Daily Dawg Thread: January 14, 2024

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Daily Dawg Thread: January 14, 2024

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MBB: Dawgs scare #5 Tennessee in an electric Stegeman

The Georgia men’s basketball team dropped its first home game of the season, falling to No. 5 Tennessee, 85-79, on Saturday afternoon before a sellout crowd of 10,523 spectators inside Stegeman Coliseum. 

Jabri Abdur-Rahim led the Bulldogs (12-4, 2-1 SEC) in scoring for the fifth time this season, contributing 21 points on five made 3-pointers and five rebounds. Noah Thomasson added 14 points while RJ Melendez and Silas Demary Jr. each had 13 points with six and four rebounds respectively. The Volunteers (12-4, 2-1 SEC) ended Georgia’s 10-game win streak, moving the Bulldogs to 10-1 inside Stegeman Coliseum this season and 23-5 in head coach Mike White’s two seasons at the helm of the program.

The Bulldogs struck first with a pair of offensive rebounds leading to a made 3-pointer from Jabri Abdur-Rahim. The Volunteers rattled off an 8-0 run after converting an and-one free throw following the first media timeout, creating a 14-6 deficit for Georgia. Despite forcing six turnovers and committing none in the opening 12 minutes, Tennessee created an 11-point lead from a barrage of 3-pointers, making five of its first 10 attempts. The Bulldogs capped off the first half with a 9-0 run in the final 3:47, holding the Volunteers to seven straight missed free throws to trail 42-37 headed to the locker room.





Following a flagrant foul committed by Tennessee on Abdur-Rahim, the senior made both free throws and a shot from deep to give Georgia a four-point lead. Blue Cain’s second shot from deep with 6:24 remaining gave Georgia a 75-64 advantage, its largest lead of the day, but Tennessee managed to get it down to five less than a minute later. The Volunteers closed the game on a 21-4 run, reclaiming the lead from a 3-pointer with 1:56 to go to take the win.

Georgia will play its first conference game on the road this coming Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 9 p.m. against South Carolina. The tilt inside Colonial Life Arena will be broadcast on ESPNU. The Bulldogs split its two games against the Gamecocks during the 2022-23 campaign. 

Five Fast Facts

• Jabri Abdur-Rahim scored 13 points in the first five minutes of the second half.





• This is the second time under Mike White that the Bulldogs had less than 10 turnovers against a top five team. Prior to the eight turnovers against Alabama last seasons, the last time was in 2012.

• Georgia opened the second half by extending its run to 15-0 with back-to-back three-pointers by Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Noah Thomasson.

•  Tennessee came in the matchup allowing opponents to score an average of 65.1 points per game, and Georgia scored 79.

• Blue Cain knocked down three 3-pointers in the game, the fourth time of his career making at least three.

Team Notes
  • The starting lineup was freshman Silas Demary Jr., senior Jabri Abdur-Rahim and graduates Noah Thomasson, RJ Sunahara and Russel Tchewa.
  • The Bulldogs capped off the first half with a 9-0 run in the final 3:47, holding the Volunteers to seven straight missed free throws to trail by five into the break.
  • The Bulldogs off the bench contributed 20 of the team’s 37 points going into the half break.
  • Georgia opened the second half by extending its run to 15-0 with back-to-back three-pointers by Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Noah Thomasson.
  • Georgia’s 14 3-pointers made are now the most this season, the most since the Auburn game last season.
  • The Bulldogs outrebounded the Volunteers by five in the second half.
  • Georgia went 82.6% on free throws.
  • Tennessee came in the matchup allowing opponents to score an average of 65.1 points per game, and Georgia scored 79.
  • This is the second time under Mike White that the Bulldogs had less than 10 turnovers against a top five team. Prior to the eight turnovers against Alabama last seasons, the last time was in 2012.
Box Score
Individual Notes
  • Jabri Abdur-Rahim posted his fourth career 20+ point game.
  • Noah Thomasson has posted three-straight games with three or more 3-point field goals made.
  • Blue Cain posted his fourth career game with three or more 3-point field goals made.
  • Jabri Abdur-Rahim’s five 3-pointers made matched his career high for the fourth time.
  • Noah Thomasson’s third straight game with three or more 3-pointers.

Opening Statement…

“Incredible environment. I’m really appreciative to all of our fans that showed up, how they showed up, as active as they were. It’s the loudest that I’ve ever heard Stegeman, ever, and it’s just unfortunate that we weren’t able to capitalize and reward our fans for helping us, being as a big of a factor as they were – in a game where we had chances down the stretch. Credit Tennessee – one of the best teams in the country. They have a chance to be a Final Four team. [Tennessee’s Dalton] Knecht was phenomenal down the stretch, offensively. They’ve got veteran guards. Zakai Zeigler is such a presence defensively. He does so many things that don’t show up in the stat sheet. The way he blew up our sideline offense, out of bounds defensively, with his activity and energy. I thought he was a huge factor, as well. I thought we played really hard. A lot of things we have to clean up. We have to continue to get better, but I thought we had some good individual performances. I thought we played with a lot of confidence and rode the environment in our building.”

On what the difference was late in the game…

“They fought for every inch on the court, defensively. We struggled to get a clean look when it most mattered, but then we got down five or six there – what was it? Five or six? We actually got open looks, but they just didn’t go. Could’ve made it more interesting. And then our inability to get stops, to slow Knecht, and to get them off the foul line.”

On where the team struggled to stop Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht…

“Sometimes, good offense just beats good defense. He hit a couple that were heavily contested. I thought we had a couple with ill-advised fouls where we were pressuring him a little bit, and then he just gets easy ones at the foul line. You know, at times, he’s able to get to the rim because we’re overextended a little bit, and we’re not as heavy in the gaps as we would like to be. That said, you know they have Zakai Zeigler and [Santiago] Vescovi – guys that can make shots – and that’s what makes them who they are. I think that they’re as good defensively as they’ve been, and potentially even better offensively.”

On his message to the team after the loss…

“You know a few. One is the fact that there’s a lot of room for growth – continued growth. And we have to get back at it tomorrow. There’re 15 more opportunities, then an SEC tournament, and if we’re good enough, potentially something in the post season. It’s a long process, and we have to get back to work tomorrow. We have to watch it, and then we have to flush it. And the next one will be equally as difficult, but it’s a great opportunity, as well. But that’s it. This is the SEC. The other message they want from me is, you know, all these kids get noise, positively, negatively, and individually, and let’s handle that with maturity because we’ve handled success that right way over these past 10. Let’s see how we handle some adversity. It’s been a while. But also, let’s not ever be thrilled about a loss. We played them close. We had a chance. The people that say, ‘That’s a great effort’ – that’s not what we are about. We’re trying to win those. Let’s be positive about the positive things that we did, and let’s continue to work to get better at the things we need to get better at.”

#1 | Jabri Abdur-Rahim | Sr. | G

On the final minutes of the game…

“We just didn’t do a good job of taking care of the basketball, and we struggled to get some stops late. Credit to them, they’re a good team, and they executed better than us down the stretch. It’s that simple.”

On the impact of the crowd inside Stegeman Coliseum…

“It was very electric. We appreciate all of Dawg Nation for coming out and supporting us. We really needed it, and we’re going to need it the rest of the season. The SEC is tough, and with them behind us I feel like we have a really really good chance every night. I appreciate all the students for coming out.”

On what the team learned tonight…

“I think we learned that we can play with anybody. We weren’t scared coming in, and we knew they were top five in the country and that they have really good players. We feel like we do too, and we feel like we have a good team. For about 30 minutes, we showed it, but we just failed to execute down the stretch. I feel like we learned that we can play with anybody, like I said. We have a good team, and we have talented players. We should be confident in that going forward.”

On what the team felt only trailing by five at halftime..

“We felt like at halftime we were down five and probably played our worst half of the season. We had a lot of confidence going in, because we knew we were going to play better in the second half. To only be down five and we were playing really really bad gave us a lot of confidence. That’s what sparked the run in the second half.”

#4 | Silas Demary Jr. | Fr. | G

On what allowed Georgia to take the lead early in the second half…

“Definitely playing fast. We get the ball coming back in. We knew we were down four or five points. We just wanted to preach on having a good second half because a few games coming out in the second half, we’ve been pretty slow. We’ve given up a lot of points in that first media, so we were just preaching ‘come out fast,’ and that helped give us that push in the first two medias.”

On what was working from three-point range…

“Definitely getting paint touches. Paint-touch threes, you convert a lot. When you get two feet in the paint, people have to converge, and you can kick out and hit open teammates. So any time we hit the paint or you create disadvantages to get those threes and you can make extra passes, I feel like those open threes were falling.”

On his takeaways from playing against a top-five team at home…

“I feel like what we take from that loss, we can be in those big-time games. We believe in ourselves. We practice hard every day. I just feel like we can learn how to execute better down the stretch, learn how to not get comfortable at times because I feel like when we got comfortable, Tennessee took advantage of us, and we had a few mistakes. So I feel like not being comfortable and completing games.”

On how to build off the 10-game win streak despite today’s loss…

“Just build on the positive things we’ve done in that win streak, even the negative things we’ve done at times, and trying to figure out how we can make everything better. We can be as positive as much as we can throughout the whole 40 minutes, so just taking away all the positives.”


On his general thoughts about the game…

“One, it was an incredible, hard-fought basketball game. We thought we had wore into them in the first half playing with the speed we were playing with. I gotta give them a lot of credit. They closed out the first half on I think a 9-0 run. Then they came out and went right at us with a 15-0 run. We obviously had some foul trouble situations. You gotta give them credit for putting us in that situation. It was a great atmosphere. Both teams I thought played extremely hard, but obviously very proud that with the last six minutes we were down 10 maybe. We just felt like we could get it to four with about four minutes. We could have got it there quicker, but we missed the free throws from the six minute to the four-minute mark. Defensively, in the last four minutes, what can you say about Jonas’ 15 rebounds, five blocks. I thought Santiago, Jahmai and Zakai did well defensively. I thought Dalton was trying to lock in defensively. We just said to them in the timeout that we’ll sub in and play aggressive defense, but don’t put them at the free throw line. We did that too much in the first half. We got to guard without fouling which we’ll do with our ballstreet coverage. Jonas switched out guard-to-guard he did a great job with that. I’m just really proud at the way the guys executed on the defensive end and obviously at the end of the game. You guys know when Dalton gets that look in his eye, he’s can go do this and he did it. The defense really got us back in the game.”

On Dalton Knecht in road environments…

“When guys are good basketball players, good offensive guys, I’ve always believed that guys who have success like this, it goes back to their training, their work ethic, their passion and love for the game. Dalton is one of those guys. You want to see them come back to Food City Center and put in the work every night, and he’s going to be in there. After practice, he’s one of those guys that puts his time in. He’s a confident player. He’s working really, really hard to become a better defensive player.”

On the similarities between Dalton Knecht and Kevin Durant…

“The mindset. It’s a short memory, not afraid of the moment, willing to go make the big play, and if they don’t, they have a great ability to bounce back.”

#3 | Dalton Knecht | Sr. | G 

On helping his team overcome the deficit…

“Just coming downhill and make the right play. Coach just said, ‘Get the ball and make the right play. Find your teammates for a lay-up or a free throw. Get to the free throw line.’”

On his mentality in road games…

“Just me, just having the right mindset to go and be myself. Big props to my teammates for getting in the right spots to make it easier for me, as well as the coaches for putting me in the right spots.”

On adjusting to tough environments on the road in the SEC…

“I mean, you just always as a kid want to grow up and play in those type of environments. I think all of us have, and I think all of us are just ready to perform in front of those types of crowds.”

T&F: Georgia concludes indoor opener, Clemson Invitional

Christopher Morales Williams (Photo: Rob Davis/UGAAA)

 Georgia track & field continued its impactful start by a variety of newcomers and returning scorers to conclude the indoor season-opening Clemson Invitational Saturday.

Sophomore Christopher Morales Williams had the top collegiate finisher (second overall) and set the Canadian national record in the 300-meter dash to highlight day two. 

Other series of Georgia competitors recorded wins or top collegiate finishes: Aaliyah Butler (women’s 300m), Ryan Olree (men’s 3000m), women’s 4x400m relay, Elena Kulichenko (women’s high jump), Zavien Wolfe (men’s triple jump), Alex Kolesnikoff (men’s shot put), Kelsie Murrell-Ross (women’s shot put) and Riyon Rankin (men’s shot put).

The Lowdown: Morales Williams, who hails from Vaughan, Ontario, blazed to a 32.47 for a Canadian Under-23 national record, topping the former mark of 32.53.  Morales Williams now owns the Under-16, Under-20 and Under-23 all-time finishes in the event for his homeland.

Butler was the only competitor to break 37 seconds with a 36.65 to win the women’s 300m.

Butler returned in the 4x400m relay alongside Haley Tate and newcomer sisters Sydney and Kimberly Harris and the quartet won in 3:33.37.  This finish rocketed the unit to third on Georgia’s all-time top-10 list and fifth on the current national list.

All-American Elena Kulichenko cruised over the high jump bar at 1.85 meters/6 feet, ¾ inches on her first attempt to win her opener and tie for fourth on the current national list.

On the men’s side, true freshman Riyon Rankin collected the second-best high jump mark in the nation this year with a clearance of 2.21m/7-3 to win.  Rankin situated himself in a tie for seventh on the Bulldogs’ all-time top-10 list.

Kolesnikoff, a Harvard graduate transfer, wasted little time on his second attempt in the shot put to lock down the victory and move to sixth on the UGA all-time top-10 list.  He is third currently on the national list early in the campaign.

Murrell-Ross gave Georgia the victory in the women’s shot put as well by more than 10 feet.  Her fifth throw in the series measured 16.13m/52-11, which ranks fourth best all-time in school history.  The Grenada native earned spots in the UGA record books in both the shot and weight throw this weekend.

The country’s top 15 in 2024 added another member as freshman Zavien Wolfe took off on his third attempt in the triple jump for a mark of 15.47m/50-9.25.  This performance earned him the top collegiate finish (second overall) and put him in a tie for the No. 10 spot in the school record books,

In his first indoor meet as a Bulldog, Ryan Olree completed his laps in the 3000m in 8:10.30 to finish ahead of the field.  His victory shot him to ninth in the school record books.

The Lady Bulldogs also went 2-3-4 in the women’s 800m with Sophia Baker (2:12.15) leading Kieley Gayle (2:12.28) and Simone Rojas (2:14.62) across the line.

Up Next: Georgia goes in different directions next weekend.  One contingent travels to Boston, Mass., for The Track at New Balance Collegiate Showdown (Jan. 20) and the distance runners are going to Nashville for the Vanderbilt Invitational (Jan. 19-20).

WTennis: Dawgs record wins at Michigan Invitational

The Georgia women’s tennis team picked up two singles wins on the second day of competition at the Michigan Invitational on Saturday. 

“Today was another step forward for our team,” head coach Drake Bernstein said. “We are getting better at playing together with each day that goes on.” 

After competition was delayed into the afternoon due to a power outage at the Varsity Tennis Center, the Bulldogs relocated to Travis Pointe for singles action against No. 5 Michigan. 

No. 70 Anastasiia Lopata picked up the first victory of the day for Georgia against Jaedan Brown (Michigan). The Kiev, Ukraine-native came out strong early in the first set before closing out with two straight games to take the set 6-4. With all momentum heading into the second set, Lopata breezed past Brown to secure the win 6-4, 6-0.  

“Nastya bouncing back today against one of the nation’s top players was very encouraging to see,” Bernstein said. “She was laser-focused from the first point of the match and never wavered in her belief.” 

No. 116 Mell Reasco (Georgia) earned a ranked victory against No. 39 Julia Fliegner (Michigan) for the Bulldogs’ second win of the day. Coming off a victory on Friday, Reasco battled early before finishing strong to lead by one set after winning 6-4. In the second set, it was all Reasco as she dominated to close out the match with a 6-4, 6-0 straight-set victory.  

“In these multi-day events, we talk a lot about backing up our work day after day and Mell did exactly that today,’ Bernstein said. “She picked up where she left off yesterday, carried momentum and played some of her best tennis in that second set. She is getting better by the day.” 

Due to only four courts being available after relocation to Travis Pointe, no doubles matches were played on Saturday. 

The Bulldogs will conclude action at the Michigan Invitational on Sunday, Jan. 14. Georgia is slated to face No. 5 Michigan in doubles before wrapping up against No. 20 Georgia Tech in singles. All competition will be individual, and no team scoring will be kept. For updates regarding events for Sunday’s action, keep up with Georgia Women’s Tennis on X and Instagram.  


Date: Friday, Jan. 12 to Sunday, Jan. 14 

Time: 10 a.m. every day 

Location: Ann Arbor, Mich. 

Venue: Varsity Tennis Center 

Live Stats/Videohttps://gado.gs/b99

Saturday Results 

Singles Matches 

No. 70 Anastasiia Lopata def. Jaedan Brown (Michigan), 6-4, 6-0 

No. 116 Mell Reasco def. No. 39 Julia Fliegner (Michigan), 6-4, 6-0 

No. 10 Kari Miller (Michigan) def. No. 30 Dasha Vidmanova, 6-4, 6-4 

No. 47 Lily Jones (Michigan) def. No. 108 Mai Nirundorn, 1-6, 6-0, 10-8 

Piper Charney (Michigan) def. Aysegul Mert, 6-2, 3-6, 10-0 

Reese Miller (Michigan) def. Guillermina Grant, 7-5, 7-5   

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Greg is closing in on 15 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.