Georgia (7-3, 0-0 SEC) vs. Florida (8-4, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, January 2 at 8:00 p.m.
Stephen C. O’Connell Center (11,548) in Gainesville, Fla.
TV: SEC Network (Mike Morgan, PBP; Chris Spatola Color)
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network by IMG (Scott Howard, PBP; Chuck Dowdle, Color; Tony Schiavone, Producer) Flagship: AM 750;
Georgia Basketball Game Notes
The Starting Five
• UF leads the all-time series with UGA, 109-100, including a 63-33 advantage in Gainesville.
• In the Dec. 31 editions, UGA was No. 42 in the ESPN BPI and No. 48 in NCAA RPI. UGA’s schedule was ranked as the nation’s sixth-toughest in the RPI and ninth-most difficult in the BPI.
• 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 in the past two SEC Tourneys.
• Yante Maten has recorded 20-point outputs in five of UGA’s last seven games, averaging 18.7 ppg and connecting on 62.0 percent of his FGs in that span.
• Charles Mann enters the Florida game seven FTAs and 41 FTs made of UGA’s career records in both stats.
Bulldogs Set To Christen 2016 With SEC Opener Against Gators
The Georgia Bulldogs will open the 2016 and Southeastern Conference portions of their schedule on Saturday evening at 8 p.m. when they face the Florida Gators at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville.
The Bulldogs are 7-3 overall and riding a modest four-game winning streak. Georgia’s balanced offensive attack features a trio double-digit scorers who are averaging between 14.6-16.3 ppg.
Yante Maten continues to pace Georgia and rank among the SEC’s top-10 leaders in scoring (No. 8 at 16.3 ppg), rebounding (No. 9 at 7.5 rpg), field goal percentage (No. 2 at .586) and blocks (No. 6 at 1.9 bpg).
J.J. Frazier and Kenny Gaines are chipping in 15.4 ppg and 14.6 ppg, respectively.
Florida arrives in January with an 8-4 record. Dorian Finney-Smith, the only Gator to start all 12 games to date, leads UF with averages of 13.7 ppg and 7.8 rpg.
The Gators’ other double-digit scorers are separated by a single point. John Egbunu (131 points) is adding 10.9 ppg, while Devin Robinson (130 points) is contributing 10.8 ppg.
Among UGA’s career Leaders
Charles Mann is:
• 30 points from No. 25 Jerry Waller
• 7 FTAs from No. 1 Litterial Green
• 40 FTs from No. 2 Litterial Green
• 41 FTs from No. 1 Alec Kessler
• 19 assists from No. 10 Donald Hartry
Kenny Gaines is:
• 7 points from No. 39 Chris Daniels
• 10 points from No. 38 Jarvis Hayes
• 14 points from No. 37 Gerald Crosby
• 20 3FGs from No. 8 Jody Patton
• 23 3FGAs from No. 9 Ray Harrison
J.J. Frazier is:
• 7 3FGs from No. 18 Jarvis Hayes
• 3 3FGAs from No. No. 19 Jumaine Jones
Series History With The Gators
Florida owns a 109-100 lead in the all-time series between the Bulldogs and the Gators, including a 63-33 edge in Gainesville.
Last season in Athens, Kenny Gaines and Marcus Thornton scored 16 points apiece to lead four Bulldogs in double figures in a 73-61 victory that snapped Florida’s 24-game SEC winning streak.
Georgia connected on its first seven field goal attempts of the game, four of which came from beyond the arc, and raced to a 12-0 lead.
Florida closed the first half and opened the second on a combined 12-4 run that cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 36-34, but Georgia responded with a 14-6 surge that expanded the margin back to double figures.
In the most recent matchup in Gainesville on Jan. 14, 2014, Michael Frazier II scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Gators in a 72-50 victory. Juwan Parker led Georgia with 13 points off the bench.
Last Time Out
Eleven different Bulldogs scored in the Georgia’s 79-67 victory over Robert Morris on Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Bulldogs were led offensively by Yante Maten, who poured in 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds. J.J. Frazier added 17 points for Georgia.
“If you look at the numbers, we shoot above 50 percent, we hold them to below 40 percent and we win by double figures,” Mark Fox said. “So the first game out of the break, you would think that we’d be happy with that, but I don’t think we played particularly well to be honest with you. Certainly Robert Morris came to play and we were fortunate to play from in front, but we had a lot of rust it looked like at certain times during the game.”
The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead and never trailed. Robert Morris tied the game up 6-6 4:34 into the contest, but Georgia responded with a 10-0 run.
The Colonials cut the Bulldogs’ lead to as low as five with 15:31 left in the game, but Georgia forced several turnovers to push its advantage back to 52-42 and eventually extended the margin to 16 points.
Dogs’ “D” Has Been Consistent
Georgia has held each opponent to date under its field goal percentage for the season and enters SEC play ranked No. 8 nationally in field goal percentage defense.
The Bulldogs have held four foes to a shooting performance more than 10 percent lower than their season effort. Most notably, High Point, which ranks No. 22 in field goal percentage at .491, shot .297 versus UGA.
Georgia’s opponents have connected on 36.6 percent (218-of-596) of their shots from the field against the Bulldogs. Subtract out those totals and UGA’s opposition has made 45.8 percent (3203-of-6990) of their FGs attempted this season.
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. 26 with 1,140 points.
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. 40 slot.
UGA In Midst Of Most SEC Success
Georgia enters Southeastern Conference play riding the momentum of the Bulldogs’ 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.
Bulldogs Solid In Computer Polls
The two most noted computer rankings hold Georgia and its schedule in high regard.
The Bulldogs were No. 42 in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) and No. 48 in the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) through games of Dec. 30.
Georgia’s strength of schedule was ranked as the nation’s toughest in both the BPI and the RPI for a good bit of December. The Bulldogs’ slate is currently rated No. 6 in the RPI and No. 9 in the BPI.
Gaines, Frazier Earn SEC Honors
Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier were tabbed SEC Player of the Week on Nov. 23 and Dec. 21, respectively.
Gaines, who shared the honor with Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis, was selected after his career-high 35-point outburst against Murray State. Gaines accounted for a school-record 55.6 percent of UGA’s points in the 63-52 win, including 64.7 percent in the second half (22 of 34). He also equaled the No. 15 single-game scoring output by a Bulldog, as well as tying marks for No. 6 in 3-pointers made (7) and No. 5 in 3-pointers attempted (14).
Frazier was chosen after he scored 35 points against Georgia Tech, the highest output ever by a Bulldog against the Yellow Jackets. Frazier also dished out four assists, meaning he had a hand in 43 (57.3 percent) of the Bulldogs’ 75 points in the contest. He scored 22 second-half points and converted on 8-of-8 attempts at the line in the final 1:29 to ice the game’s outcome.
The last Georgia teammates to be honored as SEC Player of the Week in the same season were Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins back in the 2009-10 campaign.
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 about themselves.
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 (16.3 ppg) and also has upped both his rebounding (7.5 rpg) and playing time (29.3 mpg) by massive chunks.
Actually, Maten’s increased production can be traced to late last season. Over Georgia’s last 13 contests, Maten has produced all three of his career double-doubles, all four of his double-figure rebounding efforts and eight of his 12 double-digit scoring productions.
Maten posted four career-high scoring outputs in UGA’s first seven games, improving from 13 points entering the season to 17 points versus Chattanooga to 21 points in back-to-back outings against Seton Hall and Oakland and 24 versus Winthrop.
Maten A 20-point Regular
Yante Maten has notched 20-point performances in five of the Bulldogs last seven games, including a streak of four straight.
Maten opened the stretch with 21 points at Seton Hall and matched that against Oakland. He then scored 20 points versus Kansas State before pouring in 24 against Winthrop.
That represented the Bulldogs’ first four-game 20-point string since Trey Thompkins recorded five straight 20-point outings in February of 2010.
The streak was snapped when Maten only scored 17 points (on 8-of-11 FGs) against Georgia Tech. He followed that with eight points (on 3-of-3 FGs) versus Clemson before posting 20 points against Robert Morris.
Maten’s efficiency over the past seven games has been spectacular, connecting on 62.0 percent (49-of-79) of his shots from the floor during that span.
Putting the “PG” In “KPG”
Don’t expect Kenny Paul Geno to bring the ball up the court but his efforts distributing the basketball of late have been stellar.
Geno matched his career high with two assists against Oakland, upped that to three versus Kansas State, doubled that with six against Winthrop and inched that mark to seven versus Robert Morris.
All told, Geno has dished out 23 assists over the past six contests (3.8 apg) while committing only two turnovers – an almost unfathomable 11.5-to-1.0 assist-to-TO ratio.
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 started 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.
Frazier, Gaines Pop For 35 Each
Junior J.J. Frazier and senior Kenny Gaines became the first pair of Georgia teammates to score 35 points or more in a game during the same season.
Gaines poured in 35 points against Murray State on Nov. 20, and Frazier then matched that output against arch-rival Georgia Tech on Dec. 19.
Only four times have the Bulldogs had two 35-point performances in a single season, and the other three instances involved a single player doing so.
In 1952-53, Zippy Morocco scored 38 points vs. Tennessee and 37 vs. Alabama. In 1974-75, Jacky Dorsey posted 43 vs. Southern Miss and 41 vs. LSU. In 1990-91, Litterial Green notched 38 vs. UCLA and 35 vs. Florida.
Frazier, who scored a career-high 37 at Mississippi State on Jan. 24, 2015, joins the three aforementioned Bulldogs and Willie Anderson as the only five players ever to score 35 points or more two times for Georgia.
UGA’s All-SEC Tandem
Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann were both named preseason first-team All-SEC in balloting of league coaches, becoming 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 2010-11.
Mann became Georgia’s first-ever two-time first-team preseason All-SEC selection.
…Has Very Strong Ties
The duo of Georgia natives Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann has played a significant role since they arrived on campus in 2012.
Between them, Gaines and Mann have a combined 210 games played, 152 starts and 5,339 minutes played.
Much of that has been compiled together.
Gaines and Mann have started together for 67 of Georgia’s 77 contests since the beginning of the their sophomore year of 2013-14. All told, they have played 1,633 minutes and 46 seconds together at Georgia.
Small In Stature, Big On Boards
J.J. Frazier grabbed 10 rebounds against Winthrop on Dec. 8. In the process, the junior from Glennville became the most prominent name on a list of Division I players under 6-feet tall.
A year ago, Frazier was among seven players under 6-feet who recorded a double-figure rebounding effort. He hauled in 11 boards against Seton Hall.
With his performance against Winthrop, Frazier joined five other under-6-foot players with 10 or more rebounds this season.
Frazier is the only player in the nation under 6-feet to have a double-figure rebounding performance in each of the past two seasons.
And A Well-Rounded Effort
Along with his 10 boards, J.J. Frazier also scored 15 points – for his first career double-double – and handed out five assists versus Winthrop.
Frazier became just the third Georgia player to post 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists during Mark Fox’s six-plus seasons as the Bulldogs’ head coach.
Travis Leslie did so twice, both against Vanderbilt. Leslie had 21 points, 13 rebounds and five assists against the Commodores on Jan. 12, 2011, and also notched 22 points, 10 boards and five assists versus Vandy on Feb. 25, 2010. In addition, Trey Thompkins had 23 points, 14 rebounds and six assists against Arkansas in the first round of the SEC Tournament on March 11, 2010.
Thanks to stats guru Dave McMahon for compiling the data in the previous two notes on Frazier’s feats.
Ogbeide Back, Making Strides
Freshman Derek Ogbeide (pronounced “Ohwg-Bay-Day”) enjoyed a very impressive unofficial debut for Georgia.
In a Nov. 6 exhibition win over Armstrong State, Ogbeide 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.
Ogbeide finally made his official premiere when he checked at the 17:27 mark of the first half against Kansas State. He played 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.
Ogbeide is gradually working his way into the Bulldogs’ rotation and has shown plenty of signs of being a physical presence in the paint. He played without a minutes limitation for the first time against Georgia Tech. In the last three games, Ogbeide is averaging 4.0 points and 5.0 rebounds in 11.7 minutes.
More PT for KPG
Kenny Paul Geno entered the 2015-16 season with a career high of 21 minutes played against Missouri late last season.
This season, Geno is averaging 23.9 minutes of action per game. The Booneville, Miss., native has matched or bettered his previous career-most MP in seven games, including a new career-best of 35 versus Chattanooga.
Geno averaged 3.8 minutes as a freshman in 2013-14 but had earned increased playing time during last season’s non-conference schedule. He suffered a broken left wrist in the SEC opener against Arkansas and missed 10 games following surgery.
Geno returned to log double-digit minutes in eight of the Bulldogs’ final nine outings of 2014-15 and earned a starting nod for six of the last eight games.
Geno started the first seven games this season, compiling a stretch of 13 starts in 15 outings dating back to last season. He has been coming off the bench for the Bulldogs beginning with the Georgia Tech game.