Georgia used this week to get a freshman some starting experience, give another one some minutes, and get a veteran back into shape.
When it came to winning, and doing so convincingly, it was once again the usual suspects. Especially Yante Maten.
For the eighth time this season, Maten led Georgia in scoring, as his season-high 30 points led the way in an 84-64 rout of Charleston Southern (4-6), record-wise the worst team Georgia (7-3) has faced this season.
– Player of the game: The only person who stopped Maten on Saturday was Mark Fox, the Georgia head coach who wisely kept Maten’s minutes to a minimum, especially in the second half. Maten scored 19 in the first half, and at one point in the second half scored 6 points in less than a minute. But with the game a rout, and an important week coming up, Fox sat Maten for most of the second half. Maten did miss four free throws, preventing him from breaking his career high of 33.
– Stat line of the game: 22 minutes for Maten and 24 for J.J. Frazier, the team’s other top player, who had 14 points on Saturday. It was a good game for Fox to give extensive action to players who need it: Freshman Jordan Harris, who started his second straight game, had a season-high 17 minutes. Fellow freshman Tyree Crump, who had sat out the previous two games, saw 10 minutes. And Juwan Parker, the veteran starting small forward who has been shaking off the rust from his Achilles injury, had 9 rebounds and 6 points.
– Turning point: When the game started. Georgia scored the game’s first seven points, with a Harris block leading to a J.J. Frazier layup to end that stretch. Turtle Jackson, who was benched two games ago in favor of Harris, drained a 3 to make it 14-2. It was a double digit-game pretty much the rest of the way.
– What’s next: Georgia goes to Georgia Tech on Tuesday, in what could be a pivotal must-win situation for the Bulldogs, at least as far as their eventual postseason goals. Having not gotten any big resume’ wins thus far, they can try to make up for it with road wins and avoiding bad losses. The trip to Georgia Tech qualifies in both categories.
– Box score: Maten 30 points and 6 rebounds. Frazier 14 points and 5 assists. Derek Ogbeide 9 points and 5 rebounds. Parker 6 points and 9 rebounds. Harris 5 points and 3 assists. Kenny Paul Geno 5 points and 4 assists. Mike Edwards 3 points and 6 rebounds. Pape Diatta 3 points and 3 assists. Tyree Crump 2 points. E’Torrion Wilridge 2 points. Houston Kessler 2 rebounds. Connor O’Neill 1 rebound.
WHAT THE COACH SAID
“It’s always good to win. We were able to play a bunch of guys tonight, we have a lot of guys get needed experience. Certainly Yante had a big night, but he was bigger than everybody on the court, so he took advantage of his size. But we got him the ball, and played pretty unselfishly, and a pretty complete game for the most part.”
WHAT YANTE MATEN SAID
“I’d prefer to get lower points and get (walk-ons Brandon Young and Connor O’Neill) in. Because I prayed they’d get in today, so they’d get some playing time. Because they deserved it.”