Han Vance on Georgia men’s basketball: Tye Fagan, the first recruit signed by head coach Tom Crean at UGA, got extended playing time, as both newcomers watched two fellow Bulldogs go wild in the grandest fashion at the Cayman Islands Classic opening game, played 1:30 p.m. on Monday.
The sophomore tandem of Rayshaun Hammonds and Nicolas Claxton were featured in my last two Houndspeak pieces for Bulldawg Illustrated. I looked like a soothsayer early in the Caribbean, hey mon, as Hammonds found his offensive game staying all the way greenlit and ended with 31 points. The “Slim Reaper,” UGA legacy Nicolas Claxton netted 22 points, 11 boards, 4 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. We be jammin’.
Hoop Hounds came in eyeing a Tuesday 1:30 pm. game against 60-game football rival Clemson of the ACC, playing in a beautiful facility, with high school-sized seating capacity, on tropical Grand Cayman.
Dogs seized the early opportunity. Illinois State were only slight underdogs and led 2-0 before Georgia quickly imposed itself, with superior size and fleet athletes aplenty. By the time Illinois State hit 40, Hammonds and Claxton were combining to outscore their whole team with 42. Though Illinois State had cut the lead to just 13 a few minutes after the intermission.
The lead crested back up 20 at the 10-minute mark, Georgia in control. Dogs with a 80-68 win, ready to have a brief but good time on the beach resort and be back on the court in game action less than 24 hours later. These early tourneys are a healthy mix of business and pleasure for the usually culturally inexperienced college athletes and their hardworking coaching staffs and should be fun.
Great UGA ambassador that he has been so far, Tom Crean was seen earlier – in the buildup to actual basketball action – wearing a “Georgia versus all y’all” shirt, as reported by the Facebook Live crew covering the tourney for internet viewing. To watch these games along on your computer or mobile device, go to georgiadogs.com website and click the movie camera icon under the event’s listing, which will lead you to the Facebook Live feed, which may take a few minutes to load the broadcast.
The comments were flowing on and from my phone and the feed footage adequate enough to enjoy the opening round of a tournament that provides some midday workday, pre-holiday entertainment, as well as real opportunities for Georgia to build a better basketball resume. Georgia is guaranteed to play a game here: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.
Clemson next, from a neighboring state, the geographically-closest rival school to the campus in Athens, a few miles closer than Georgia Tech. Steps have been taken by athletic director Greg McGarity to return the Tigers to the football schedule, and it’s great to see the schools tipping it off in the islands. The two schools could meet in the College Football Playoff, sooner, and were only a Clemson win in the Sugar Bowl from doing so last season.