Seton Hall got some revenge against Georgia on Saturday night in men’s basketball.
Seton Hall held on to defeat the Georgia 69-62 in a back-and-forth non-conference matchup in New Jersey, avenging last year’s 65-47 loss to the Bulldogs in Athens, Ga.
“We got beat on the glass,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “And we got beat at the free throw line. You cannot lose in those two areas and win on the road.”
The Bulldogs (2-2) were outrebounded 34 to 31, and attempted nine fewer free throws than the Pirates. Despite this, Georgia trailed by as little as one point in the final three minutes. However, Seton Hall sophomore Isaiah Whitehead proved to be too much for the Bulldogs.
The guard scored 22 points – nine of which came in the game’s final two and a half minutes – including a bomb from well beyond the 3-point line with 29 seconds remaining that effectively iced the victory for the Pirates.
Yante Maten led Georgia with a career-high 21 points. The sophomore forward’s eight rebounds and 11 free-throw attempts also team highs.
Here are five observations from Saturday:
1. Minimal Gaines: Georgia senior Kenny Gaines put up eight points in the game’s first 11 minutes, but was slowed down by foul trouble. Because of this, the SEC’s reigning Co-Player of the Week spent the last four minutes of the half on the bench. Though Gaines returned in the second half, he lost some of his early touch. The streaky Gaines didn’t score again until less than five minutes remained and finished with 13 points, almost seven points below his season average.
2. Leaving the dead to rest: After scoring only 49 points in a narrow win over High Point earlier this week, Fox remarked that James Naismith, the founder of basketball, “rolled over in his grave.” On Saturday, perhaps for fear of awaking Naismith again, Georgia’s offense showed up in a more efficient fashion. The Bulldogs shot nearly 50 percent from the field against Seton Hall, well above its season average of 37.6 percent coming into the day. “We shot a good percentage from the field, but we just couldn’t get stops,” Fox said. “Although we held them to 39 percent, we got out-rebounded in the second half. They got to the line more than we did.”
3. Amazing Maten: Seton Hall possessed a size advantage with seven players on roster listed at 6-foot-7 or taller, especially with 6-8 Georgia freshman forward Derek Ogbeide still sidelined with a shoulder injury. Despite this, the 6-8 Maten found scoring lanes. Ten of Maten’s 21 points came off mid- and long-range jumpers, something that worked because of the willingness of Georgia’s guards to drive into the paint and dish to Maten who broke open on the outside.
4. Free throw shooting improves: You can’t blame the loss free throw woes this time. There weren’t enough opportunities for that to be the case. In the team’s season-opening loss to Chattanooga, Georgia shooters combined to miss 17 free throws. Saturday, the Bulldogs finished 12-for-18 on foul shots. All 18 attempts came in the second half after the Bulldogs couldn’t find their way to the stripe in the first half.
5. No place like home: Saturday’s loss made it five seasons in a row the Bulldogs lost their road opener. Georgia’s last road-opener victory came on Nov. 20, 2010, a 61-59 win over Saint Louis. Luckily for the Bulldogs, the team plays just one more non-conference road game, a matchup against Baylor in Waco, Texas on Jan. 30.
— By Nick Suss, Special to the AJC and DawgNation