MBB: Georgia vs. Vanderbilt Preview

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MBB: Georgia vs. Vanderbilt Preview

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Georgia (13-13, 3-10 SEC) vs. Vanderbilt (9-17, 1-12 SEC)

Saturday, February 22 at 6:00 p.m. ET

Memorial Gymnasium (14,216) in Nashville, Tenn.

Watch: SEC Network (Richard Cross, play-by-play; Joe Kleine, analyst)

Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta. XM: 380; Internet: 970. (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• Anthony Edwards’ 492 points is the third-most ever by a UGA freshman and is only 23 points away from the current No. 2 tally, 515 by Jumaine Jones.

• Tyree Crump has 169 3-pointers, three shy of UGA’s top-10 career leaders in successful shots from behind the arc. The current No. 10 is Jody Patton.

• UGA has drawn 144,047 fans at home this season, 4,653 off its total attendance record of 148,700 set last season. Both of UGA’s remaining home dates are sold out.

• Seven of UGA’s nine SEC home games have sold out of reserved seat tickets – Kentucky, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Alabama, Auburn, 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.

Savhir Wheeler
Savhir Wheeler

The Opening Tip

Georgia returns to action at Vanderbilt on Saturday looking to build on the momentum the Bulldogs secured with their 65-55 upset of No. 13/12 Auburn in Athens on Wednesday night.

Before a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum crowd, Georgia surged past the Tigers late in the first half and then maintained at least a two-possession lead for all but 47 seconds of the second stanza.

The Bulldogs’ celebrated freshman class – a consensus top-10 group according to every major scouting service – was vital in the victory. Freshman Anthony Edwards scored 18 points, and classmates Sahvir Wheeler and Toumani Camara added 13 and 12 points, respectively. Junior Rayshaun Hammonds rounded out a quartet of double-digit scorers with 13 points (on and efficient 5-of-8 shooting night).

Georgia is now 13-13 overall and 1-0 in games played in Tennessee this season. The Bulldogs last ventured north of the border to the to the “Volunteer State“ – Tennesseans decided on that nickname, not us – on Jan. 4 when they upset then-No. 9 Memphis, 65-62, to snap the Tigers’ 10-game winning streak.

Edwards, one of only two freshmen included on the 20-player late-season Wooden Award Watch List, is the nation’s top-scoring freshman at 18.9 ppg. The Atlanta native has reached double figures in the scoring column in 22 of 25 games to date, with 11 20-point outings and two 30-point performances.

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

Among UGA’s career Leaders Tyree Crump is…

• 3 3FGs from No. 10 Jody Patton

• 11 3FGs from No. 9 Bernard Davis

• 28 3FGAs from No. 7 Dustin Ware

• 6 FTs from joining the top-10 in FT pct.

Among UGA’s Freshman Leaders Anthony Edwards is…

• 24 points from No. 2 Jumaine Jones

• 154 points from No. 1 Jacky Dorsey

Among UGA’s Freshman Leaders Sahvir Wheeler is…

• 20 assists from No. 1 Litterial Green

Series History

The Commodores currently lead the all-time series between UGA and VU, 91-54, including a 56-14 advantage in games at Vanderbilt.           

In the most recent meeting last Jan. 19 in Athens, Rayshaun Hammonds scored 19 points, all in the second half, to lead Georgia in an 82-63 victory over Vanderbilt before a crowd of 9,429.

On the first day of classes on the UGA campus, 2,720 students – 720 more than the student allotment – showed up for the game.

A back-and-forth first half featured six ties and six lead changes before the Bulldogs garnered a 34-33 edge at the break. Hammonds knocked down a 3-pointer 14 seconds into the second stanza and Georgia never trailed thereafter. 

In Georgia’s last trip to Memorial Gym on Feb. 7, 2018, the Bulldogs dropped an 81-66 decision to Vanderbilt despite a game-high 20 points from Yante Maten.

The Commodores scored the game’s first nine points and never trailed the rest of the way. Georgia gained possession down 53-51, but Maten missed a 3-pointer that would have given the Bulldogs the lead and Joe Toye converted a three-point play on the Commodores’ next possession.

Scouting The Commodores

Vanderbilt is currently 9-17 overall and 1-12 in the SEC in head coach Jerry Stackhouse’s first season. The Commodores’ lone SEC victory was a 99-90 decision over then-No. 18 LSU, the Tigers’ first conference setback after opening league play at 8-0.

Vanderbilt suffered a significant loss due to injury for the second consecutive year. Last season, Darius Garland, the eventual No. 5 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, sustained a season-ending meniscus tear in the fifth game of the campaign. This year, Aaron Nesmith was the SEC’s leading scorer at 23.0 ppg before going down with a right foot injury.

Saben Lee and Scotty Pippen Jr. are scoring at a double-digit pace for Vanderbilt. Lee averages 17.3 ppg, while Pippen adds 10.9. They also are the only two SEC teammates with 100 assists on the season. Lee has 113, and Pippen has 100.

Last Time Out…

Georgia grabbed the lead late in the first half and led the entire second stanza en route to a 65-55 upset over No. 13/12 Auburn on Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

The Bulldogs took the lead for good on an Anthony Edwards 3-pointer that put them up 25-23 with 3:55 left in the first half.

Georgia pushed that advantage to double digits at the 14:55 mark of the second half and never allowed Auburn closer than three points the rest of the evening, lastly at 43-40 with 10:12 remaining.

Toumani Camara hit several clutch free throws down the stretch. The freshman from Brussels, Belgium, entered the contest shooting 56.1 percent from the line on the season but was 10-of-12 against the Tigers.

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