While it was only an exhibition game against Fort Valley State, it served as a tune-up game in preparation for the regular season opener against Clemson.
Playing an overmatched opponent, the Dawgs handled their business, winning 94-38.
Fox said with his bigger and better players, “the guys played well and it was a good first act for us, still, a lot to learn and a lot to improve, but a good starting spot for us.”
Yante Maten, returning from his 2nd team All-SEC junior season, did what he was supposed to do with 19 points and six rebounds.
J.J. Frazier, the primary ball handler in the Georgia backcourt, failed to get any rhythm in the first half - hitting only one of his five shots. But looked more comfortable in the second half.
Fox said Frazier was “too passive with the ball, trying to get everyone else involved, which is admirable, but we’re going to need more guys to chip in.”
In the first half, the Dawgs struggled with rebounding. Against inferior opponents that lack the comparable size and talent in the frontcourt, rebounding should come easy. The Dawgs narrowly edged the Wildcats by five rebounds in the first half but increased the difference to 15 by the end of the game.
Looking ahead to Clemson next Friday night, Fox said, “We didn’t play nearly as good of defense as we’ll need to play against Clemson,” and continuing to talk about preparation against the Tigers, he said, “Clemson is very sound, very deep and will play better defense than we’ve seen up to this point.”
“There’s a lot of things we’ll need to work on because they’re a very good basketball team. We’ll have to play a lot better than we did tonight to stand a chance to win.”
Next Friday night’s game is the regular season opener for both teams and Clemson’s first action against real competition in their newly renovated Littlejohn Coliseum at 7:00 p.m.