MEN’S BASKETBALL: Georgia vs. Murray State Tonight

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MEN’S BASKETBALL: Georgia vs. Murray State Tonight

UGA men's basketball –
Georgia Bulldogs forward Yante Maten (1) muscles his way underneath the basket in the second half against the Chattanooga Mocs.
Photo by Ted Mayer
[su_spacer size=”20″] Georgia Basketball Game Notes

Georgia vs. Murray State 

Friday, November 20 at 7 p.m.

Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) in Athens, Ga.

Video: SEC Network + (Jeff Dantzler, PBP; Jarvis Hayes, Color)

Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network by IMG (Scott Howard, PBP; Chuck Dowdle, Color) 
[su_spacer size=”40″] The Starting Five

• Georgia won its only previous meeting with Murray State, an 85-68 victory in the 2002 NCAA Tournament.

• Jarvis Hayes poured in a career-high and UGA NCAA Tourney-record 31 points against the Racers, while twin brother and current UGA assistant coach Jonas Hayes added a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds.

• Charles Mann enters the game five points from No. 35 Rashad Wright and 10 points shy of No. 34 Bill Ensley among UGA’s career scoring leaders.

• For the second straight game UGA will face a first-year head coach whose name begins “Matt Mc”.

•  Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann both were tabbed first-team preseason All-SEC in voting of league coaches.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Bulldogs Return To Action, Host Murray State at Stegeman

Following a week-long break from game action, the Georgia Bulldogs will return to the hardwood on Friday evening when they host Murray State at Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia suffered a painful 92-90 overtime loss to Chattanooga in the season opener last Friday. The Bulldogs trailed by double-digits in both halves before eventually leading by six points with just under six minutes remaining.

The Mocs rallied to force overtime and staved off another Georgia comeback when freshman William “Turtle” Jackson’s potential half-court game-winner was off the mark.

Junior J.J. Frazier paced the Bulldogs with 22 points and a career-high eight assists. Including the points scored off of his passes, Frazier had a hand in 42 of Georgia’s points on the night.

Yante Maten, who was included on several summer national media lists of potential “breakout performers” for this season, certainly lived up to that hype. The sophomore from Pontiac, Mich., recorded career-best efforts of 17 points, 13 rebounds and 40 minutes played.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Murray State arrives in Athens with a 2-0 record on the young season. 

The Racers drew a great deal of national attention during their 25-game winning streak last season; however, the Murray State has long been one of the nation’s winningest programs. MSU has produced 28 consecutive winning seasons, the fourth-longest active streak in the nation behind Syracuse (45), Kansas (32) and Arizona (31).

Last season, the Racers finished 29-6, one win shy of a third 30-win finish since 2010. Jeffery Moss is the lone returning starter and one of just five letterwinners back from that squad. He is averaging 12.5 ppg.

Transfers played a major role in Murray State’s first two wins. Damarcus Croaker (Texas) is averaging team bests of 15.5 points (along with Wayne Langston) and 5.5 rebounds per game. Gee McGhee (Chattanooga) is chipping in 13.5 ppg, while Bryce Jones (Jones County J.C.) leads MSU at 4.5 apg.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Series History With The Racers

Georgia won its only previous meeting with Murray State, an 85-68 decision in the first round of the 2002 NCAA Tournament at the United Center in Chicago.

Jarvis Hayes poured in a career-high and UGA NCAA Tournament-record 31 points to lead the way.

The Bulldogs received double-double performances from both current assistant coach Jonas Hayes (14 points and 14 rebounds) and  Rashad Wright (16 points and 10 assists). Chris Daniels chipped in 11 points and Ezra Williams scored 10.

Eighty-five points represents Georgia’s largest-ever offensive output in NCAA Tournament play. Individually, Jarvis Hayes’ 12 field goals made and 22 field goals attempted are Bulldog NCAA Tournament records, as are the 10 assists from Wright.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Last Time Out

A late overtime rally fell short as the Georgia dropped its season-opener to Chattanooga, 92-90, last Friday.

Georgia was led on offensively by J.J. Frazier, who poured in 22 points and handed out a career-high eight assists. Forward Yante Maten chipped in a double-double on career bests of 17 points and 13 rebounds.

“It was certainly not the way we wanted to start the year,” Mark Fox said. “We scored 90 points and got beat. We shot 54 percent from the field and got beat. We shot 50 percent from three and got beat. We didn’t defend and missed 17 free throws. We did not defend the 3-point line and did not rebound the ball. You’re not going to win if you don’t do those things. Hats off to Chattanooga’s team. They made more plays tonight than we did.”

Chattanooga built double-digit leads in both halves before the Bulldogs gained their first advantage midway through the second stanza. Georgia led by as many as six before the Mocs went back on top on a layup by Casey Jones with 24 seconds left.

Charles Mann tied the game on a free throw with 12.8 seconds remaining and stout defense held the Mocs without a good look on their final possession.

Chattanooga scored the first five points of overtime and led 87-71 with just 42 seconds remaining. A 3-pointer from William “Turtle” Jackson and two more from Frazier pulled the Bulldogs within 92-90 with seven ticks on the clock. Dee Oldham missed two free throws, but Jackson’s potential half-court game-winner was off the mark.
[su_spacer size=”40″] “Matt Mc” Leads Opp Once Again

In nothing more than an interesting coincidence, Georgia will face a first-year head coach whose name begins with “Matt Mc” for the second straight outing.

Chattanooga was led by Matt McCall, while Murray State’s head coach is Matt McMahon.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Georgia’s first OT Opener

Georgia’s overtime loss to Chattanooga on Nov. 13 represented the Bulldogs’ first OT opener in UGA’s 111 seasons of basketball competition. 

The previous earliest OT action was in the second game of three campaigns. In 1905-06, Georgia’s first season of basketball, the Bulldogs lost to Georgia Tech, 12-11, in the second outing of a two-game schedule. In addition, Georgia defeated Tulane, 41-39, on Dec. 28, 1932 and TCU, 76-75, on Dec. 7, 1965.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Career Highs From Chattanooga

Five Bulldogs notched career-high statistical performances against Chattanooga.

Most notably, Yante Maten’s 17 points, 13 rebounds and 40 minutes all were the highest tallies to date in his 33-game collegiate career. Those topped last season’s 13 points against both South Carolina and Kentucky, 10 boards versus South Carolina and 29 minutes against Kentucky.

Maten recorded his second double-double as a Bulldog, but also his second in Georgia’s last four outings. Maten posted his first double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds against the Gamecocks in last season’s SEC Tournament.

J.J. Frazier dished out a career-best eight assists, passes which resulted in 20 points. Coupled with his 22 points, Frazier had an immediate hand in 42 of the Bulldogs’ 90 points on the night.

In addition, Charles Mann’s four steals equaled his most-ever recorded versus Gonzaga last season, Houston Kessler and Kenny Paul Geno equaled their career highs with a single blocked shot, and Geno also logged a career-high 35 minutes, besting his previous most of 21 MP against Missouri last season.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Return Of The Mask

J.J. Frazier played with a protective mask on his face against Chattanooga after suffering a slight nasal fracture in practice on Nov. 5, the day before the Bulldogs’ exhibition outing versus Armstrong State.

Frazier warmed up with the mask before the exhibition contest, but the decision ultimately was made to hold him out of action.

Last season, Frazier played six games with the protective mask after suffering a fractured orbital bone and concussion during a Feb. 14 matchup with Auburn in Athens. He missed Georgia’s next game against South Carolina and then played the final five regular-season contests and an SEC Tournament date with South Carolina before discarding the protective gear for the last two games of the season.

All-SEC Tandem Has Strong Ties

Senior guards Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann were both named preseason first-team All-SEC in balloting of league coaches.

Gaines and Mann became just the second duo of Bulldogs to earn first-team preseason honors from league coaches since the recognition began prior to the 2004-05 season. Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins were also first-team selections prior to 2010-11.

The Gaines-Mann duo has played a significant role at UGA since they arrived in 2012. They have a combined 193 games played, 135 starts and 4,880 minutes played. 

Much of that has been compiled together. Gaines and Mann both have been in the starting five for 59 of the Bulldogs’ 67 contests since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, and they have played 1,495 minutes and 57 seconds together in Georgia uniforms.
[su_spacer size=”40″] Most…Fouls…Ever

A great deal of digging through dusty files (by sports communications intern Brandon Weiss) revealed that the 63 combined fouls from Georgia’s season opener against Chattanooga is likely the most ever in a Bulldog basketball game. 

UGA archives provide box scores beginning with the 1960-61 season. No game since then – all 1,649 of them from the start of the 60-61 campaign through the matchup with the Mocs – featured as many as whistles.

In fact, only one contest has featured 60 fouls. On Feb. 17, 2007, Georgia and Auburn committed 27 and 33 infractions, respectively. The Bulldogs won that contest, 86-79. Sundiata Gaines flirted with a triple-double, finishing with game-high outputs of 21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

And with fouls come…free throws. Georgia made 45 trips to the free throw line against Chattanooga, equaling the ninth-most ever by the Bulldogs in a single game. Georgia also attempted 45 free throws against Tennessee on Jan. 27, 1990; at Mercer on Dec. 8, 1990; and versus Vanderbilt on Feb. 15, 2003.
[su_spacer size=”40″] A Challenging Non-Conference

Georgia’s 2015-16 non-conference slate will be both challenging and balanced. The Bulldogs’ 11 non-conference opponents averaged 19.3 wins last season and finished 2014-15 with an average NCAA rpi of 115.

“Our goal was a non-conference schedule that would put us in a proper position with the strength of schedule numbers at the end of the year,” Mark Fox said. “You never know what kind of season a team you play will have, but with the numbers from last year I think we’ve been able to establish the strength of schedule we need. It’s a little tougher numbers wise than it was a year ago. That’s important when you get to the month of March.”

Five of Georgia’s 11 non-conference opponents played into March last season: NCAA participants Baylor and Robert Morris, NIT quarterfinalist Murray State and CIT teams High Point and Oakland. Four of those teams will travel to Athens this season.

Last season’s average rpi of 115 is the best by Georgia’s non-conference foes since the Bulldogs’ 2001-02 non-conference foes recorded an average rpi of 111 during 2000-01.

Nine of 11 the Bulldogs’ upcoming non-conference foes ranked No. 153 or better in the final NCAA rpi for the 2014-15 season, and Georgia’s 2015-16 schedule includes only one team that finished a year ago with an rpi in the 200s. 
[su_spacer size=”40″] UGA’s Non-Conference Schedule

Day Opponent 14-15 RPI

11/13 vs. Chattanooga 113

11/20 vs. Murray State 46

11/25 vs. High Point 91

11/28 at Seton Hall 103

12/1 vs. Oakland 171

12/4 vs. Kansas State 108

12/8 vs. Winthrop 206

12/19 vs. Georgia Tech 147

12/22 vs. Clemson 106

12/29 vs. Robert Morris 153

1/30 * at Baylor (SEC/Big 12 Challenge) 17
[su_spacer size=”40″] B.Y. Receives A Scholly

Following two seasons as a walk-on, Brandon Young has been placed on scholarship. Mark Fox announced the move during Georgia’s preseason banquet on Nov. 3.

Fox introduced each player on the Bulldogs’ roster alphabetically before arriving at Young, the final name in that process.

“Brandon grew up in a family that loves the University of Georgia,” Fox said. “He grew up – much like Houston (Kessler) – bleeding Red and Black. But what I love about ‘B.Y.’ – and I think our players would say the same thing – is that Brandon Young epitomizes everything that a Georgia Bulldog should be. He’s a great student. He’s a wonderful person. He is a terrific player. He is the best teammate – would everyone agree? – the best teammate on this team. Because of all that ‘B.Y.’ I think we should give you a scholarship tonight.”

Young was then mobbed by his teammates.

Young was a two-sport standout in basketball and football at the Marist School in Atlanta before joining the Bulldogs in 2013. He played in 10 games as a freshman and logged action in seven contests last season, including Georgia’s NCAA Tournament matchup with Michigan State. Young received the team’s Most Inspirational Award last season.
[su_spacer size=”40″] HomeGrown Bulldogs

Eight of the 14 players on Georgia’s 2015-16 roster are Peach State prep products.

Seniors Kenny Gaines (Whitefield Academy in Atlanta) and Charles Mann (Milton High in Alpharetta); juniors J.J. Frazier (Faith Baptist Christian Academy in Glennville), Houston Kessler (Landmark Christian High in Newnan) and Brandon Young (Marist School in Atlanta); and freshmen William “Turtle” Jackson (Athens Christian School), Connor O’Neill (Blessed Trinity Catholic High in Roswell) and Derek Ogbeide (Pepplebrook High in Atlanta).
[su_spacer size=”40″] Georgia Making The Grade

Georgia has enjoyed great success both on the court and in the classroom during Mark Fox’s tenure with the Bulldogs.

Georgia is the midst of its winningest three-year stretch in SEC play (32 victories) in program history, and the Bulldogs are one of only two league teams to secure a top-4 seed to each of the past two SEC Tournaments.

Academically, all 16 seniors during Fox’s first six seasons in Athens have earned their degrees from Georgia. In addition, six more Bulldogs – including NBA players Jarvis Hayes and Damien Wilkins – have secured UGA diplomas during that span.

Georgia’s academic successes are evident in the two primary tracking systems of the NCAA – the Academic Performance Rate (APR) and Graduation Success Rate (GSR). The Bulldogs are one of two SEC schools to receive public recognition from the NCAA for having an APR among the nation’s top-10 percent twice in the past three years. Last week, the NCAA announced that Georgia has a 100 percent GSR for its 2014-15 measuring window.
[su_spacer size=”40″] UGA MBB Academics

Season APR GSR

2009-10 946 36

2010-11 946 43

2011-12 960 50

2012-13 * 990 63

2013-14 986 71

2014-15 * 990 100

* top-10 percent nationally
[su_spacer size=”40″] More Graduates On The Way

Four more Bulldogs – two seniors and two juniors – are on track to receive their degrees from Georgia in the next year.

Junior Juwan Parker is slated to graduate with his degree in Management from UGA’s Terry College of Business in December, two and a half years after his arrival in Athens. Parker will then begin pursuing a master’s degree in Sport Management in January.

Seniors Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann are on track to earn degrees in Housing at the end of the Spring Semester. Redshirt junior Houston Kessler also will graduate in May with his bachelor’s in Economics.
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Greg is closing in on 10 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.