Georgia (13-11, 4-8) vs. Florida (17-8, 8-4)
Wednesday, February 14 at 9:00 p.m. ET
Exastech Arena at the O’Connell Center (10,133) in Gainesville, Fla.
Watch: SEC Network (Mike Morgan, play-by-play; Pat Bradley, analyst)
Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network. (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Tony Schiavone, Producer); Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta
The Starting 5…
• UGA defeated then-No. 23 UF, 72-60, 15 days ago in Athens behind 20 points from Yante Maten.
• At Vandy, Yante Maten passed Dominique Wilkins at No. 4 among UGA’s scoring leaders.
• Juwan Parker, the only DI MBB player with a master’s, is now 2nd on UGA’s career FT pct. leaders list.
• Yante Maten is the only player in the SEC’s top 10 in scoring, rebounding, FG pct. & FT pct.
• Nicolas Claxton started at Vandy, becoming the 9th current Bulldog to start as a freshman.
Dogs Travel To Gainesville For Rematch With Gators
The Georgia Bulldogs and the Florida Gators will square off for the second time in 15 days on Wednesday evening when they meet in a Valentine’s Day date in Gainesville.
On Jan. 30 at Stegeman Coliseum, Georgia converted on 12-of-12 trips to the line in the final 95 seconds to push a seven-point lead to a 12-point margin of victory over the No. 23-ranked Gators.
Georgia is currently 13-11 overall and 4-8 in SEC play to date.
Yante Maten, who last week was named a top-10 candidate for both the Senior CLASS and Karl Malone Awards, continues to lead the SEC in scoring by more than a half-point per game at 19.4 ppg (Arkansas’ Jaylen Barford is second at 18.7 ppg). Maten is the only player ranked among the SEC’s top-10 in scoring, rebounding (No. 3), field goal percentage (No. 5) and free throw percentage (No. 6)…and also is No. 2 in minutes played.
Maten has been a picture of consistency for the Bulldogs.
In 24 games this season, he has 23 double-figure outings, with nine double-doubles and 13 20-point performances.
Over 87 games since the start of his sophomore year, Maten has 79 double-digit scoring performances, with 35 20-point and five 30-point outings, and 24 double-doubles.
“Turtle” Jackson is the Dogs’ second-leading scorer at 9.1 ppg, with 12 double-figure games. Juwan Parker is UGA’s second-best point producer in SEC action at 9.8 ppg, a considerable jump from the 7.4 ppg he averaged prior to league play.
Florida is 17-8 overall and 8-4 in the SEC.
Jalen Hudson averages a team-high 15.7 points per game. Three more Gators score at a double-digit pace – Egor Koulechov at 14.0 ppg, Chris Chiozza at 11.9 ppg and KeVaughn Allen at 11.0 ppg.
Keeping An Eye On…Entering Today’s Game Among UGA’s Career Leaders
Yante Maten is…
• 62 points from No. 3 Vern Fleming
• 73 points from No. 2 Alec Kessler
• 396 points from No. 1 Litterial Green
• 24 rebounds from No. 6 Lavon Mercer
• 12 FGs from No. 6 Alec Kessler
• 3 FGAs from No. 5 Sundiata Gaines
• 81 FTs from No. 3 Litterial Green
• 106 FTAs from No. 3 Alec Kessler
• 67 blocks from No. 2 Charles Claxton
Series History With The Gators
Florida enters tonight’s game sporting a 113-103 advantage in the all-time series, including a 65-37 edge in Gainesville.
On Jan. 30 in Athens, Yante Maten posted his 11th 20-point performance of the season – and fifth in SEC play – to lead Georgia in a 72-60 upset over No. 23 Florida.
The Bulldogs led 37-32 at halftime before Florida opened the second period on a 12-2 run. Turtle Jackson thwarted the surge with a 3-pointer, and Juwan Parker canned a jumper to pull Georgia within 44-43.
The Bulldogs eventually took the lead at 52-51 on a Derek Ogbeide hook shot with 10:00 left. That was the second bucket in a 9-0 run that gave Georgia the lead for good.
The Bulldogs gradually expanded that margin to 60-53 with 1:35 remaining and then knocked down 12-consecutive free throws the rest of the way, including both ends of three one-and-ones.
In the Bulldogs’ last trip to Gainesville on Jan. 14 last season, Georgia fell 80-76 to No. 23 Florida in a back-and-forth game that spilled into overtime in the Exactech Arena.
The Bulldogs led for the majority of regulation and 35:11 of the game’s 45 minutes overall but could not pull off the upset.
With just less than five minutes left in regulation, J.J. Frazier intercepted a Gator pass and converted it into a breakaway layup to give Georgia a five-point advantage at 64-59. The Gators tied it up at 65-65 moments later.
The Bulldogs went in front again 67-65 with 1:09 left. Florida’s Kasey Hill went to the line with 24 seconds remaining and made one of two, but the Gators grabbed the offensive rebound. In the closing seconds, Hill again drew a foul and made only one free throw, tying the game and sending it into overtime.
Florida took the early advantage in the extra session with two free throws, but Frazier responded with a 3-pointer to take the lead at 70-69. The lead would be the last for the Bulldogs as they were unable to gain the upper hand down the stretch.
Last Time out
No. 8 Auburn topped Georgia 78-61 at a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum last Saturday.
Yante Maten posted 20 points to lead the Bulldogs on the offensive end, while Rayshaun Hammonds and Juwan Parker chipped in 14 points apiece.
The Tigers built a 40-31 halftime lead and handled every Georgia rally following the intermission. Hammonds and Maten keyed a 6-0 run that pulled the Bulldogs within 43-39 with 14:07 remaining.
Georgia gained possession with a chance to pull closer but missed a 3-pointer and Auburn pushed its advantage back to double figures just over two minutes later.
Claxton Joins Freshman Starters
Nicolas Claxton earned his first career start at Vanderbilt on Feb. 7.
Claxton, the son of former Bulldog and All-SEC center Charles Claxton, became the ninth of Georgia’s 13 scholarship players on the 2017-18 roster to start at least one game as a freshman.
Claxton joined seniors Yante Maten and Juwan Parker, juniors Mike Edwards and Derek Ogbeide, sophomores Tyree Crump and Jordan Harris and freshmen Rayshaun Hammonds and Teshaun Hightower as the Bulldogs’ freshman starters.
Maten Tabbed to Top-10 Lists
Yante Maten was named a top-10 candidate for both the Senior CLASS Award and the Karl Malone Award on Feb. 8.
The Senior CLASS Award is given to a student-athlete who makes a positive impact as a community leader. The Karl Malone Award honors the top power forward in the nation.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their athletic platforms to make a positive impact as leaders. The recipient will be announced during the Final Four.
The other finalists are: Shawn Anderson, Navy; Vladimir Brodziansky, TCU; Jevon Carter, W. Virginia; Angel Delgado, Seton Hall; Rob Gray, Houston; A.J. Jacobson, North Dakota St.; Justin Johnson, WKU; Luke Morrison, Army; and Johnathan Williams, Gonzaga.
The Karl Malone Award, named after Hall of Famer and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, is one of five position player of the year honors administered by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The winner will be honored at ESPN’s College Basketball Awards in Los Angeles on April 6.
Joining Maten in the top 10 leading candidates for the Malone Award are: DeAndre Ayton, Arizona; Gary Clark Jr., Cincinnati; Marvin Bailey III, Duke; Wendell Carter Jr., Duke; Nick King, MTSU; Jordan Murphy, Minnesota; Luke Maye, N. Carolina; Mike Daum, South Dakota St.; and Robert Williams, Texas A&M.
Dogs Take Part in CVC Challenge
The Georgia Bulldogs are teaming up with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the American Cancer Society to take part in the Coaches vs. Cancer 3-Point Challenge over the next month.
During Georgia’s last nine regular-season games, every 3-pointer the Bulldogs make will help raise money to beat cancer.
Georgia fans can pledge their donation per 3-pointer made during those games at https://pledgeit.org/cvc18-georgia. Fans have the choice to donate retroactively beginning with the Mississippi State contest on Feb. 3 or just for the remaining games at the time of their donation.
Contributions of $100 or more to any team or to the general fund will earn an exclusive Coaches vs. Cancer 3-Point Challenge T-shirt. Fans also can earn an exclusive t-shirt by creating a personal fund raiser profile on the Bulldogs’ page and collecting 10 pledges ($1+ min pledge).
Ratin’ Maten A Popular Task
Preseason recognition was consistent and plentiful for Yante Maten.
Maten was ranked as one of the nation’s top-25 players by three different online preseason ledgers. CBSsports.com put him No. 22, ESPN.com listed him No. 23 and NBCsports.com tabbed him No. 24.
Maten was tabbed preseason SEC Player of the Year by the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and a panel of SEC and national media. The media named Maten, Texas A&M’s Robert Williams and Missouri’s Michael Porter, Jr. as co-player of the year.
Maten was included on watch lists for the Wooden Award, Oscar Robertson Trophy, Naismith Trophy and Senior CLASS Award.
Maten also received a good bit of preseason All-America recognition. Jay Bilas included Maten on his first-team All-America ledger. Among others, Maten also earned All-America props from the Blue Ribbon Yearbook (third team), www.collegesportsmadness.com (fourth team) and NBCsports.com (honorable mention).