapid succession of outings.

On Monday afternoon at 12:24, the Bulldogs announced they would take on North Georgia 54 and a half hours later in a make-up effort to the season opener. The addition of that contest lined up games against Nighthawks, Dolphins and Grizzlies in a span of just less than a week. Following the Jacksonville game, Georgia will host Montana next Tuesday.

“It’s not optimal, but for this year, it’s very probable,” Tom Crean said following the North Georgia contest. “I told the guys, we may get to a situation where we don’t have three games in three weeks, let alone three games in one week. Who knows what way this season is going to go. Anything you do is getting you ready for what’s coming. It just so happens that this is the way it’s going to be.”

Keeping An Eye On…Entering Tonight’s Game:

Andrew Garcia is…

• 185 points from 1,000 for his career

• 81 rebounds for 500 for his career

Series History With The Dolphins

Georgia owns a perfect 9-0 record all-time versus Jacksonville, including six victories in Athens.

Most recently on Nov. 9, 2012, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope began what became an SEC Player of the Year campaign by scoring 17 points to lead Georgia in a 68-62 win over the Dolphins. That season opener also featured a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds from Nemi Djurisic.

The series between UGA and JU began with a two-for-one contract spanning the 1965-66 through 1967-68 seasons. The teams met on a home-and-home basis during the late-80s and again in the mid-90s. The last two matchups were in 2006-07 and the aforementioned outing to open the 2012-13 season.

Scouting Jacksonville

The Dolphins arrive in Athens with a 3-0 record on the season, with home victories over Coastal Georgia, Southern Miss and Presbyterian.

Four Jacksonville players are averaging double digits – Dontarius James at 17.7 ppg, Tyreese Davis and Diante Wood both at 14.3 ppg and Bryce Workman at 10.7 ppg.

The Dolphins are shooting an eye-catching 46.2 percent from 3-point range, connecting on 30-of-65 attempts from behind the arc. James, Wood and Trey Sides are doing most of that damage. They account for 83.3 percent of Jacksonville’s made 3-pointers while shooting a sizzling 58.1 percent (25-of-43) from 22-feet and 1 3/4-inches and beyond.

The Jacksonville roster is comprised of eight returnees and seven newcomers.

Wood is the leading returning scorer from a year ago when he averaged 6.6 ppg, while Mo Arnold, Sides and Workman all drew starting nods at some point during the 2019-20 campaign. Davis, who was an Atlantic Sun All-Freshman honoree in 2018-19, also returns after sitting out last season with a knee injury.

New Faces In New Places

Georgia’s roster features eight first-year Bulldogs, while Jacksonville brings seven new Dolphins to Athens.

Georgia’s octet newcomers features a representative of every class – freshmen K.D. Johnson and Josh Taylor, sophomore Tyron McMillan, juniors Jonathan Ned and Mikal Starks; and graduate transfer seniors Andrew Garcia, P.J. Horne and Justin Kier.

Jacksonville’s septet of newcomers includes four freshman, a junior college transfer and two Division I transfers. James, who played two seasons at Xavier before joining Jacksonville, headlines the new batch of Dolphins.  

Wheeler Of To Historic Start

Quick…when was the last time a 5-10 player led the SEC in double-doubles? The answer: Dec. 3, 2020.

Sahvir Wheeler sat atop the SEC’s leaders in double-doubles after notching points-assists efforts in Georgia’s first two games. He posted 12 points and 12 boards against Florida A&M and followed that with 17 points and 10 passes-to-points versus North Georgia.

Quick…when was the last time a Bulldog recorded double-figure assist tallies in consecutive games? The answer: we don’t know.

As of lunchtime Thursday, research to the 1979-80 campaign – Hugh Durham’s first in Athens – found no such occurrence.

A couple of close calls include: Donald Hartry doing so in a four-game span in 1986-87, Rashad Wright over a five-game stretch over the end of the 2001-02 and start of the 2002-03 seasons and G.G. Smith over a six-game time frame during the 1998-99 campaign.

We’re still digging, but the best guess if it happened would be in the early-70s when Gino Gianfrancesco set three of the top-four single-game efforts ever by a Bulldog.

Wheeler’s 12 assists against FAMU equaled the fourth-best single-game assist tally in 116 seasons of Georgia Basketball. It also was the most by a Bulldog in more than two decades…since G.G. Smith also had a dozen assists against Vanderbilt on Jan. 3, 1999.

Fagan Named SEC POTW

Tye Fagan was named the SEC Player of the Week on Monday by the league office in Birmingham, Ala., a day after the best outing of his collegiate career against Florida A&M.

Fagan posted career-high tallies of 21 points and 10 rebounds en route to his first career double-double. He connected on 9-of-10 shots from the field against the Rattlers and played a major role in creating distance on the scoreboard. Fagan scored eight points in a span of 76 seconds as Georgia expanded a two-point lead (49-47) to 10 (59-49). 

“I don’t take credit for that,” Fagan said when asked about his performance after the game. “A lot of that has to do with Sahvir (Wheeler). He is a great ball-handler, and he finds guys. I’m pretty sure he had 12 assists, so that is what I mean how he found guys. I give a lot of credit to my teammates and coaches to put me in the right places.”

Fagan’s previous highs were 15 points and six rebounds. For his career, Fagan has now recorded four double-digit scoring outputs. In those games, he has connected on an almost unfathomable 83.9 percent (26-of-31) of his field goal attempts.

Fagan is the 28th different Bulldog to be named SEC Player of the Week since the award’s inception in 1985. Those players have combined to earn 38 POTW certificates.

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