CLEMSON, S.C. — Mark Fox was visibly frustrated after his Georgia team once again struggled in a season opener. And he didn’t spare himself from criticism.
“I wouldn’t give anyone on our team, or our coach, a really high grade tonight,” Fox said, after his team fell behind early and ended up falling 74-64 at Clemson.
Georgia lost its third straight season opener. This after rolling in an exhibition win over Fort Valley State and by all accounts playing well in a closed scrimmage against Xavier.
“We played 700 times better in our scrimmage than this,” Fox said. “We played better in our exhibition game than this. We weren’t tough enough to come play on the road. I didn’t have us prepared to do that. I didn’t have us prepared to play on the road. We’ve got to have a better mental toughness about it.”
J.J. Frazier, a preseason first-team All-SEC selection, was held to 11 points, and only three in the first half. The senior point guard also had a harsh assessment of his game.
“I’m more frustrated with myself more than anything,” Frazier said. “I didn’t play well. My team goes, I go. I didn’t play well, so that’s why the score is the way it is, that’s why the result is the way it is. Coach put me in a position where I wanted to be, with the ball, and my guys executed, and I didn’t make the plays that were necessary for us to win.”
Yante Maten, who led the team with 19 points and 11 rebounds, maintained that the Bulldogs should still have a good season, and just had a bad start.
“We felt really prepared, confident in our team. We still are confident in our team. We feel we have one of the better teams that I’ve played with so far,” Maten said. “But we didn’t come out here and get it done. We didn’t make those stops and rebounds. That really shifted the game. …
“We played better basketball, we’ve been playing better basketball. We just didn’t show it tonight, which was sad.”
A few more postgame comments:
- Fox on why freshman guard Tyree Crump (two points) didn’t come in earlier, with the offense struggling: “He hasn’t made a basket that counted until tonight. He’s got a lot to learn. And you’ve got to play at both ends. He’s going to be a good player.”
- Frazier on what Clemson did against him: “They smothered me a lot. But that was to be expected going into the game. We figured that’s how they were going to play me. And I got the shots that I’ve been working on and I knew I was going to have. And I just missed them.”
- Fox on the same subject: “I thought he guarded himself really well too. I thought he had some bad attempts. He’s got to play better than that. He’s a senior guard. He’s got to control possessions better than he did tonight.”
- Regarding the sluggish offense to start the game, Fox added: “I was very disappointed with the poise we showed. Because our first call out of the gate we didn’t run right. … Our offense went backwards. I mean we set the game back with our lack of poise, and inability to really get done what we needed to get done on the block.”