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UGA Ready to Take on USC: News and Notes

ATHENS - News and notes for UGA's upcoming game with South Carolina.

Georgia (9-4, 1-0) vs. South Carolina (10-3, 0-0 SEC)

Wednesday, January 4 at 7:00 p.m. ET

Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) in Athens, Ga.

Video: ESPNU (Kevin Fitzgerald, pbp; Sean Farnham, analyst)

Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network by IMG (Scott Howard, PBP; Chuck Dowdle, Color; Tony Schiavone, Producer) Flagship: AM 750 (Atlanta); Sirius: 93; XM; 190

The Starting Five

• UGA leads the all-time series with SC, 58-50, including a 33-16 record in Athens.

• Yante Maten enters the game 10 points shy of becoming Georgia Basketball’s 48th 1,000-point career scorer.

• J.J. Frazier, who scored his 1,000th career point against UNC Asheville on Nov. 14, is now up to No. 27, 34 points from No. 26 and 38 from No. 25.

• Georgia is No. 33 in the Jan. 3 edition of the NCAA RPI, getting there while playing the nation’s 11th-toughest schedule.

• UGA has hit the 20-win plateau the past three years, just the second time in 111 seasons of basketball the Bulldogs have done so. Mark Fox is the first coach to lead UGA to three-straight 20-win efforts. 

Bulldogs Host Gamecocks In First Of two Meetings During 2016-17

The Georgia Bulldogs return to Stegeman Coliseum for the first time in two and a half weeks when they host South Carolina on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Georgia last played at on Dec. 17 before embarking on a three-game road swing that included impressive double-digit wins at Georgia Tech and Auburn.

South Carolina is one of five SEC foes the Bulldogs will face twice this season. The league’s unbalanced schedule presents a challenging slate for Georgia. In the Jan. 3 edition of the NCAA RPI, the Bulldogs’ two-timing foes featured two top-10 – No. 3 Florida, No. 6 Kentucky – and two more top-100 – the No. 53 Gamecocks, No. 78 Auburn – teams. Alabama, currently No. 117, is UGA’s fifth home-and-home opponent this season.

Georgia is 9-4 overall and 1-0 in the SEC. The Bulldogs are No. 33 in the RPI while competing against the nation’s No. 11-ranked strength of schedule according to the NCAA.

Yante Maten currently leads Georgia and ranks No. 2 in the SEC in scoring (20.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg). Maten was named SEC co-Player of the Week on Monday, along with Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe, after scoring a season-high 31 points and grabbing a game-high eight boards at Auburn last Thursday.

J.J. Frazier is contributing 16.0 ppg (No. 8 in the SEC). His team-high averages of 1.8 steals and 4.4 assists per game are fourth- and fifth-best in the SEC, respectively.

Maten, a junior forward, and Frazier, a senior guard, are one of the nation’s most potent inside-outside tandems. Last season, Frazier averaged 16.9 ppg and Maten contributed 16.5 ppg. Individually, that made them the first- and third-leading returning scorers in the SEC. Together, they were the fifth-best forward-guard scoring duo returning to Division I basketball for 2016-17.

South Carolina sports a 10-3 record. Wednesday’s game against Georgia will be the Gamecocks’ SEC opener. Most recently, South Carolina dropped a 70-54 decision at Memphis last Friday.

Sindarius Thornwell is the Gamecocks’ leading scorer and rebounder at 18.7 ppg and 6.7 rpg. He has missed the last six games due to suspension but was reinstated on Monday. PJ Dozier adds 15.3 ppg, while Duane Notice chips in 10.0.

Keeping An Eye On…Entering Today’s Game:

Among UGA’s career Leaders

J.J. Frazier is...

• 34 points from No. 26 Ray Harrison

• 38 points from No. 25 Jacky Dorsey

• 44 points from No. 24 Jimmy Pitts

• 1 3FG from No. 9 Jody Patton

• 13 3FGs from No. 8 Bernard Davis

• 29 3FGAs from No. 7 G.S. Smith

• 11 FTs from No. 8 Terry Fair

• 18 FTs from No. 7 Bob Lienhard

• 21 FTs from No. 6 Sundiata Gaines

• 12 FTAs from No. 16 Fred Edmondson

• 21 FTAs from No. 15 Chris Daniels

Yante Maten is...

• 9 blocks from No. 5 Donte’ Williams

• 15 blocks from No. 4 Dominique Wilkins

• 10 points from becoming UGA’s 48th 1,000-point career scorer

• 17 points from No. 47 Dustin Ware

• 22 points from co-No. 45s Joe Jordan and Fred Edmondson

• 23 points from No. 44 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

• 27 points from No. 43 Allan Johnson

• 28 points from No. 42 Bob Schloss

• 38 points from No. 41 Chris Daniels

Series History With s. Carolina

Georgia currently sports a 58-50 lead in its all-time series with South Carolina, including a 33-16 advantage in games played in Athens.

The Bulldogs notched a trio of victories over the Gamecocks last season, winning 69-56 in Athens on Feb. 2, 74-72 in Columbia on March 3 and 65-64 on March 11 in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.

Most recently, J.J. Frazier’s late-game heroics led Georgia to a comeback win against South Carolina at Bridgestone Arena

With less than 30 seconds remaining, Frazier broke a double team near mid-court and tied the score at 64-64 as time ran down on the shot clock. He then stole the ball on South Carolina’s next possession with 2.1 seconds left, while drawing a foul to earn a shot at the free throw line to win the game. The junior buried his first attempt, securing the win.

Frazier led the Bulldogs with 20 points, while Yante Maten added 17 points and 12 rebounds, his team-leading ninth double-double of the campaign.

South Carolina led 29-26 at the half and pushed that margin to 11 points before the Bulldogs rallied to tie the score at 47-47 with 9:19 remaining. There were four ties and five lead changes in the closing minutes, lastly on Frazier’s free throw to put the Bulldogs on top. He intentionally missed the second attempt, and Charles Mann intercepted a long pass from the Gamecocks as time expired.

Just eight days earlier in Columbia, Kenny Gaines and Frazier scored 20 and 19 points, respectively, to lead the Bulldogs.

In last season’s initial matchup at Stegeman Coliseum, Georgia started quickly and led for nearly 37 minutes en route to a 69-56 upset over then No. 25/23 South Carolina. 

The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick six-point lead after Mann and Gaines hit 3-point baskets on Georgia’s first two possessions of the night. 

The Gamecocks slowly crawled back before eventually grabbing their first lead at the 14:29 mark. The Bulldogs responded with a 9-2 run that would put them on top for the rest of the evening.

South Carolina pulled within a single possession four times in the second half, but Georgia answered on every occasion.

Mann became UGA’s all-time leader in free-throws made during the win. He went 6-of-8 from the line on the evening, giving him 553 makes for his career.

Last Time Out 

The Georgia Bulldogs stormed back in the second half to down the Auburn Tigers 96-84 in the opening night of SEC play last Thursday at Auburn Arena.

Georgia obtained its first lead of the game at the 6:21 mark of the second half on a Yante Maten hook shot to make it 78-76. The basket was the second bucket in a 12-0 run that would give the Bulldogs a commanding 10-point lead. 

Maten poured in a season-high 31 points, notching his third 30-point game of the season and fourth of his career. J.J. Frazier added  27 points, nine coming from the free throw line. Frazier tied his career high of five steals, one of which he transitioned into a breakaway layup in the crucial late 12-0 run.

The Tigers led by as many as 13 points in the first half and by 12 points less than five minutes into the second stanza.

Georgia held the Tigers scoreless for four minutes in the midpoint of the second half while simultaneously going on a 10-0 run to cut the Auburn lead to one point at 68-67. After Auburn broke its dry spell, Georgia’s Jordan Harris completed a three-point play from the foul line to tie the game for the first time since tipoff at 70-70.

Moments later the Bulldogs embarked on their decisive 12-0 surge. 

UGA’s Most...SEC...Success...Ever

Georgia has been winning within the SEC at the Bulldogs’ best rate ever. Over the past four seasons, UGA has:

• Posted its most SEC wins over two- (23), three- (33) and four-season (42) spans.

• Recorded four straight .500 or better league records – the first time in 84 seasons of SEC play UGA has done so;

• Notched three-straight double-figure SEC win totals – another UGA first;

Georgia finished 10-8 in SEC action last season. That followed a 11-7 mark when the Bulldogs tied for third in the SEC in 2014-15, a 12-6 record and tied for second in 2013-14 and a 9-9 effort during 2012-13.

Dogs & Cats League Leaders

Georgia and Kentucky are the only two SEC programs to reach the 20-win mark each of the past three seasons. 

UGA and UK also are the only league teams to post double-digit SEC win totals during each of the past three campaigns.

In addition, the Bulldogs and the Wildcats are the only teams to advance to the semifinals of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 SEC Tournaments. No other SEC team has reached the semis more than once during that span. 

UGA Tops SEC Grad Rate...Again

Georgia received a perfect 100 in the NCAA’s Graduation Success Rate (GSR) data released in November. UGA posted the highest GSR possible for a second straight year.

Georgia and Alabama are the only two SEC programs – and among 39 nationally – to post GSRs of 100 each of the past two years.

Georgia’s GSR has seen dramatic increases during head coach Mark Fox’s tenure, advancing from 36 in 2009-10, to 43 in 2010-11, to 50 in 2011-12, to 63 in 2012-13, to 71 in 2013-14 to 100 in both 2014-15 and 2015-16.

All told, 27 Bulldogs have received UGA diplomas under Fox. That list includes current players Houston Kessler and Juwan Parker, 21 of Fox’s former players and four former letterwinners who returned to earn degrees.

The NCAA introduced the GSR in 2004-05 in response to college and university presidents wanting graduation data that more accurately reflected the mobility among all college students today. The GSR accounts for the academic outcomes of student-athletes who transfer from one institution to another and is based on a six-year cohort prescribed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Maten Earns SEC Honor

Yante Maten was named the SEC Co-Player of the Week on Monday, following his 31-point outburst in the Bulldogs’ 96-84 win at Auburn last Thursday. Maten shared the honor with Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe.

Maten poured a season-best 31 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds in Georgia’s come-from-behind victory over the Tigers. He connected on 10-of-19 shots from the floor, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range, and was 9-of-9 from the free throw line.

Maten played a vital role in the Bulldogs’ rally from a 12-point second-half deficit. After Georgia trailed 64-52 with 15:45 left in the game, Maten scored 17 points during the remainder of the game as Georgia outscored the Tigers 44-20 thereafter. With the score tied 76-76 with 6:22 remaining, Maten scored six points in a decisive 10-0 surge.

Maten Near Millennium Mark 

Yante Maten enters the South Carolina game 10 points shy of becoming the 48th Georgia player to reach 1,000 career points. 

Maten began the year with 722 points, with 562 of those (the No. 18 season single-season mark in UGA history) coming during 2015-16. He has scored 268 points this season. 

Bulldogs have been reaching the millennium mark at a relatively steady clip over the past several seasons. J.J. Frazier’s 3-pointer with 17:57 left in the first half against UNC Asheville on Nov. 14 made him Georgia Basketball’s 47th 1,000-point career scorer.

Frazier has since upped his career scoring tally to 1,196 points. That has pushed him to No. 27 on the Bulldogs’ career scoring leaders ledger. He is now 34 points shy of No. 26 Ray Harrison and 38 from No. 25 Jacky Dorsey. 

Frazier was the seventh Bulldog to top 1,000 points during Mark Fox’s tenure, joining Charles Mann (1,411 points), Trey Thompkins (1,396), Kenny Gaines (1,324), Nemi Djurisic (1,123), Travis Leslie (1,099) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1,013).

Earliest SEC Opener In A While

Last Thursday’s game at Auburn marked the first time Georgia played a December conference game since the Bulldogs opened defense of their 1990 SEC Championship against Vanderbilt on Dec. 11, 1990.

Maten Consistent Performer

Yante Maten, the only SEC player on the watch list for the Karl Malone Award as the nation’s top power forward, has been a model of consistency since the start of last season. 

In 47 games during his sophomore and junior years, Maten has posted double digits in the scoring column 42 times (with 16 20-point and four 30-point outputs), grabbed double-figure rebounds 14 times and posted 13 double-doubles.

Maten had his steak of 27 consecutive games scoring in double figures snapped at Oakland. That string dated back to last season’s Jan. 30 game at No. 17 Baylor. 

32+34=Solid Production at the “5”

Georgia’s tandem No. 32 Mike Edwards and No. 34 Derek Ogbeide is giving the Bulldogs very solid production on the low block. 

To date, the classmates are contributing a double-double at 12.4 points and 10.9 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs. 

Edwards and Ogbeide are combining to log 37.9 minutes per game, primarily manning the ‘5’ spot together. Ogbeide is averaging 7.9 ppg and 6.5 rpg in 19.5 mpg. Edwards is at 4.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 18.4 mpg. 

Frazier Grabs UGA Career FT Mark

J.J. Frazier became Georgia’s career record holder for free throw percentage during the win at Georgia Tech on Dec. 20.

The senior from Glennville, Ga., opened the season at No. 2 among Georgia’s career leaders in free throw efficiency, converting on 81.1728 percent (263-of-324). That trailed only Jerry Eppling’s effort of 82.1561 percent (221-of-269) from 1968-70.

Frazier inched past Eppling with this third of four free throws at Tech. He has now connected on 52-of-57 (91.2 percent) at the stripe this season, which ranks No. 2 in the SEC and No. 21 nationally. That has raised his career percentage to 82.6772 (315-of-381).

Parker Back, Production Up

Juwan Parker has enjoyed a successful return to action after missing the last season and a half with the Achilles injury. 

Parker has started all but one game – he missed the Morehouse contest to rest his Achilles due to soreness – and is currently third on the team in both scoring (8.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg) and second in assists (2.4 apg).  

Those numbers are considerably higher than his career averages entering the year of 4.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 0.9 apg.

In addition, Parker has produced three double-digit scoring outputs in Georgia’s last five games, including a season-high 15 at Oakland. He also has established new career highs for boards (11 vs. George Washington), assists (five vs. George Washington) and minutes (33 vs. UL Lafayette).

Parker started the first 14 games for the Bulldogs’ 2015 NCAA Tournament team before suffering the injury. He played limited minutes in four contests that season but was out all of last year after surgery in the summer of 2015.

Harris Starts, Contributions Up

Jordan Harris moved into the Bulldogs’ starting five against UL Lafayette on Dec. 14. Harris became the 10th Bulldog to start as a freshman during the last six seasons. 

He joined five current teammates on that list – senior Houston Kessler; juniors Yante Maten and Juwan Parker; and sophomores Mike Edwards and Derek Ogbeide.

Harris’ production has seen a considerable jump over the past three outings as outlined below. That span includes career highs for scoring (12 at Auburn), rebounds (four at Georgia Tech), assists (five at Tech) and minutes (29 at Tech).

Jordan Harris’ Production

Span PPG

RPG APG

MPG

First 10 game 4.7

0.7 1.9

11.6

Last 3 games 9.0

2.3 3.3

26.7

One thing that has remained consistent throughout the campaign is Harris’ sharpshooting from 3-point range. He is now 12-of-19 from behind the arc this season, a eye-catching 63.2 percent. In the last three games, Harris is 6-of-10 from 3-point range. 

Turtle For 3…Almost Exclusively

Fourteen of William “Turtle” Jackson’s 19 field goals this season have been 3-pointers. In fact, Jackson’s first 11 made shots from the field came from behind the arc.

Jackson’s 3-point heavy tally is not surprising. Last season, 10 of his 13 field goals were 3-pointers and his shooting percentage was better from beyond (33.3 percent) than overall (28.3 percent).

For his career, 24 of Jackson’s 32 FGs have come from farther than 20-feet, 9-inches from the basket. 

Historic Win Over Jackets

Georgia’s 60-43 win over Georgia Tech on Dec. 20 equaled the Bulldogs’ most decisive road win over Tech since a 55-38 decision on Dec. 6, 1980. To find a larger margin of victory, you have to go back to a 69-13 win on 1/19/09...that being 1909.

Geno Slams Key Against Jackets

Kenny Paul Geno scored all four of his points in emphatic fashion during a span of 58 second-half seconds at Georgia Tech.

Geno slammed home a Yante Maten miss at the 16:57 mark. Jordan Harris found Geno for an uncontested dunk that put the Dogs up 34-24 with 15:59 left. Georgia led by double digits for all but 2:21 of the rest of the way.

Dogs Earn 500th “W” At Stegeman

Georgia’s Dec. 17 win over Charleston Southern represented the Bulldogs’ 500th all-time victory at Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia improved to 500-299 in the arena, which was originally named the “Georgia Coliseum.” The venue was christened on Feb. 22, 1964, when a standing-room-only crowd of 13,200 witnessed the Bulldogs defeat Georgia Tech, 81-68. The first game in the Coliseum actually was the undercard to that contest, an 86-75 win by UGA’s freshman team over its counterparts from Tech.

The Bulldogs went on to finish 3-1 at the Coliseum during the 1963-64 season, posting additional wins over Vanderbilt and Florida State (with a young assistant coach named Hugh Durham on the Seminoles’ bench). 

Georgia is in its 54th full home campaign in the arena. The “Georgia Coliseum” was renamed “Stegeman Coliseum” on March 2, 1996. The namesake is Herman J. Stegeman, who coached basketball, baseball, football and track & field and also served as AD at UGA during his tenure from 1919-39.

Maten Joins Top-10 UGA Swatters

Yante Maten joined Georgia’s career leaders for blocks against Marquette on Dec. 4. Maten not only move into UGA’s top 10, he ascended to No. 8 against the Golden Eagles.

The junior from Pontiac, Mich., is now No. 6 and nine shy of No. 5.

“KPG Light” Lights it Up

Kenny Paul Geno registered a career-best 15 points versus Morehouse on Nov. 30, doing so by making the most field goals (5) and 3-pointers (4) of his career.

Geno was easing back into action after a bout with a stomach ailment him to lose approximately 16 pounds surrounding Georgia’s trip to the CBE Hall of Fame Classic during Thanksgiving week. 

Against George Washington on Nov. 21, Geno registered his first DNP in 46 games – since a broken wrist forced him to miss 11 outings in 2014-15. He played one minute versus Kansas the following night and eight against Gardner-Webb on Nov. 25 before a season-high 22 MP versus the Maroon Tigers.

Freshmen Hit Highs Vs. Morehouse

Freshmen Tyree Crump and Jordan Harris notched their first double-digit scoring games against Morehouse on Nov. 30 with 16 and 11 points, respectively. 

More impressive was the efficiency in which they reached those marks. 

Crump was  4-of-4 from the field, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range, and 6-of-6 at the line. Harris hit 4-of-5 field goals, including a pair of 3s, and made 1-of-2 shots at the line.

All told, 15-of-17 (88.2 percent) shots from the freshmen found the bottom of the net.

Perspective On Maten’s Showing

Yante Maten’s 30 points against No. 5 Kansas in the championship game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic were the most by a Bulldog versus a top-10 team since Jarvis Hayes scored 30 in an 88-84 upset of No. 10 Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Jan. 9, 2002.

Fox Garners Career Victory 250

Mark Fox notched his 250th win in 13 seasons as a head coach with the Bulldogs’ Nov. 14 victory over UNC Asheville.

Fox was 123-43 in five seasons at Nevada. He was 127-104 in his eighth  campaign in Athens when he reached the milestone. 

All told, Fox has produced nine 20-win teams and advanced to the postseason nine times – including four occasions at Georgia – during his head coaching career.

Frazier, Maten On POY Watch List

J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten were on the Lute Olson Award Preseason Watch List. The award is presented to the nation’s top D-I player who has played at least two seasons.

Georgia was the only SEC team and one of only nine nationally to have two players on the list along with Cincinnati, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Oregon, Villanova, Wisconsin and Xavier. 

There were five SEC reps on the 50-player ledger, which also featured Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe, Texas A&M’s Tyler Davis and Arkansas’ Moses Kingsley.

A Potent Inside-Outside Combo

The tandem of junior forward Yante Maten and senior guard J.J. Frazier provides Georgia with one of the college basketball’s most explosive inside-outside combinations. 

A year ago, Frazier and Maten averaged 16.9 and 16.5 points, respectively. That made Frazier the leading returning scorer in the SEC this season...and Maten the league’s third-leading returning point producer.

Their combined 33.4 ppg average during 2015-16 made them the fifth-best returning forward-guard scoring combo in D-I. Frazier and Maten were the most balanced of those the duos.

Bulldogs Travel To Spain

The Bulldogs got an early start on preparations for the 2016-17 campaign with a tour of Spain in August. 

Georgia won a trio of exhibition outings by an average of 26.0 ppg, with associate head coach Philip Pearson and assistants Jonas Hayes and Yasir Rosemond served as head coaches for one game each.

Pearson led UGA in the first matchup, a 65-48 victory over the Madrid All-Stars. Yante Maten paced Georgia with 19 points, while Derek Ogbeide notched a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards.

Under Rosemond, the Bulldogs raced to a 118-70 win over the Valencia All-Stars. Mike Edwards led the way with 20 points. J.J. Frazier added 18 points, and freshman Jordan Harris chipped in 17. 

Georgia wrapped up the trip by beating the Barcelona All-Stars 96-72 under Hayes. Maten again led UGA in scoring with 23 points, while Tyree Crump contributed 20 points and four assists. Ogbeide collected his second double-double in Spain.

A HomeGrown Roster

Nine of the 15 players on Georgia’s 2016-17 roster are Peach State prep products.

That list includes eight of the 14 active players on the Bulldogs’ roster – seniors J.J. Frazier (Faith Baptist Christian Academy), Houston Kessler (Landmark Christian School) and Brandon Young (Marist School); sophomores William “Turtle” Jackson (Athens Christian School), Connor O’Neill (Blessed Trinity Catholic High) and Derek Ogbeide (Pebblebrook High); and freshmen Tyree Crump (Bainbridge High) and Jordan Harris (Seminole County High).

In addition, Christian Harrison, a walk-on transfer from Troy who is sitting out this season, played at Woodward Academy.


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