MBB: Georgia vs. Texas A&M Game Preview

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MBB: Georgia vs. Texas A&M Game Preview

Tom Crean
Tom Crean

Georgia Basketball Game Notes

Georgia (11-9, 1-6 SEC) vs. Texas A&M (10-9, 4-3 SEC)

Saturday, February 1 at 1:00 p.m. ET

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

Watch: SEC Network (Dave Neal, play-by-play; Debbie Antonelli, analyst)

Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta. XM: 374; Internet: 374. (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Tony Schiavone, producer)

The Starting Five

• Anthony Edwards is the nation’s top-scoring freshman at 18.9 ppg…and one of only five first-year players currently ranked among the top-100 scorers in D-I.

• Over the last 14 games, Toumani Camara has increased his scoring by 90 percent and his rebounding by 96 percent over his numbers from the first seven games.

• Approximately 100 former coaches, players, managers and support staff will be in attendance for Georgia’s Lettermen’s Reunion Day on Saturday.

• Six of nine SEC games at Stegeman Coliseum are now sellouts – Kentucky, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas and Florida.

• Georgia’s celebrated freshman class – ranked among the top-10 groups nationally by every recruiting service – features five of the nation’s top-100 prospects.

The Opening Tip

Georgia will serve as “hosts” for two groups at a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. While the Bulldogs will take on Texas A&M on the hardwood, they also entertain generations of their “family” on Lettermen’s Reunion Day.

Approximately 100 former coaches, players, managers, athletic trainers and support staff members are expected to be on hand for the game. That group will be recognized at halftime. The centerpiece of the alums is Georgia’s 1990 team, which captured the only SEC regular-season championship in school history. At least 16 representatives from that squad are expected to return to the court where they put together one of the greatest campaigns in the program’s 115 seasons of play. 

The Bulldogs currently sport an 11-9 record overall and an impressive 9-2 mark at Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia is averaging 82.7 points at home, where is possesses a substantial scoring margin of +12.8 points per game.

Anthony Edwards, a pre- and mid-season All-American and leading National Freshman of the Year candidate, continues to be the nation’s top-scoring freshman at 18.9 ppg. Edwards is coming off his first double-double and ninth 20-point outing of the season at Missouri, where he scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Game Promotions

The first 1,250 UGA students at Saturday’s game will receive a black replica Georgia Basketball jersey. Students will have a chance to combine the jersey with the game shorts that were given away at last Saturday’s game against Ole Miss to complete their replica uniform.

The Stegeman Coliseum concourse on the Carlton Street side of the arena will be transformed into a “Kids Zone,” with face painting, a balloon artist, a sign making station and a bouncy house.

Keeping An Eye On . . . Entering Today’s Game

Among UGA’s Freshman Leaders Anthony Edwards is…

• 4 points from No. 7 D.A. Layne

• 27 points from No. 6 Walter Daniels

• 45 points from No. 5 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Among UGA’s career Leaders Tyree Crump is…

• 11 3FGs from No. 10 Jody Patton

• 12 3FGAs from No. 8 G.G. Smith

Series History

Georgia and Texas A&M have split their eight previous meetings. After the Bulldogs won the first four matchups in the series, the Aggies have bounced back to win the last four. 

Last season on Feb. 12 in College Station, Nic Claxton’s double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds led Georgia in a 73-56 loss to the Aggies.

A back-and-forth featured three ties and six lead changes before the Aggies gained control midway through the first half. 

A&M led 34-21 at the intermission and never allowed the Bulldogs within single digits in the second stanza. 

In A&M’s last trip to Athens on Feb. 28, 2018, Georgia dropped a gut-wrenching 61-60 decision. Yante Maten led the Bulldogs with a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds on his Senior Night.

After the Aggies led 37-28 at halftime, Georgia gradually closed the gap and took the lead at 53-52 on a pair of Maten free throws with 6:08 remaining. The Bulldogs pushed that margin to 59-54 at the 3:05 mark, but A&M closed out the rest of the contest on a 7-1 run.

Scouting The Aggies

Texas A&M arrives in Athens with a 10-9 overall record and a 4-3 mark in SEC play. The Aggies are coming off a 63-58 road win at Tennessee on Tuesday.

Josh Nebo leads A&M in scoring (12.0 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg), while Savion Flagg also scores at a double-digit pace of 10.5 ppg for the Aggies. 

A balanced offense also sports a quintet of players contributing between 5.4-8.1 ppg.

Last Time Out…

Missouri rallied to a 72-69 win over Georgia on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena. The Bulldogs were led by Anthony Edwards, who notched his first career double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds.

The Bulldogs led for more than 30 minutes of the contest before the Tigers surged ahead late in the game. Missouri went ahead with 27 seconds left, the Tigers’ first lead since the 11:13 mark of the first half.

Dogs Drawing At Record Pace

Georgia’s current attendance average of 9,528 would be the second-best effort in school history (trailing only 9,857 in 2002-03). 

Considering four of the Bulldogs’ six remaining home dates already are sellouts – tickets only remain for mid-week games against South Carolina and Auburn – Georgia could approach breaking the school-record mark by season’s end.

The Bulldogs are well on their way to shattering their all-time total attendance record for the second consecutive season. A year ago, Georgia’s tally of 148,700 fans broke the previous program record by more than 9,000. 

This year, 104,812 spectators have attended Georgia’s 11 home dates so far. That is 43,888 shy of the current mark with six games left, meaning an average of 7,315 would top the existing record.

Tom Crean has credited fan support as an integral part of the home success, most notably following a double-overtime win over SMU on Dec. 20.

“We don’t win this game without this crowd,” Crean said bluntly in his postgame press conference. “We do not win this game without this incredible, passionate, stick-with-us, not let us drop crowd. I reminded the players a few times that we’re sitting here in basically a sold-out game, and these fans are not giving up on you, so don’t give up on yourself. I’m extremely proud of how we found a way to win, and I’m unbelievably thankful for our fans.”

Former Marquette Coaches On both Benches this afternoon

Georgia’s Tom Crean and Texas A&M’s Buzz Williams served as the head coach at Marquette over a 15-season span covering 1999-2014.

Crean was head coach of the Eagles from 1999-2009 before moving on to Indiana. In nine seasons in Milwaukee, he led Marquette to five NCAA Tournament appearances. That tally was one more than the previous four head coaches at Marquette did in their combined 16 seasons prior to Crean’s arrival. The centerpiece of his tenure, of course, was a trip to the 2003 NCAA Final Four with star pupil Dwyane Wade.

Williams was an assistant coach for Crean’s final season at Marquette and then was promoted to head coach following his departure for Bloomington. Williams sustained the momentum created by Crean by leading the Eagles to five NCAA bids over the next six seasons. Marquette’s best “March Madness” performance under Williams was a trip to the 2013 “Elite Eight.”

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