ATLANTA – Georgia’s two best players had perhaps their worst games of the season. So did a third starter. And the game overall was not a great advertisement for either team.
For all those reasons, however, it was an encouraging night for Georgia, which found a way to win – and comfortably – on off nights from its best players. And by beating Georgia Tech, 60-43, the Bulldogs knocked off their in-state rival for the second straight year, the first time it’s done that since 2009-10.
When it ended, Georgia players raised a Georgia flag on Georgia Tech’s home floor, posing for pictures to celebrate. The last time Georgia won by more at Georgia Tech was more than a century ago: The 1908-09 season. (Georgia also won by 17 at Georgia Tech in 1981.)
And more germane to this season: Georgia (8-3) got a road win to add to their resume’, and avoided adding a bad loss to it.
“An ACC game on the road, it’s a big game for our resume’. And we dropped the firsts one on the year (at Clemson),” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “So it was a big game for our team.”
It was the least points Georgia Tech has scored against Georgia since 1982. It was the least amount of points a Georgia opponent has scored since 2012, when George Washington managed just 41 points.
– Player of the game: Derek Ogbeide lifted Georgia in the first half, notching 10 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. That helped overcome the first-half struggles of Yante Maten (5 points), J.J. Frazier (4 points) and Juwan Parker (4 points), who combined to shoot 4-for-19 from the field over the first 20 minutes.
“I told him at halftime: Way to carry us,” Maten said of Ogbeide. “Because he did a lot more than just rebound. He was blocking, scoring, he was doing the whole job. I was real proud of him, because he took a big step today.”
Maten and Frazier, the team’s two best players, picked it up in the second half as the Bulldogs pulled away. (Freshman Jordan Harris, starting his third straight game, also had a pair of early 3s to help Georgia.)
“When you can win and your best players aren’t great, that’s a positive step,” Fox said.
– Stat line of the game: It’s hard to choose among the stats that exemplify the offensive ineptitude. The 3-point shooting: Georgia was 3-for-18 and Georgia Tech was 1-for-9. Or the combined 35 percent shooting from the field. But how about this: The 10 points from Georgia Tech’s Ben Lammers was a team-high.
– Turning point: Georgia’s early lead had been whittled to three, and Frazier picked up his second foul with 2:41 left in the first half. At first Mark Fox sent someone to go replace Frazier, then changed his mind and left him in. Frazier made the move pay off, stealing a pass at mid-court and going for a breakaway layup. That started an 8-2 run to finish the half, giving Georgia a nine-point lead.
– What’s next: Another road test for Georgia, which goes to Oakland (Mich.), which is off to a 9-1 start, though against not exactly the nation’s toughest schedule. (Oakland’s strength of schedule rank is 343, out of 351 teams, according to CBSsports.com on Tuesday.)
– Box score: Maten 16 points and 7 rebounds. Frazier 15 points and 2 assists. Ogbeide 11 points and 7 rebounds. Harris 6 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds, Parker 6 points and 6 rebounds, Kenny Paul Geno 4 points and 2 rebounds. Turtle Jackson 2 points. Tyree Crump 1 assist. Pape Diatta 2 rebounds. Houston Kessler 3 rebounds. Mike Edwards 3 rebounds.
WHAT THE COACH SAID
“We’ve been talking within our team that eventually Yante’s going to have an off night. Now you have to give Tech credit for Yante not having a great first half. But we knew that we had more guys on our team, and Derek seized the opportunity in the first half, and was a really key part of us having the lead at halftime.” – Fox