Daily Dawg Thread: January 20, 2024

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Daily Dawg Thread: January 20, 2024

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MBB: Georgia (13-4, 3-1 SEC) vs. No. 8/10 Kentucky (13-3, 3-1 SEC) Preview

Date: Saturday, January 20

Time: 6:00 p.m. ET





Venue: Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center (20,500)

Location: Lexington, Ky.

Series History: UK leads, 131-28





Last Meeting: UGA, 75-68, on 2/11/23

TV: SEC Network (Mike Morgan, play-by-play; Jon Sundvold color analyst)

Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network – SiriusXM 380 (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, color analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• The Georgia Bulldogs, one of only four of 362 Division I men’s basketball teams still undefeated in road games this season, travel to Lexington to face No. 8/10 Kentucky on Saturday at Rupp Arena.

• Georgia entered the weekend ranked No. 16 nationally in bench points. The Bulldogs’ bench has outscored the its opponents’ reserves in 16 of 17games this season (every contest other than the season opener against Oregon) and sports a scoring margin of +243 (+14.3 ppg).

• After shooting 34.4 percent and making 8.0 3-pointers per game in non-conference play, Georgia is shooting 37.6 percent on knocking down 9.5 3s per game in SEC action.

• Georgia’s 10-game winning streak, the Bulldogs’ longest since the 1947-48 season, was snapped with last Saturday’s setback to No. 5 Tennessee.

• Georgia was the nation’s only Power conference team to face four Power conference foes in its first five outings. Of those, Oregon and Wake Forest are in the most recently published edition of ESPN’s bracketology, while Miami and Providence are two of the first eight “teams out” of the bracket.

The Opening Tip

The Georgia Bulldogs’ undefeated road record will face a stiff challenge on Saturday evening when the Bulldogs take on No. 8/10 Kentucky at Rupp Arena. Georgia enters the weekend as one of only four – of 362 – Division I teams with a perfect road record this season along with No. 4/3 North Carolina, Grand Canyon and Saint Mary’s.

Georgia upped its records to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in SEC play with Tuesday’s 74-69 victory at South Carolina. That win also improved the Bulldogs to 3-0 in road games. In addition, Georgia also bested Florida State, 68-66, in Tallahassee on Nov. 29 in the inaugural ACC/SEC Challenge and then opened SEC play with a 75-68 win at Missouri on Jan. 6.

The Bulldogs’ three-game stretch of road success continues a streaky season for Georgia. The Bulldogs put together a 10-game overall winning streak from Nov. 24-Jan. 13, their longest winning streak since the 1947-48 season. Georgia also produced a 10-game winning streak at Stegeman Coliseum, matching the seventh-longest ever at home and fifth-longest since moving into the Coliseum in 1964. 

Georgia is off to a 3-1 SEC start for the second-straight season. The last time the Bulldogs opened league play with back-to-back 3-1 marks was during the 2001-02 and 2002-03 campaigns.

Following a 21-point outburst against No. 5 Tennessee last Saturday, Jabri Abdur-Rahim slipped past Noah Thomasson atop Georgia’s scoring leaders for the season. The senior from South Orange, N.J., is contributing 12.8 ppg, while Thomasson is chipping in 12.4 ppg. Abdur-Rahim sports team-leading shooting percentages of .415 from 3-point range and an SEC-best .889 at the free throw line.

Three additional Bulldogs are contributing more than 9.0 ppg – RJ Melendez at 9.8, Justin Hill at 9.5 and Silas Demary Jr. at 9.2. Hill also leads Georgia in assists at 3.4 apg and entered this weekend ranked No. 5 in the SEC and No. 42 in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.85.

Keeping An Eye On…

Among UGA’s career leaders…

Jabri Abdur-Rahim is

• 4 3FGs from No. 18 Sundiata Gaines

• 5 3FGs from No. 17 Rashad Wright

• 9 3FGs from No. 16 Turtle Jackson

• 29 3FGAs from No. 19 Michael Chadwick

Career statistics wise…

Justin Hill is

• 25 points from 1,200

RJ Sunahara is

• Played in his 100th career game against South Carolina

• 1 FGAs from 1000

Noah Thomasson is

• 2 assists from 250

Scouting The Wildcats

Kentucky, which is ranked No. 8 and No. 10 in this week’s AP and coaches polls, respectively, improved to 13-3 overall and 3-1 in the SEC with a win over Mississippi State on Wednesday.

Kentucky entered this weekend as the nation’s top scoring team, averaging 90.8 ppg. The Wildcats also top SEC stats in field goal percentage (No. 13 nationally at .496) and assist-to-TO ratio (No. 4 in the nation at 1.89).

No less than five Wildcats are scoring at a double-digit pace. Antonio Reeves leads UK and is ranked third in the SEC at 19.4 ppg, followed by Rob Dillingham at 14.5 ppg, Tre Mitchell at 13.0 ppg, D.J. Wagner at 12.4 ppg and Reed Sheppard at 11.8 ppg.

Series History With Kentucky

Kentucky owns a 131-28 advantage in the all-time series between UGA and UK. The Bulldogs and Wildcats split two meetings last season, with each team winning on its home floor.

In the most recent matchup last Feb. 11 in Athens, Kario Oquendo continued his trend of big games against Kentucky to lead Georgia in a 75-68 win over the Wildcats.

Oquendo poured in 21 points, Justin Hill chipped in 15 points and dished out six assists with just one turnover, and Braelen Bridges added 12 points on an efficient 5-of-6 shooting effort from the field.

The Bulldogs led 42-32 at the half; however, Kentucky surged to a 52-48 with 11:53 remaining. Bridges then accounted for eight points in an 13-2 answer that gave Georgia the lead for good.

Earlier last season on Jan. 17 at Rupp Arena, with Wildcats rallied from an 11-point, first-half deficit en route to an 85-71 win.

Terry Roberts scored 21 points to pace the Bulldogs, while Kario Oquendo added 17.

Oscar Tshiebwe led Kentucky with 37 points and 24 rebounds, the second-most boards ever by a Georgia opponent (behind the 27 by Vanderbilt’s Clyde Lee on Jan. 11, 1965).

The Bulldogs played an exceptional first half, shooting 55.6 percent from the floor and 88.9 percent at the line en route to a 42-34 advantage at the intermission.

Tshiebwe scored all of the Wildcats’ points in an 11-3 surge to pull Kentucky within 45-43 just 2:41 into the second stanza. After the game was tied 57-57, Kentucky went on to outscore the Bulldogs 28-14 over the final 11:26.

Video: MBB: Mike White’s Pre-Kentucky Presser

T&F: UGA will compete at both The Track at New Balance Collegiate Showdown and the Vanderbilt Invitational this weekend

Photo: Rob Davis/UGAAA

The meet in Boston is a one-day competition on Saturday at the site of this year’s NCAA Indoor Championships.  The Vanderbilt event will run on Friday and Saturday and marks the first of two times that Georgia will travel across state lines to Nashville (Music City Challenge, Feb. 9-10).

When Do The Bulldogs Start?: Katherine Law will start the action at Vanderbilt in the women’s 5000 meters at 8:25 p.m. ET Friday.  Ella Kepple, Charlotte Augenstein, Nina Ouellette and Simone Rojas will begin day two at the meet in the women’s 800m at 5 p.m. Saturday.

In Boston, the final meet schedule for Saturday is expected to be announced later Friday.

Where To Catch The Vanderbilt Invite: There will be ESPN streaming coverage on Friday (10 a.m.) and Saturday (9:30 a.m.) for the action in Nashville.

SEC Network+ info:

Day One – Friday, January 19

SEC Network+ – http://gado.gs/b9g

Day Two – Saturday, January 20

SEC Network+ – http://gado.gs/b9h

Live Results: For Vanderbilt Invite results throughout the weekend, please visit: http://gado.gs/b9i

For The Track at New Balance Collegiate Showdown results on Saturday, please visit: http://gado.gs/b9j

Coach Caryl’s Comments: “As we anticipated, we had a number of new faces emerge and have success last weekend, and a solid group of our returners had strong starts,” said Bulldog head coach Caryl Smith Gilbert.  “This weekend, we have the power group testing out this year’s NCAA Indoor facility in Boston, which is always important to us, and our distance runners trying to record some fast times against a talented field in Nashville.  I’m excited to see continued development as the short indoor season progresses.  GO DAWGS!”

What Bulldogs Are Competing In Boston?: For the Lady Bulldogs,Aaliyah ButlerDaszay FreemanEddiyah FryeKieley Gayle, Kimberly Harris, Sydney HarrisKaila JacksonElena Kulichenko, Kelsie Murrell-Ross,Karsen PhillipsZoe PollockHaley Tate,Autumn Wilson andBella Witt travel to compete in Boston.

On the men’s side, Gavin Beverage,Brody Buffington,Jan DuhovnikMekhi Gammons,Jehlani Gordon,Hossam Hatib,Chance Jones,Alex Kolesnikoff,Micah Larry,Jordan McKenzie,Christopher Morales Williams,Riyon Rankin, Alon Rogow and Zavien Wolfe will represent Georgia.

In Nashville, Charlotte Augenstein,Sophia Baker,Bella Brick,Ella Kepple,Lorel Golden,Katherine Law,Gracie O’Neal,Nina Ouellette,Gracey Owens and Simone Rojas are slated to run in distance events.

Andrew BaloghCole Heron, KC Heron, John Jessup,Sumner Kirsch,Ryan Olree,Conner Rutherford and Zack Truitt are also registered to compete at Vanderbilt.

Dawg Debut: Twenty-six Georgia competitors battled in the red and black for the first time last weekend at the Clemson Invitational.  That number included 18 true freshmen, four transfers, three graduate transfers and one redshirt.

Early SEC Honors: Riyon Rankin has been named the Southeastern Conference Men’s Freshman of the Week following Georgia’s indoor season-opening action at the Clemson meet over the weekend.

Rankin, a true freshman from Brunswick, Ga., collected the second-best high jump mark in the nation this year with a clearance of 2.21 meters/7 feet, 3 inches to win.  Rankin situated himself in a tie for seventh on the Bulldogs’ all-time top-10 list as well as on the 2024 world list.

What’s Next For The Bulldogs?: Following this weekend’s meets, the squad will ready for the Razorback Invitational on Jan. 26-27 at the site of this year’s SEC Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.  There will be a total of six regular season indoor meet weekends before the conference met on Feb. 23-24.  This year’s NCAA Championships will also be in Boston for the first time in history on March 8-9.

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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.