STARKVILLE, MS - January 12, 2022 - Jabri Abdur-Rahim (#1) of the Georgia Bulldogs during the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, MS. Photo By Austin Perryman
Austin Perryman

Georgia basketball aims to earn first SEC win against Vanderbilt Saturday

Georgia basketball will try to win its first SEC game against Vanderbilt at 6 p.m. Saturday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

The Bulldogs (5-11, 0-3 SEC) will welcome the Commodores (9-6, 1-2) to Athens after a two-game road trip resulting in double-digit losses to Kentucky and Mississippi State. Georgia played very well in the first halves of both games before falling behind in the final 20 minutes.

The Bulldogs led No. 16-ranked Kentucky for some of the first half and trailed the Wildcats by just 3 at halftime in an eventual 92-77 defeat. Georgia led the Maroon Bulldogs at intermission before taking an 88-72 loss.

“We have a lot of games where we have really good halves and a lot of 30-minute spurts, and then the last 10 in the middle of the game, a 10-minute spurt, where we don’t have that same mentality – that same concentration,” Noah Baumann said. “We’ve just got to put a 40-minute game together, and we can win these games.”

Baumann has started the last seven games in place of Jailyn Ingram, who tore his ACL against Jacksonville in early December. The USC transfer is averaging over 14 points per game and has shot 25 of 50 from 3-point range in that time span.

Kario Oquendo has been aflame for Georgia as well, averaging over 23 points and 6 rebounds per game, including a season-high 28-point performance against Mississippi State in Georgia’s last outing.

“I think all of his games are still developing and he is starting to really get a confidence.”

“You watch him progress from game one to where he is today and he’s getting more comfortable and being more explosive and playing off two feet instead of one so he has more power,” said UGA coach Steve McClain. “So there is no question that we saw it coming.

“I think all of his games are still developing and he is starting to really get a confidence.”

McClain says the key to stopping the Commodores will be slowing down star guard Scotty Pippen Jr. Pippen, the son of former Chicago Bulls great Scotty Pippen, leads Vanderbilt in points (19.2), assists (2.9), and steals (1.7) per game.

“Well, if you have watched Vanderbilt and watched Coach (Jerry) Stackhouse’s teams, they run a lot of things,” McClain said. “When you are breaking down a team of what you’ve got to cover, they give you a lot of things to cover. At the end of the day, it starts with Scotty Pippen Jr.

Georgia, 56-91 against Vanderbilt all-time, is a 5-point underdog.

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