Georgia (8-5, 1-2 SEC) vs. Tennessee (8-7, 1-2 SEC)
Wednesday, January 13 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) in Athens, GA
TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, PBP; Daymeon Fishback, Color)
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network by IMG (Scott Howard, PBP; Chuck Dowdle, Color; Tony Schiavone, Producer) Flagship: AM 750; Sirius: 81; XM: 81
The Starting Five
• UT leads the all-time series, 94-56; however, UGA owns a 37-33 advantage in games played in Athens.
• UGA ranks No. 7 in the nation in field goal percentage defense at 36.8 percent. UGA has held 12 of 13 opponents under their season shooting percentage from the floor.
• UGA is in the midst of its winningest two-year (23 Ws) and three-season (32 Ws) stretches ever in SEC play and is one of two teams to earn a top-4 seed for the ‘14 & ‘15 SEC Tourneys.
• Yante Maten has recorded 20-point outputs in seven of UGA’s last 10 games, averaging 18.7 ppg while shooting 60.2 percent from the floor and 79.0 percent from the line during that span.
• Kenny Gaines enters the Tennessee game five points from No. 36 Rashad Wright among UGA’s career scoring leaders.
Bulldogs, Volunteers Meet Hoping To Erase ‘Bitter Pills’
Georgia and Tennessee, a pair of teams coming off heart-breaking setbacks last Saturday, square off at Stegeman Coliseum on Wednesday evening in a 7 p.m. matchup.
The Bulldogs led Ole Miss for much of their date in Oxford before a Stefan Moody layup with 3.8 seconds remaining propelled the Rebels to a 72-71 victory. UGA did get a look at a game-winner, but Kenny Gaines’ 3-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark. Georgia missed a chance to become the first road team to win at The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
Earlier that day in Knoxville, No. 21 Texas A&M rallied with a late 13-1 surge to top Tennessee 92-88 at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vols led by eight points at halftime and pushed that margin to as much as 13 in the second period before the Aggies rallied. Detrick Mostella’s potential game-winning 3-pointer rimmed out with less than 10 second remaining and A&M converted a pair of free throws to seal the outcome.
The Bulldogs and Volunteers both slipped to 1-2 in Southeastern Conference play with those losses.
Georgia is currently 8-5 overall
Yante Maten paced UGA with 20 points at Ole Miss, his seventh 20-point performance in the Bulldogs’ last 10 games. He continues to lead Georgia and rank among the SEC’s top-10 leaders in scoring (No. 9 at 16.8 ppg), rebounding (No.8 at 7.5 rpg), blocks (No. 6 at 1.6 bpg) and FG percentage (No. 2 at .759).
Seniors Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines added 15 and 14 points, respectively, against the Rebels, representing Mann’s 59th and Gaines’ 55th double-digit scoring outputs with the Bulldogs.
Tennessee is 8-7 on the season
The Volunteers are led offensively by senior Kevin Punter, who ranks second in the SEC in scoring at 22.8 ppg. Robert Hubbs III is adding 12.6 ppg, while Armani Moore is chipping in 12.5 ppg and a team-high 7.9 rpg.
Keeping An Eye On…Entering Today’s Game:
Among UGA’s career Leaders
Charles Mann is:
• 52 points from No. 24 Ray Harrison
• 24 FTs from No. 2 Litterial Green
• 25 FTs from No. 1 Alec Kessler
• 11 assists from No. 10 Donald Hartry
Kenny Gaines is:• 5 points from No. 36 Rashad Wright
• 10 points from No. 35 Bill Ensley
• 14 points from No. 34 Terrance Woodbury
• 20 points from No. 33 Jumaine Jones
• 4 3FGAs from No. 9 Ray Harrison
• 14 3FGs from No. 8 Jody Patton
J.J. Frazier is:
• 3 3FGs from No. 17 Nemanja Djurisic
• 5 3FGAs from No. No. 18 Jarvis Hayes
Series History With UT
Tennessee possesses a 94-56 lead in the all-time series between the Volunteers and the Bulldogs; however, Georgia owns a 37-33 edge in games contested in Athens.
Last Feb. 7 in Athens, Nemanja Djurisic, J.J. Frazier and Charles Mann all scored 10 points to pace Georgia in a 56-53 win over Tennessee. Armani Moore led the Volunteers with a game-high 16 points.
The contest delivered two milestones for the Bulldogs.
The victory represented Mark Fox’s 100th as Georgia’s head coach. In addition, Djurisic scored his 1000th career point during the game, becoming the 44th – of now 46 – Bulldogs to reach that plateau.
“Nothing is easy in the SEC,” Fox said. “That was another hard-fought battle. Tennessee has got a very unique team. They play four wing players and they play that zone and they have some quality wins this year.”
After the game was tied 16-16, the Bulldogs ended the half on a 13-6 spurt to build a 29-22 edge at the intermission.
Tennessee opened the second stanza with a 9-2 run that knotted the score at 31-31. Yante Maten knocked down a jumper on Georgia’s next possession to give the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the day.
Last Time Out
Stefan Moody scored a game-winning basket with 3.8 seconds remaining to lift Ole Miss to a 72-71 victory over Georgia last Saturday evening in just the second game ever at The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
The Bulldogs were led by sophomore Yante Maten with 20 points, while Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines added 15 and 14 points, respectively. Freshman Derek Ogbeide posted career highs of nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
“The hard thing was that we had some key guys in foul trouble,” Mark Fox said. “Yante and Charles each got four fouls very early in the second half, so we were not as good offensively once we got to that point. We kept battling, and I was really proud of how hard we competed. We just couldn’t finish it.”
The Rebels jumped out to an early 15-5 lead just 4:37 into the contest, but the Bulldogs weathered the storm. Gaines and Mann pushed the Bulldogs to a 20-5 run over a 10-minute span. Maten played a large part in the run, scoring eight of his 10 first-half points in that surge.
The Rebels chipped away at Georgia’s lead and eventually tied things up at 62-62 with 5:47 remaining. Two free throws by Mann put the Bulldogs back up 64-62 before Maten was forced to sit for the final 3:36 of the game after being charged with his fifth personal foul under the hoop.
Shortly thereafter, Georgia surrendered its lead for the first time of the half at the 2:56 mark after an Ole Miss free throw from Anthony Perez. The Bulldogs rallied to regain a 71-67 lead with 58 seconds on the clock, but Rebels answered 14 seconds later with a 3-pointer by Rasheed Brooks and, following a missed 3-point attempt by Gaines with 17 seconds left, Moody hit a contested layup that ultimately proved to be the game winner.
Ogbeide Back, Making Big Strides
Following an injury-induced detour, freshman Derek Ogbeide (pronounced “Ohwg-Bay-Day”) is showing signs of becoming an inside presence for the Bulldogs.
Ogbeide enjoyed a very impressive unofficial debut for Georgia. In a Nov. 6 exhibition win over Armstrong State, he grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, scored four points and recorded one assist, block and steal 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 Georgia’s 11-day break for Final Exams. In the six games since then, Ogbeide is averaging 5.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in 13.8 minutes.
His impact has been even more dramatic in SEC play. Through three league games, Ogbeide is averaging 7.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 16.0 mpg. In stats for SEC games only, Ogbeide ranks No. 14 in rebounding despite averaging 10 minutes less per game than all but one player ahead of him…and six minutes fewer than that player.
The Ogbeide Effect On UGA
In addition to his individual contributions, the significance of Derek Ogbeide’s addition to UGA’s playing rotation is readily apparent.
Following the Kansas State loss on Dec. 4, Georgia was 3-3 with a +1.2 scoring margin.
Since then, the Bulldogs are 5-2 with a with a scoring margin of +8.9. That stretch includes double-digit wins over three “Power 5” schools – Georgia Tech (75-61), Clemson (71-48) and Missouri (77-59) – as well as Robert Morris, an NCAA Tournament participant last season with four returning starters.
Dogs’ “D” Has Been Consistent
The Bulldogs currently rank No. 7 nationally in field goal defense, holding opponents to just 36.8 percent shooting from the floor.
Georgia held each of its 10 non-conference opponents under their field goal percentage for the season. The Bulldogs forced four non-SEC foes to a shooting performance more than 10 percent lower than their season effort. Most notably, High Point, which currently ranks No. 11 in field goal percentage at .498, shot .297 versus UGA.
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.
Florida became the first team this season shoot a better percentage against Georgia than otherwise. The Gators entered their SEC opener shooting 42.2 percent but then converted on 42.3 – yes, .1 of one percent better – against the Bulldogs.
Georgia started a new streak by holding Missouri (44.2 percent entering game to 34.5) and Ole Miss (43.1 to 36.2 percent) under their regular percentages.
UGA In Midst Of Most SEC Success
Georgia entered SEC play looking to expand on 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 in 2012-13.
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.
Gaines, Mann Rewriting Records
Seniors Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann are making their mark on Georgia Basketball’s career scoring ledger.
Mann entered the season at No. 36 among the Bulldogs’ all-time points leaders and has already ascended to No. 25. He now has scored 1,178 points, 52 away from the current No. 24, Ray Harrison.
Gaines became Georgia’s 46th 1,000-point career scorer against Clemson on Dec. 22 and climbed past three former Bulldogs to the No. 42 position during the victory over the Tigers. He is now up to the No. 37 slot with 1,059 points, five points shy of No. 36 Rashad Wright, 10 from No. 35 Bill Ensley, 14 from No. 34 Terrance Woodbury and 20 from No. 33 Jumaine Jones.
Maten A 20-point Regular
Yante Maten has notched 20-point performances in seven of the Bulldogs last 10 games, including a streak of four straight.
That represented UGA’s first four-game 20-point string since Trey Thompkins recorded five straight 20-point outings in February of 2010.
Over the past 10 games, Maten has averaged 18.6 ppg while connecting on 60.2 percent of his shots from the floor and 79.0 percent of his free throws as outlined below.
Maten’s Amazing Stretch
Opponent FG-FGA FT-FTA Pts.
Seton Hall 6-11 9-11 21
Oakland 6-12 9-10 21
Kansas State 8-11 4-5 20
Winthrop 10-16 4-4 24
Georgia Tech 8-11 1-4 17
Clemson 3-3 2-2 8
Robert Morris 8-15 4-4 20
Florida 6-12 8-11 20
Missouri 6-7 3-3 15
Ole Miss 7-15 5-8 20
Totals 68-113 49-62 186
Bulldogs In The BPI & RPI
Georgia is No. 50 in the ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) and No. 68 in the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).
The Bulldogs’ strength of schedule, which was ranked as the nation’s toughest in both computer ledgers for a good bit of December, is currently listed at No. 10 in the RPI and No. 14 in the BPI.
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 (16.8 ppg) and also has upped both his rebounding (7.5 rpg) and playing time (29.1 mpg) by massive chunks.
Maten posted four career-high scoring outputs in the Bulldogs’ first seven games this season, improving from 13 points entering the year to 17 points versus Chattanooga to 21 points in the opener to back-to-back outings against Seton Hall and Oakland and 24 points versus Winthrop.
Mann’s Versatility Not Just Hype
It’s not uncommon to hear a comment like “Ya know, he could play all five positions.”
Charles Mann has proven that isn’t idle hyperbole when discussing his game.
Mann, one of two Bulldogs along with Yante Maten to start every game this season, got the nod at four different positions during Georgia’s first eight outings.
He started at his natural ‘1’ slot in five games but also did so at the ‘2’ versus Winthrop, at the ‘3’ against Georgia Tech and at the ‘5’ – yes the ‘5’ – against Chattanooga.
Against High Point, Mann saw action at all five spots. Perhaps most impressive was his defensive effort in several matchups with John Brown, the nation’s No. 4 active scorer.
“He’s been so unselfish and willing to do that and has not complained one time,” Mark Fox said.
UGA’s All-SEC Tandem
Senior guards Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann were both named preseason first-team All-SEC in balloting of league coaches. In the process, they became 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 also first-team selections prior to the 2010-11 season.
In addition, 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 216 games played, 158 starts and 5,514 minutes played.
Much of that has been compiled together.
Gaines and Mann have started together for 70 of Georgia’s 80 contests since the beginning of the their sophomore year of 2013-14. All told, they have played 1,701 minutes and 36 seconds together at Georgia.