The Georgia men’s basketball team hosted Gardner-Webb at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. (Photo by Jack Casey)
Jack Casey

Georgia basketball tips off SEC play against Texas A&M Tuesday night

ATHENS – Georgia basketball will begin SEC play against a tough Texas A&M squad at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

The Aggies (11-2) will pull into Athens with a four-game win streak and two marquee wins over Butler and Notre Dame in late November. The Bulldogs (5-8), on the other hand, are losers of three of their last four.

“(Texas A&M coach) Buzz (Williams) is a tough guy and he coaches a really tough team,” said UGA coach Tom Crean. “They are very aggressive and their veterans are really playing like it.

“He’s always got a good defense and they are going to bring pressure and mix defenses, but this would appear to me to be the best offense and the best movement on offense he’s had in his time there.”

Williams was an assistant coach for Crean at Marquette before taking the reins of the program in 2008 when Crean left for Indiana.

Texas A&M is averaging 88 points per game since its loss to TCU on December 11. The Aggies have only allowed 61 points per game over that time.

Georgia will look to rebound from its 77-60 loss to Gardner-Webb last Wednesday. The Bulldogs have managed to keep spirits high in practice between games despite their recent frustrations.

“Coming off some tough losses, a 17-point loss to Gardner-Webb, you’d think that we’d be kind of down,” Jaxon Etter said. “We had a players-only meeting that lasted about an hour and a half where guys were brutally honest with each other. It helped people out. We were kind of negative going into that meeting, and the meeting just lit a spark.”

Etter, who missed Georgia’s last contest with back spasms after starting its last two games, says he is waking up with no pain and will be available to play Tuesday night.

“Right now we just need confidence and to see some belief,” Crean said. “We’re not going to see it just yet, but we’re going to walk in with it.”

Crean also believes his team needs to be much cleaner with the ball than they were last year in SEC play.

“We can’t be giving gifts of turnovers,” he said. “Last year, we turned it over 17 times but we also created 17 turnovers, we can’t do that. This team is not there yet to create that level of turnovers, so we can’t be giving it back like that.”

Georgia, 5-5 all-time against the Aggies, is a 6-point underdog. The Bulldogs are 3-2 against Texas A&M at home all-time.

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