Georgia vs. Kentucky Game Notes

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Georgia vs. Kentucky Game Notes

Charles Mann for the layup
Charles Mann for the layup
Photo: Greg Poole/Bulldawg Illustrated


Georgia (13-8, 6-4 SEC) vs. Kentucky (17-6, 7-3 SEC)

Tuesday, February 9 at 9:00 p.m. ET

Rupp Arena (23,500) in Lexington, Ky.

TV: ESPN (Brad Nessler, PBP; Sean Farnham, Color; Shannon Spake, Color)

Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network by IMG (Scott Howard, PBP; Chuck Dowdle, Color; Tony Schiavone, Producer) Flagship: 97.1 The River in Atlanta; AM 960 The Ref in Athens

The Starting Five

UK leads the all-time series with UGA 119-26, including a 58-5 advantage in Lexington.

 UGA is 11-0 this season when winning or tying its opposition in the rebounding count, including a 6-0 mark in SEC play.

 UGA leads the SEC and ranks No. 6 nationally in field goal percentage defense. UGA has held 19 of 21 opponents under their season FG percentage all but Florida and Texas A&M.

 J.J. Frazier is ranked among the SEC’s top-10 leaders in a league-leading seven of 11 major stats – No. 4 in both 3FG pct. and steals; No. 6 in assist-to-TOs; No. 7 in 3-pointers; No. 8 in FT pct.; and No. 9 in both scoring and assists.

 UGA’s overall strength of schedule is ranked No. 8 in ESPN’s BPI. UGA’s non-conference SOS is No. 7 in the NCAA’s RPI.
Georgia Visits Lexington For Super Tuesday Date With Kentucky

The Georgia Bulldogs travel to Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday night to face Kentucky in an ESPN-televised Super Tuesday matchup.

In a couple of respects, the Bulldogs and Wildcats have been the SEC’s most successful programs over the past two seasons. UGA and UK are the only two teams to earn top-4 seeds – and therefore “double-byes” – in the 2014 and 2015 SEC Tournaments. The Dogs and Cats also are the only two squads to reach the semifinals of both those tourneys.

The Bulldogs improved to 13-8 overall and 6-4 in SEC play with a pair of home victories last week. Georgia topped No. 25/23 South Carolina, 69-56, on Tuesday before besting Auburn, 65-55, on Saturday.

Junior J.J. Frazier leads Georgia offensively at 16.3 ppg. In SEC play, that average jumps to 16.8 ppg. Frazier currently ranks among the SEC’s top-10 leaders in a league-most seven major statistical categories.

Three more Bulldogs are contributing points at a double-digit rate, both overall and in league action.

Yante Maten is posting 15.6 ppg and a team-high 7.9 rpg overall. In SEC games, Maten is averaging 14.7 ppg and 8.3 rpg.

Seniors Kenny Gaines (14.0 overall/13.5 SEC) and Charles Mann (10.7 overall/11.3 SEC) round out Georgia’s double-digiters.

All told, the aforementioned quartet has posted 62 double-figure scoring outputs for the Bulldogs this season. 

Kentucky upped its records to 17-6 overall and 7-3 in the SEC with an impressive 80-61 victory over Florida last Saturday.

Jamal Murray, the only Wildcat to start all 23 games, paces Kentucky on the offensive end at 18.3 ppg. Tyler Ulis chips in 16.3 ppg and an SEC-leading 7.1 apg. Alex Poythress adds 10.0 ppg and a team-best 6.6 rpg. Isaiah Briscoe is a single bucket shy of giving UK a fourth double-digit average at 9.9 ppg.
Keeping An Eye On…Entering Today’s Game:
Among UGA’s career Leaders
Charles Mann is…

• 12 points from No. 18 Charles Claxton

• 11 assists from No. 9 Ray Harrison

• 13 assists from No. 8 Rod Cole
Kenny Gaines is…

• 50 points from No. 25 Ray Harrison

• 3 3FGs from No. 7 Bernard Davis

• 20 3FGAs from No. 6 G.G. Smith
J.J. Frazier is…

• 7 3FGs from No. 1Terrance Woodbury

• 17 3FGAs from No. 16 Michael Chadwick
Series History With The Cats

Kentucky owns 119-26 advantage in the all-time series between the Bulldogs and the Wildcats, including a 58-5 mark in Lexington.

In the most recent meeting last March 3 in Athens, Kentucky used 16-2 run in the final 4:48 to defeat Georgia 72-64 at Stegeman Coliseum in a game featured 18 lead changes. 

“Really a hard-fought basketball game versus a great team that we have great respect for,” Mark Fox said. “Our effort wasn’t good enough. We played hard, we played very well, but we didn’t play perfect. And they are so dang good that you almost have to play perfect, and that’s not realistic. You have to anticipate that you’re not going to play perfect, but we played our tails off and it just wasn’t quite good enough.”

After a 32-32 halftime tie, the Bulldogs went on a 13-2 run early in the second half to grab a 52-45 lead with 10:30 remaining. Georgia extended its lead to nine, the largest lead of the night, on a tip-in from Yante Maten at the 9:12 mark that put the Bulldogs up 56-47.

Georgia led 62-56 before an Aaron Harrison layup with 4:48 left began an 14-0 Kentucky run. Karl-Anthony Towns proved to be Kentucky’s go-to option in the closing minutes, scoring seven points.

One month earlier to the day the Bulldogs suffered a 69-58 setback to the Wildcats at Rupp Arena. Nemanja Djurisic paced the Bulldogs with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor.

Down 15 at the break, Georgia rallied to cut the lead to as little as five points with just two minutes remaining. The comeback fell just short, however.

Kentucky jumped out to an early 11-1 lead, but Georgia fought back and narrowed the gap to six on two occasions.

The Bulldogs battled back in the second half, using a 20-9 surge to cut Kentucky’s lead to 56-49. Georgia later cut the lead to just five points with 2:06 remaining, but Kentucky held the Dogs scoreless in the final two minutes.
Last  Time Out

Georgia picked up its second straight SEC win by defeating Auburn, 65-55, Saturday in front of a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia was led by J.J. Frazier with 16 points, followed by Charles Mann and Yante Maten with 12 points each. Maten paced the team with 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

The Bulldogs held the Tigers to 25.9 percent shooting from the field.

After a slow start a Derek Ogbeide tip-in put Georgia up at the 16:36 mark, and the Bulldogs led the for the remainder of the game.

After owning a 31-22 lead at the half, Georgia opened the second stanza on an 18-5 spurt to take complete control of the contest. The Bulldogs held Auburn to just one field goal in the first 11 minutes in the second period. Georgia eventually led by 25 points twice, lastly at 60-35 before the Tigers closed the game on a 20-5 surge.
UGA In Midst Of Most SEC Success

Georgia entered Southeastern Conference competition looking to extend its most successful two- and three-year stretches in league play ever.

The Bulldogs finished 11-7 and tied for third in the SEC last season. That followed a 12-6 record in 2013-14 when Georgia tied for second in the league and a 9-9 effort during the 2012-13 season.

The Bulldogs’ 32 wins over the past three seasons and 23 during the past two campaign represent UGA’s most ever.

Georgia is one of only two teams to secure a top-4 seed to each of the past two SEC Tournaments, along with Kentucky. The Bulldogs and Wildcats also are the only two teams to reach the semifinals of both the 2014 and 2015 SEC Tourneys.
Rebound Count Equally Key

In addition to the scoreboard, the “boardboard” has been a relatively strong indicator of Georgia’s fortunes this season.

The Bulldogs are 11-0 when winning or tying the rebound count. That stat has been even more telling in SEC play, where Georgia is 6-0 when out-rebounding its opposition and 0-4 otherwise.

Last Tuesday’s rebounding effort against South Carolina may have been the Bulldogs’ best of the campaign to date. The Gamecocks entered the contest ranked first in the SEC and 10th nationally with a rebound margin of +9.9 before Georgia won the battle of the boards, 44-37.
Dogs Drawing Regular Sellouts

Saturday’s win over Auburn marked Georgia’s third consecutive Saturday sellout crowd of 10,523 at Stegeman Coliseum. It also represented the Bulldogs’ fourth capacity crowd in its last eight home outings.
Dogs’ “D” Has Been Consistent

Georgia currently leads the SEC ranks No. 6 nationally in field goal defense, with opponents shooting just 37.5 percent. The Bulldogs have held 19 of 21 opponents – and all 11 non-conference foes – under their season FG percentage. 

During the 2015 calendar portion of the schedule, Georgia’s opponents connected on a paltry 36.6 percent (218-of-596) of their shots from the field against the Bulldogs. Subtract out those totals and UGA’s opposition made 45.8 percent (3203-of-6990) of their field goals attempted.

Georgia also has held eight of its 10 SEC foes under their season FG percentage.

Florida became the first team to shoot a better percentage against the Bulldogs than otherwise. The Gators entered the SEC opener shooting 42.2 percent but hit 42.3 – yes, .1 of one percent better – versus Georgia.

Texas A&M became the first – and still only – team to make half its attempts against the Bulldogs, shooting 52.7 percent on Jan. 16.
Mann Breaks UGA FT Record

With his successful trip to the line at the 8:22 mark of the second half against South Carolina, Charles Mann became Georgia Basketball’s most prolific free throw shooter.

Mann broke Alec Kessler’s Georgia career record for free throw makes. In January, Mann broke Litterial Green’s UGA record for career free throw attempts.

Mann now has converted 559-of-813 free throw attempts for the Bulldogs and is the nation’s active leader in trips to the line.

On the SEC’s career leaders ledgers, Mann is currently No. 5 in free throw attempts and No. 6 in free throw makes.
J.J. Almost Everywhere In SEC Stats

J.J. Frazier is ranked among the SEC’s top-10 leaders in a league-high seven of 11 major statistical categories.

The 5-10, junior from Glennville, Ga., is currently ranked No. 4 in both 3-point percentage (.416) and steals (1.8 spg); No. 6 in assist-to-TOs (2.6 ratio); No. 7 in 3-pointers per game (2.5 3FGs pg); No. 8 in free throw percentage (.810); and No. 9 in both scoring (16.3 ppg) and assists (4.4 apg).

The only categories without Frazier listed are FG percentage, rebounds, blocks and minutes. Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis, Tennessee’s Kevin Punter and LSU’s Ben Simmons are second to Frazier with top-10s rankings in six stats each.

In statistics for SEC games only, Frazier also is listed in seven of 11 stats, subtracting 3-pointers per game and adding field goal percentage on the aforementioned list. 
Gaines, Mann Rewriting Records

Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann are consistently making moves on UGA’s career scoring leaders ledger.

Mann entered the season at No. 36 among the Bulldogs’ all-time points leaders and has ascended into top-20 during last Saturday’s victory over Auburn. Mann is currently the No. 19 scorer in Georgia Basketball history with 1,266 points – a dozen points shy of No. 18 tally of Charles Claxton.

Gaines became Georgia’s 46th 1,000-point scorer against Clemson on Dec. 22. He is now No. 26, 50 points from No. 25 Ray Harrison.
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.

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.

This season, Maten has more than tripled his scoring (15.6 ppg) and also has upped both his rebounding (7.9 rpg) and playing time (29.6 mpg) by massive chunks. 

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

Maten’s increased production can actually be traced back to last year’s postseason. He notched his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds against South Carolina in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.

That opened an active 24-game stretch in which Maten has recorded 18 of his 22 double-digit scoring outputs, as well as all seven of his career double-figure rebounding efforts and all six of his double-doubles.
Mann Joins UGA Top-10 Assist List

Charles Mann moved into Georgia’s all-time top-10 assists leaders during the Bulldogs’ Jan. 23 victory over Arkansas.

Mann distributed five buckets-to-be against the Razorbacks to up his career total to 355.That tied Donald Hartry, who was a member of Georgia’s 1983 NCAA Final Four and 1984 and 1986 NIT teams, for the No. 10 slot.

Mann enters the Kentucky game with 366 assists, 11 away from No. 9 Ray Harrison.
Injuries At An Inopportune Time

After a relatively injury-free preseason, the Bulldogs were bitten hard in the week of the season opener.

Following a Nov. 6 exhibition outing, freshman Derek Ogbeide (pronounced “Ohwg-Bay-Day”) suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out of action for four weeks.

In addition, Juwan Parker, who started the first 18 games last season, has been held out of action since the exhibition due to soreness in his Achilles. Parker missed virtually the entire second half of last season due to that injury, which required offseason surgery.

The lateness of those changes forced Georgia to mix and match rotation combinations for much of the first several games.
Ogbeide Back, Making Big Strides

Following the aforementioned injury-induced detour, Derek Ogbeide has shown signs of becoming an inside presence.

Ogbeide enjoyed an impressive unofficial debut in a Nov. 6 exhibition win over Armstrong State with a game-high 10 rebounds in 19 minutes of action.

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

He finally made his official premiere against Kansas State, checking at the 17:27 mark of the first half versus the Wildcats and playing 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.

The Pebblebrook High School product now is helping Georgia doing just that.

Ogbeide played a combined five minutes against Kansas State and Winthrop before  UGA’s 11-day break for Final Exams. 

In the 14 games since, he is contributing 4.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in 13.8 minutes.

Ogbeide’s impact has been even more dramatic in SEC play where he is averaging 5.6 rpg. In fact, equating out 40-minute production makes Ogbeide the SEC’s most proficient rebounder among league leaders in conference play.
Bulldogs In The BPI & RPI

Georgia is currently No. 52 in the ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) and No. 66 in the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).

The Bulldogs’ strength of schedule, which was ranked as the nation’s toughest in both ledgers for a good bit of December, is now at No. 9 in the BPI and No. 27 in the RPI.
UGA’s All-SEC Tandem…

Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann were both named preseason first-team All-SEC in voting 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 first-team preseason All-SEC selections prior to the 2010-11 season.

Mann became Georgia’s first-ever two-time first-team preseason All-SEC selection.
…Has Very Strong Ties

The duo of Peach State natives Kenny Gaines, who is from Atlanta, and Charles Mann, who hails from Alpharetta, has played a significant role since they arrived on campus in 2012.

Between them, Gaines and Mann have a combined 232 games played, 174 starts and 6,010 minutes played. 

Much of those numbers have been compiled together.

Gaines and Mann have started together for 77 of Georgia’s 87 contests since the beginning of the their sophomore year of 2013-14. All told, they have played 1,891 minutes and 40 seconds together at Georgia. 
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.

This season, Geno is averaging 20.8 minutes of action per game. The Booneville, Miss., native has matched or bettered his previous career-most MP in 10 games, including a career-best of 35 versus Chattanooga.

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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.