KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Georgia Bulldogs got late contributions from two unlikely characters and held on to beat George Washington 81-73 in the semifinals of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic here at the Sprint Center Monday night.
With Yante Maten fouled out, Derek Ogbeide and Pape Diata made the plays Georgia needed to win with offensive rebounds and putbacks in the final seconds. Diata’s three-point play with 35.5 seconds remaining sealed the victory for the Bulldogs. He finished with 6 points and 5 rebounds in 20 minutes of play. Ogbeide matched his career high with 11 points and added 8 boards.
With the win Georgia (3-1) advances to the finals to face No. 8 Kansas, which beat UAB 83-63. It was George Washington’s (3-1) first loss of the year.
It was the type of quality win for which Georgia has been longing. The Colonials came in 17-9 versus power conferences since 2013-14 and beat Florida in the NIT quarterfinals last year on the way to the NIT championship.
Player(s) of the game: Pape Diate, Derek Ogbeide
Things looked precarious for Georgia when leading scorer Yante Maten (21.7 ppg) fouled out with 3:36 to play and the Bulldogs holding a slim lead. But have no fear, Diata and Ogbeide are here. With Georgia ahead by three with a minute to play, Ogbeide pulled down an offensive rebound but missed the put-back. Then Diata grabbed the carom, made a put-back and was fouled on the play. His free throw gave the Dogs a six-point lead with 35.5 seconds to play.
Turning point: 10-1 Dogs’ run
The Bulldogs trailed by two, 57-55, at the 11:52 mark of the second half when they came out firing on all cylinders after a timeout. J.J. Frazier’s 3-pointer started a 10-1 run that included a three-point play by Juwan Parker, two free throws from Maten and a dunk by Ogbeide. Georgia would never relinquish the resulting seven-point lead with 9 minutes to play.
Lineup notes: Turtle gets the nod
For the third straight game, sophomore William “Turtle” Jackson got the start alongside Frazier in the backcourt. He had scored only two points in that role the previous two games but tripled that with 3s early in each half. He finished with 6 points.
Off the court: Schlagle ‘Bulldogs’ & Conley
George Washington brought its pep band all the way from Washington, D.C., but Georgia didn’t bring its musicians from Athens. No worries. The CBE Hall of Fame Classic organizers brought in the Stallions from Schlagle High, a public school from right here in Kansas City. Their normal colors are blue and gold, but they were decked out in red and black Monday and even played UGA’s school songs, though a little off key. “We’re the Stallions but we’re the Dogs tonight, all the way down to our shoelaces,” said band director Reginald May. … Also, former Bulldog and current Kansas City Chiefs WR Chris Conley was in attendance. He had four catches Sunday.
What’s next: Kansas
For their trouble, the Bulldogs will get a date with one of the most decorated and storied basketball programs in the land. Kansas University makes its home just 42 miles east of the Sprint Center, and that was evident by the blue and red contingent that filled the arena by the end of Georgia’s game. The No. 8 Jayhawks’ only loss this year was to Indiana in the season opener.
What Coach Mark Fox Said: Come on, KU
“I hold a degree from Kansas University. The only time I don’t want them to win is when they play my team.” — Fox, a native Kansan who has a graduate degree from KU.
Georgia: Yante Maten 18 points, 6 rebounds; J.J. Frazier 18, 5 rebounds, 3 assists; Derek Ogbeide 11 points, 8 rebounds; Juwan Parker 9 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists; Mike Edwards 8 points; Pape Diata 6 points, 5 rebounds; Turtle Jackson 6 points. Georgia 39 rebounds to 30.
George Washington: Tyler Cavanaugh 21 points, 6 rebounds; Matt Hart 17 points; Yuta Watanabe 14 points; Patrick Steeves 8 points. 10 of 24 (41.7 percent) from 3 -point range.