ATHENS — Georgia basketball plans to keep its streak against rival Georgia Tech intact, looking for what would be a sixth-straight win over the Yellow Jackets at 9 o’clock on Friday night.
Fourth-year UGA coach Tom Crean, who’s 2-0 against Georgia Tech, said the Bulldogs (2-1) are counting on the fans to help make Stegeman Coliseum a home court advantage against the Yellow Jackets (2-1).
Georgia, which hasn’t lost to the Yellow Jackets since 2014, is a 4-point home underdog to Georgia Tech
“I like a 9 o’clock start if it’s packed, that’s the bottom line, I think our fans will be excited,” said Crean, who’s also trying for his 400th career win between his head coaching tenures at Marquette, Indiana and Georgia.
“When you look at how packed this town is on a Friday night when we’ve had other noon games, it shouldn’t make a difference.”
Georgia has 10 newcomers, but two of them played their high school basketball in the Peach State and understand the dynamics of the basketball rivalry.
“I know this game means a lot to everybody - whether it’s football, basketball, baseball,” said Braelen Bridges, who played his high school basketball at Union Grove High School in Metro Atlanta before his career at UIC and now UGA. “I know this rivalry has been going on for a very long time and I know winning means a lot.”
The 6-foot-11 Bridges will have much to do with the result, as he leads Georgia with 16 points and 8 rebounds per game through the first three outings.
Jailyn Ingram, a 6-7 transfer from Florida Atlantic who played his high school basketball 30 minutes from Athens at Morgan County High School, also understands the rivalry.
“I came to the games when I was young, so I have a sense of the rivalry,” said Ingram, who’s scoring 8 points per game and ranks second on the team in rebounding and assists.
Ingram’s cousin is B.J. Elder, a former Georgia Tech star who now serves as associate director of player personnel for the Yellow Jackets.
“Obviously he was one of the most well-known basketball players out of my hometown, Madison, Georgia,” Ingram said. “Growing up, we just heard a lot of stories about him and what he did at Tech.”
And now it’s Ingram’s turn to take his place in local basketball folklore as he caps his career at Georgia looking to continue the Bulldogs’ in-state dominance.
Georgia and Georgia Tech did not play last season because the teams could not work out a scheduling date amid the COVID pandemic.
The Bulldogs won the most recent meeting, 82-78 in Athens two years ago, behind Rayshaun Hammonds’ 26-point effort.
Anthony “Antman” Edwards scored 14 of his 18 points in the final 14 1/2 minutes to ensure the win.
Edwards, of course, was the NBA’s No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and how stars with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Georgia’s Braelen Bridges, Jailyn Ingram and Tom Crean preview the Georgia Tech game