ATLANTA — Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean basked in the moment of historical significance Saturday afternoon, a statistic so sweet he kept it secret until after beating Georgia Tech.
“There was only four seniors in the 113 years of this rivalry that had swept the series, now we had five (today) to make that nine, that’s unbelievable,” Crean said. “Obviously we didn’t put that out, no sense giving anything to the bulletin board, right?
“When I first heard that I said, ‘don’t tell anybody, let’s keep that secret.’ The players knew it, through.”
The Georgia players played like it, too, staving off one Yellow Jackets rally after another, different players raising their games at different times, particularly sophomore Nicolas Claxton (13 points, 13 rebounds).
Crean was proud of the entire time, noting how they battled back after dropping a heartbreaking 76-74 defeat to Arizona State after leading that game by 18 last Saturday.
The Bulldogs (7-4) were up by as many as 16 on Georgia Tech (6-5) and didn’t trail throughout the action.
Still, challenges are ahead for Georgia, with the Bulldogs getting a grueling draw to start the SEC season:
at No. 3 Tennessee (Jan. 5)
Vanderbilt (Jan. 9)
at No. 7 Auburn (Jan. 12)
No. 19 Kentucky (Jan. 15)
Florida (Jan. 19)
at LSU (Jan. 23)
at Arkansas (Jan. 29)
South Carolina (Feb. 2)
at Alabama (Feb. 6)
Ole Miss (Feb. 9)
“The Ken Pom (ratings) have us going 0-10 to start the SEC, right?” Crean said. “I mean, when you base it on numbers, so what do I know?”
Georgia ranked 113th in the Pomeroy Ratings (KenPom.com) following its win over Georgia Tech (103rd).
The Bulldogs return to action at 6 p.m. on Dec. 30 against UMass (TV: SEC Network). The Minutemen are 7-5 and No. 140 in the Pomeroy Ratings.
The five current Georgia seniors who have never lost to Georgia Tech — Derek Ogbeide, Mike Edwards, E’Torrion Wilridge, William “Turtle” Jackson and Connor O’Neill — joined the four before them: James Banks and Vern Fleming (1980-84) and Gerald Crosby and Richard Corhen (1981-85).
Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean