Georgia (9-6, 2-2 SEC) vs. Missouri (8-9, 1-3 SEC)
Wednesday, January 20 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Mizzou Arena (15,061) in Columbia, Mo.
TV: SEC Network (Dave Neal, PBP; Daymeon Fishback, Color)
Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network by IMG (Scott Howard, PBP; Chuck Dowdle, Color; Tony Schiavone, Producer) Flagship: AM 750
The Starting Five
• UGA and MU have split their eight all-time meetings. MU won the first four matchups, but UGA has earned victories in the last four.
• UGA is No. 2 in the SEC and No. 13 in nationally in FG pct. defense (.379) and has held 13 of 15 opponents under their season percentage.
• UGA is one of only two 351 Division I teams – along with Eastern Mighigan – that has played only one team with an RPI higher than 200 this season. UGA’s strength of schedule is ranked No. 12 in ESPN’s BPI and No. 15 in the NCAA RPI.
• Among UGA’s career scoring leaders, Kenny Gaines enters the Missouri game four points from No. 32 Joe Ward.
• 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 for the ‘14 & ‘15 SEC Tourneys.
Bulldogs Battle Tigers For Second Time In As Many Weeks
Georgia travels to Columbia, Mo., on Wednesday to face Missouri for the second matchup in a two-week span. On Jan. 6 in Athens, the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers 77-59 in UGA’s SEC home opener and MU’s initial league outing of the season.
Georgia slipped to 9-6 overall and 2-3 in the SEC with last Saturday’s setback to No. 15 Texas A&M.
Overall, Yante Maten continues to lead the Bulldogs and rank among SEC leaders in scoring (No. 11 at 15.9 ppg), No. 9 in rebounding (7.4 rpg), blocks (No. 8 at 1.5 bpg) and FG percentage (No. 4 at .534). Maten also paces Georgia in SEC play in scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.2 rpg).
Three more Bulldogs are averaging double-digit in the scoring column, both overall and against SEC competition – J.J. Frazier (15.0 overall and 14.2 in SEC), Kenny Gaines (13.9 overall and 12.8 in SEC) and Charles Mann (10.3 overall and 11.2 in SEC).
Missouri is currently 8-9 overall, but 8-2 at Mizzou Arena this season. The Tigers sport a 1-3 SEC mark.
Kevin Puryear and Wes Clark, two of three Missouri players to start every game this season, are the top Tigers on the offensive end at 11.6 ppg and 10.6 ppg, respectively. Clark leads MU in SEC play at 12.5 ppg, slightly better than Puryear’s 10.8 ppg.
Keeping An Eye On…Entering Today’s Game:
Among UGA’s career Leaders
Charles Mann is...
• 34 points from No. 24 Ray Harrison
• 17 FTs from No. 2 Litterial Green
• 18 FTs from No. 1 Alec Kessler
• 7 assists from No. 10 Donald Hartry
Kenny Gaines is...
• 4 points from No. 32 Joe Ward
• 14 points from No. 31 Travis Leslie
• 15 points from No. 30 Michael Chadwick
• 1 3FGA from No. 8 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
• 7 3FGs from No. 8 Jody Patton
J.J. Frazier is...
• 8 3FGs from No. 16 Michael Chadwick
• 15 3FGAs from No. No. 17 Nemi Djurisic
Series History With Mizzou
Georgia and Missouri have split their eight all-time meetings. The Tigers won the first four matchups before the Bulldogs secured the final four dates.
Just 13 days ago in Athens, Georgia opened the game with a 10-0 run and maintained a lead the rest of the way en route to a 77-59 win over Missouri.
Georgia shot a season-high 54.7 percent from the field, including an even more impressive 57.9 percent from 3-point range.
The Bulldogs were led by J.J. Frazier with 16 points, which included his 100th career 3-point basket. Yante Maten, Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines joined him in double figures with 15, 14 and 11 points, respectively.
“We certainly started the game very well,” Mark Fox said. “I thought that we had a good focus about us. We played well at both ends to start the game. We certainly played very well on the defensive end to start the second half. It was good to play from in front.”
Georgia scored a season-best 45 first-half points and then forced the Tigers to miss their first 11 field goal attempts of the second period to build a 57-35 advantage.
The Bulldogs started their four-game streak of success in their last trip to Columbia – a 70-64 overtime decision on Jan. 8, 2014. That victory snapped No. 21 Missouri’s nation-leading 26-game home winning streak.
Georgia opened the game with an 8-0 run and led for all but 2:47 of the first half. The Bulldogs’ lead topped out a 30-20 before Missouri closed out the half on a 5-0 run.
The Tigers used a 9-0 surge to gain a five-point advantage midway through the second half. Georgia knotted the score 43-43 with 6:55 left, the first of four ties and three lead changes before the end of regulation.
Missouri built a five-point lead just over two minutes into overtime before the Bulldogs stormed back. Nemanja Djurisic scored consecutive buckets to tie the game just 71 seconds later and Georgia eventually closed out the contest on a 12-1.
“I’m really proud of our team,” Fox said. “I’ve been critical of the defense, their rebounding and their toughness and tonight those three things won it for us. I wasn’t there yesterday but our staff did a great job preparing our team. We had the right mentality when we came to the game tonight. I thought we were very attached mentally to our game plan and had very few mistakes”
The upset came a day after Fox attended a memorial service in Garden City, Kansas, for his father, Raymond Lewis Fox, who passed away four days before the game.
Last Time Out
Yante Maten posted his sixth straight double-figure scoring output, but it wasn’t enough as the Bulldogs fell to No. 15 Texas A&M, 79-45, last Saturday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
Maten finished the day with 11 points and six rebounds, marking the sixth straight game he has scored in double digits and the 11th in his last 12 outings.
“I felt like we practiced well yesterday and had a good shoot around this morning,” Mark Fox said. “We didn’t have everybody attached, and we ran into a very good team. We weren’t able to respond to adversity out of the gate very well. After the first timeout they were on pace to break 100, and you can’t win like that.”
The Aggies jumped out to an early 17-7 lead seven minutes into the contest. Georgia was unable to get anything going as Texas A&M had an answer for each of its runs and took a 38-23 lead into the break.
The Aggies controlled most of the second half despite several UGA comeback attempts. The Bulldogs were able to cut the Aggies’ lead to 42-29 three minutes into the half, but Texas A&M answered with a 16-5 run over the course of the next 10 minutes.
Georgia shot a season-low 28.2 percent from the field, while the Aggies became the first team to make more than half its shots from the field against the Bulldogs. Texas A&M’s 52.7 percent overall and 50.0 percent from 3-point range represented the best efforts by any UGA opponent 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. 25. He now has scored 1,196 points, 34 away from the current No. 24, Ray Harrison.
Gaines became Georgia’s 46th 1,000-point career scorer against Clemson on Dec. 22. He is now up to the No. 33 slot with 1,085 points, four points from No. 32 Joe Ward, 14 from No. 31 Travis Leslie and 15 from No. 30 Michael Chadwick.
Bulldogs In The BPI & RPI
In their most recent editions, Georgia is No. 59 in the ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) and No. 74 in the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI).
The Bulldogs’ strength of schedule, which was ranked as the nation’s toughest in both computer ledgers for a good bit of December, is currently listed at No. 12 in the BPI and No. 15 in the RPI.
Georgia is one of only two teams in the nation – along with Eastern Michigan – that has played only one opponent with an RPI higher than 200 this season.
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.
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 (15.9 ppg) and also has upped both his rebounding (7.4 rpg) and playing time (29.5 mpg) by massive chunks.
Maten posted four career-high scoring outputs in the Bulldogs’ first seven games this season, improving from 13 points entering the year to 17 points versus Chattanooga in the opener to 21 points to back-to-back outings against Seton Hall and Oakland and 24 points versus Winthrop.
Ogbeide Back, Making Big Strides
Following an injury-induced detour, freshman Derek Ogbeide (pronounced “Ohwg-Bay-Day”) is showing signs of becoming an inside presence for the Bulldogs.
Ogbeide 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.
He finally made his official premiere against Kansas State, checking at the 17:27 mark of the first half versus the Wildcats and playing 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.
The Pebblebrook High School product now is helping Georgia doing just that.
Ogbeide played a combined five minutes against Kansas State and Winthrop before UGA’s 11-day break for Final Exams. In the eight games since, Ogbeide is averaging 5.0 points and 6.1 rebounds in 15.3 minutes.
His impact has been even more dramatic in SEC play.
Ogbeide, who earned his first career start against Tennessee, is averaging 5.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 17.4 mpg. In stats for SEC games only, he ranks No. 14 in rebounding and is the only player among league leaders averaging less than 20 minutes per game.
In fact, equating out to 40-minute production makes Ogbeide the league’s most proficient rebounder as outlined below.
Per 40 SEC Rebounding Averages
Player GP RPG MPG R/40MP
D. Ogbeide, UGA 5 6.8 17.4 15.6
B. Simmons, LSU 5 12.8 33.2 15.4
M. Lee, UK 5 6.8 20.0 13.6
M. Carrera, S.C. 4 7.5 25.0 12.0
G. Victor, LSU 5 9.0 30.8 11.7
The Ogbeide Effect On UGA
In addition to his individual contributions, the significance of Derek Ogbeide’s addition to the Bulldogs regular playing rotation is readily apparent.
Following the Kansas State loss on Dec. 4, Georgia was 3-3.
Since then, the Bulldogs have compiled a 6-3 record. That stretch includes decisive victories over a pair of ACC opponents – Georgia Tech (75-61) and Clemson (71-48) – as well as another double-digit victory over Robert Morris, a 2015 NCAA Tournament participant with four returning starters.
Dogs’ “D” Has Been Consistent
The Bulldogs currently rank No. 13 nationally in field goal defense, holding opponents to just 37.9 percent shooting from the floor.
Georgia has held each 13 of its 15 opponents – and all 10 non-conference foes – under their field goal percentage for the season.
During the 2015 calendar portion of the schedule, Georgia’s opponents connected on a paltry 36.6 percent (218-of-596) of their shots from the field against the Bulldogs. Subtract out those totals and UGA’s opposition made 45.8 percent (3203-of-6990) of their field goals attempted.
Georgia has held three of five SEC foes under their season percentage.
Florida became the first team to shoot a better percentage against the Bulldogs than otherwise. The Gators entered the SEC opener shooting 42.2 percent but hit 42.3 – yes, .1 of one percent better – versus Georgia. Texas A&M became the first team to make half its FG attempts against the Bulldogs, shooting 52.7 percent on Jan. 16.
UGA’s All-SEC Tandem...
Seniors Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann were both named preseason first-team All-SEC in voting 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 first-team selections prior to the 2010-11 season.
Mann became Georgia’s first-ever two-time first-team preseason All-SEC selection.
...Has Very Strong Ties
The duo of Peach State natives Kenny Gaines, who is from Atlanta, and Charles Mann, who hails from Alpharetta, has played a significant role since they arrived on campus in 2012.
Between them, Gaines and Mann have a combined 220 games played, 162 starts and 5,625 minutes played.
Much of that has been compiled together.
Gaines and Mann have started together for 72 of Georgia’s 82 contests since the beginning of the their sophomore year of 2013-14. All told, they have played 1,739 minutes and 51 seconds together at Georgia.
UGA In Midst Of Most SEC Success
Georgia entered Southeastern Conference competition looking to extend its 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 during the 2012-13 season.
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.
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 did so 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.
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 21.9 minutes of action per game. The Booneville, Miss., native has matched or bettered his previous career-most MP in eight games during 2015-16, including a new career-best of 35 versus Chattanooga.