MBB Preview: Georgia vs. Northeastern

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MBB Preview: Georgia vs. Northeastern

Toumani Camara
Toumani Camara

Georgia (6-0) vs. Northeastern (1-3)

Tuesday, December 22, at 7:00 p.m. ET

Stegeman Coliseum (1,638) in Athens, Ga.

Series History: UGA leads, 1-0

Last Meeting: UGA, 79-66, on Dec. 12, 1981

Watch: SEC Network+ (Jeff Dantzler, play-by-play; Mark Slonaker, analyst)

Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta; XM: 192; Internet: 963 (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• At 6-0, UGA is off to its best start since the Bulldogs opened the 1982-83 season – which culminated with a trip to the Final Four – with a 9-0 record.

• UGA’s seven-game winning streak, which dates back to last season, equals the seventh-best string of success in school history and is the longest since 2011-12.

• UGA has won the opening tip in each game this season and is 15-2 when doing so since the beginning of last season. UGA was 7-14 when losing the tip in 2019-20.

• Sahvir Wheeler’s three double-digit assist outings in the first three games of the season were as many as any SEC player posted in all of 2019-20.

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

The Opening Tip

Georgia wraps up both its pre-holiday and non-conference schedules on Tuesday evening when the Bulldogs host Northeastern at Stegeman Coliseum. The contest is the second half of a day-night Georgia Basketball doubleheader which also features the undefeated Georgia Lady Bulldogs hosting Appalachian State at noon.

Georgia is 6-0, the Bulldogs’ best beginning to a season since they opened their 1982-83 Final Four campaign with a 9-0 mark.

Adding in Georgia’s victory over Ole Miss in last season’s SEC Tournament gives the Bulldogs an active seven-game winning streak. That’s Georgia’s longest stretch of success – game wise – since securing nine consecutive Ws during the 2010-11 camapign. Calendar-wise, the Bulldogs’ winning streak now spans 286 days and isthe second-longest in Georgia’s 116 seasons. The program record for number of wins and calendar span are the same – a 16-game stretch covering 399 days over the 1912-13 and 1913-14 seasons.

Series History With Huskies

Georgia won its only previous meeting with Northeastern, defeating the Huskies, 79-66, on Dec. 18, 1981 in the opening round of the Cotton States Classic at The Omni.

Double-doubles from Dominique Wilkins and James Banks led the Bulldogs to victory. Wilkins’ game-high tallies of 23 points and 12 rebounds paced Georgia, while Banks added 14 points and 10 boards in his hometown. 

Perry Moss scored 21 points to lead the Huskies, who were then coached by Jim Calhoun.

Georgia opened up a 44-37 halftime lead and then cruised the win. 

The Bulldogs then upset No. 16 UAB, 76-72, in the Cotton States championhsip outing behind a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds from Terry Fair.

Scouting Northeastern

Northeastern arrives in Athens with a deceptive 1-3 record to date. The Huskies split games with UMass to open the year before dropping tight road decisions to Syracuse and Old Dominion.

Northeastern’s schedule has been altered greatly by COVID-19. In fact, Georgia is the first game on Northeastern’s original schedule that has survived throughout those changes.

Five games on the Huskies’ original schedule have been canceled due to the pandemic – three at the Paradise Jam and additional outings versus UMass-Lowell and Bryant.

Tyson Walker leads the Huskies on the offensive end, averaging 16.5 ppg and a team-best 5.5 assists per contest as well. Jahmyl Teifort and Jason Strong also are scoring at double-digit paces of 13.3 ppg and 10.8 ppg, respectively, while Shaquille Walters is a single point shy of doing so at 9.8 ppg. Walters is Northeastern’s top rebounder, averaging 7.3 rpg.

Camara Named SEC POTW

Toumani Camara was tabbed the SEC’s Player of the Week by the league office in Birmingham on Monday after his 19-point, 10-rebound performance against Cincinnati last Saturday.

Camara equaled his career-best scoring output (19 points) for the third time this season en route to his second double-double. He approached the double-double mark in the first half alone, scoring 14 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the period.

The sophomore from Brussels, Belgium, keyed a 15-0 run late in the first half that broke the game wide open and extended an eight-point lead to a 23-point cushion. Camara scored eight points and collected four boards in that surge.

Camara is the 29th different Bulldog to be named SEC Player of the Week a combined 39 times since the award’s inception in 1985. That list includes teammate Tye Fagan, who was the league’s first POTW this season after his double-double of 21 points (on 9-of-10 shooting from the floor) and 10 rebounds in the season opener versus Florida A&M.

New Faces In New Places

Georgia’s roster features eight first-year Bulldogs, while Northeastern brings six new Huskies to Athens. Of note, neither team’s roster includes a true senior who has been in the program four seasons.

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.

Northeastern’s sextet of first-year players includes five freshmen – four first-year players and a redshirt – and redshirt sophomore Chris Doherty, a transfer from Notre Dame.

Bulldogs Doing Work On Boards

Georgia enters this week ranked No. 20 nationally in rebound margin at +11.8. 

The Bulldogs’ work on the glass has been solid on both ends of the floor as Georgia ranks No. 22 nationally in offensive rebounds per game (14.3) and No. 38 in defensive boards (38.0 rpg).

In addition, UGA is No. 13 in 3-point defense (.243) and No. 24 in steals (9.5 spg).

Gresham Provides UGA-NU Tie

Last season, Donnell Gresham Jr. became the first graduate transfer in Georgia Basketball history when he joined the Bulldogs after a standout career at Northeastern.

A native of St. Paul, Minn., Gresham started 69 of 90 games played for the Huskies from 2015-19. After averaging 3.7 ppg as a freshman, Gresham redshirted during the 2016-17 season due to a hand injury.

He returned to help the Huskies compile a 46-21 overall record and a 28-8 mark in CAA competition during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, culminating with a bid to the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Gresham left Boston ranked No. 2 in career 3-point shooting percentage for Northeastern, making 41.3 percent of his shots behind the arc.

Last season, Gresham started 20 of 32 games and averaged 5.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg for the Bulldogs. He posted four double-figure scoring outputs, most notably with 13 points against arch-rival Georgia Tech and 12 in Georgia’s road upset of No. 9 Memphis.

Gresham ended up as a “double dog” of sorts, with degrees as a Huskie and Bulldog. He secured a bachelor’s in Business Management from NU and a master’s in Sport Management and Policy from UGA.

Wheeler Off To Historic Start

Quick…when was the last time a 5-10 player led the SEC in double-doubles? The answer: That would be Monday.

Sahvir Wheeler, Emmanuel Miller from Texas A&M and Tolu Smith from Mississippi State enter the final week before SEC play tied for the league lead with three double-double efforts. In fact, that trio plus Toumani Camara and Alabama’s Herbert Jones are the only SEC players with multiple double-doubles this season.

Quick…when was the last time an SEC player had three straight point-assist double-doubles? The answer: not in 20 seasons.

With some assistance from Craig Pinkerton on Saturday, Dec. 5, it was determined that no SEC player has recorded a trio of consecutive point-assist double-doubles through the 2000-01 season. In fact, only two league players – Florida’s Chris Chiozza and Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis – have recorded back-to-back point-assist double-doubles in the last five seasons.

Quick…when was the last time a Bulldog recorded double-figure assist tallies in consecutive games? The answer: probably never.

Box scores dating back through the 1969-70 did not find anyone who had done so. There were a couple of close calls, most notably Gino Gianfrancesco in a three-game span covering the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons.

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.

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