MBB Preview: Georgia vs. Ole Miss

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MBB Preview: Georgia vs. Ole Miss

Christian Brown
Christian Brown

Georgia (9-6, 2-6 SEC) vs. Ole Miss (8-7, 3-5 SEC)

Saturday, January 30, at 6:00 p.m. ET

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

Series History: UGA leads, 75-45

Last Meeting: UGA, 78-74, on 1/16/21

Watch: SEC Network (Dave Neal, play-by-play; Jon Sunvold, analyst)

Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta; XM: 137; Internet: 961 (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• Sahvir Wheeler’s career average of 5.48 apg is better than any SEC player is averaging this season. Scotty Pippen Jr. is second in the SEC at 5.33 apg.

• Andrew Garcia, who has scored in double figures in each of UGA’s last three games, is 59 points shy of reaching the 1,000-point career scoring mark.

• K.D. John-son’s 21 points vs. Auburn were the third-most ever by UGA a freshman in their debut behind only Dominique Wilkins (26) & Anthony Edwards (24).

• Eight different Bulldogs have scored in double figures during the 2020-21 season, combining to produce 58 double-digit performances in UGA’s 15 games.

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

The Opening Tip

Georgia returns to the friendly confines of Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday evening to host Ole Miss in the Bulldogs’ second matchup with the Rebels in 14 days.

Two Saturdays ago, Georgia posted season-high shooting percentages from everywhere on the floor – overall (.587), 3-point range (.600) and the free throw line (.882) – en route to a 78-74 victory over the Rebels in Oxford.

Tye Fagan was a perfect 9-of-9 from the field en route to a team-high 19 points to lead four Bulldogs in double figures. The junior from Logtown became just the 11th player nationally this season to have a perfect night from the floor while attempting nine or more shots.

Following the Ole Miss victory, Georgia earned its first win over Kentucky since 2013 – snapping a 14-game losing streak to the Wildcats – before dropping consecutive contests.

Georgia is currently 9-6 overall and 2-6 in the SEC. The Bulldogs started the season 7-0, their best beginning in 38 years…since UGA’s 1983 Final Four team opened that season 9-0.

Georgia remains one of the nation’s most balanced offensive teams. Five Bulldogs are scoring at a double-digit pace, while two more are contributing 9.7 ppg and 8.7 ppg.

Keeping An Eye On . . . Entering Tonight’s Game:

Justin Kier is…

• 40 points from 1,300 for his career

Andrew Garcia is…

• 15 rebounds from 500 for his career

• 59 points from 1,000 for his career

Sahvir Wheeler is…

• 17 points from 500 for his career

• 11 assists from No. 20 Rod Cole (1989-90) among UGA’s single-season leaders

• 12 assists from co.- No. 19 Gino Gianfran-cesco (1972) and Barry Cohen (1971) among UGA’s single-season leaders

• 23 assists from No. 18 Gino Gianfrancesco among UGA’s career leaders

Series History With Ole Miss

Georgia is 75-45 all-time versus Ole Miss, including a 41-14 advantage in Athens.

 The Bulldogs have won the last two matchups, doing so two weeks ago in Oxford and in the opening round of last season’s SEC Tourney.

Georgia earned a 78-74 decision over the Rebels on Jan. 16 behind 19 points from Tye Fagan.

Georgia led 29-28 at halftime and remained on top for all but 14 seconds of the second stanza. Back-to-back 3-pointers from K.D. Johnson in a 33-second span pushed the Bulldogs’ advantage from six points to 71-59 with 4:33 remaining.

The Rebels rallied to pull within 73-72 with 1:27 left before a pair of Sahvir Wheeler free throws started a 5-2 surge to end the contest.

In the most recent meeting in Athens on Jan. 25 last season, the Rebels defeated the Bulldogs, 70-60, before a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum. Jordan Harris notched what were then season-high efforts of 15 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks for Georgia.

After leading 35-29 at halftime, the Rebels quickly stretched their advantage to 11 points.

The Bulldogs countered with a 14-2 run and went up 43-42 on an Anthony Edwards 3-pointer with 12:31 left. Ole Miss answered 27 seconds later and led the rest of the way.

Scouting The Rebels

Ole Miss is 8-7 overall and 3-5 in SEC play entering Saturday’s game. The Rebels are 2-1 since facing Georgia, defeating Mississippi State and Texas A&M before falling at Arkansas on Wednesday night.

Due to COVID-19 issues, the Rebels were the final Power 5 team to start their 2020-21 season. Ole Miss tipped off its campaign on Dec. 10 and wasted no time in getting games in, with six contests were over 13 days.

Devontae Shuler and Jarkel Joiner are scoring at double-digit paces of 15.1 and 10.9 ppg, respectively, for the Rebels. That duo accounted for 62 percent of Ole Miss’ scoring output – 46 of 74 points – in the matchup in Oxford on Jan. 16. 

Romello White is a single bucket shy of being a third double-figure scorer at 9.9 ppg, while Luis Rodriguez is hauling down a team-high 6.5 rpg.

Last Time out

Sahvir Wheeler flirted with his first scoring-rebounding double-double with nine points and a career-high nine boards, but Georgia still dropped an 83-59 decision at South Carolina on Wednesday.

Wheeler also recorded seven assists and his first career blocked shot in the setback.

Georgia twice built six-point leads early in the contest but failed to push its advantage further. A 10-3 run put the Gamecocks up 18-17 with 7:02 left in the half, and South Carolina expanded that margin to double figures at the 3:50 mark.

The Bulldogs closed the gap to 41-35 early in the second half but could not get closer.

This One Is Hard To Believe

Saturday’s game will be Georgia’s ninth SEC outing. Ole Miss’ Devontae Shuler is the only true senior to play his entire career at one school in any of those contests.

Not only does Georgia not have such a senior, neither did any of the Bulldogs’ seven other league foes to date – Mississippi State, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, Kentucky, Florida and South Carolina.

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