Feb. 7, 2014
About the Game
- Georgia plays host to Texas A&M in a Saturday evening contest at Stegeman Coliseum. The Bulldogs return to their home court barely 48 hours removed from a 91-78 victory over LSU. The win stopped a 3-game losing streak and improved Georgia's overall record to 11-10, 5-4 in SEC play.
- Highlights from the LSU game included: the second double-double of Marcus Thornton's career (15 pts, 10 rebs.); a 17-point night from reserve Nemi Djurisic, who also chipped in six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 30 minutes' work; key contributions from fellow reserves Cameron Forte (5 pts, 3 assists in 10 minutes) and J.J. Frazier (8 pts in just 9 minutes).
- The Bulldogs shot a season-best 60 percent from the field against LSU, 65 percent in the second half. Their strategy of attacking the rim, as well as LSU's attempts to stop the late-game clock, resulted in a statistical oddity. Georgia ended up trying more free throws (46) than field goals (45). Regardless, the Bulldogs cracked the 90-point mark for the second time in conference play, the first time that's happened since 1995.
- Georgia entered the weekend as one of four SEC teams tied for fourth place in the standings. The Bulldogs' 5-4 mark is identical to their record at the halfway mark of the league schedule in 2013. That team finished at 9-9.
- Saturday's game is just the third all-time meeting between Georgia and Texas A&M. These two programs had never met before last season, when Georgia swept the regular season series in a pair of low-scoring affairs: 59-52 on Jan. 26 in College Station and 52-46 in Athens just two weeks later.
- Georgia's next victory will be a personal milestone for Bulldog head coach Mark Fox. Now in his 10th season as a collegiate head coach, Fox will get career win No. 200 the next time his current Bulldog squad claims victory.
|F||2||Marcus Thornton**||6-8||235||RJr.||Atlanta, Ga.||7.8||6.0|
|F||15||Donte' Williams***||6-9||225||Sr.||Ellenwood, Ga.||5.5||5.0|
|F||31||Brandon Morris||6-7||215||So.||Lithonia, Ga.||9.5||3.6|
|G||4||Charles Mann*||6-5||210||So.||Alpharetta, Ga.||13.7||3.0#|
|G||12||Kenny Gaines*||6-3||195||So.||Atlanta, Ga.||11.7||2.5|
#Assists Per Game
|TEXAS A&M AGGIES|
|F||23||Jamal Jones||6-8||197||Jr.||Wynne, Ark.||11.8||3.9|
|F||14||Kourtney Roberson||6-9||244||Jr.||Arcadia, La.||9.7||6.9|
|G||21||Alex Caruso||6-5||183||So.||College Station, Texas||8.3||4.8#|
|G||2||Shawn Smith||6-4||192||RFr.||Jacksonville, Fla.||5.9||3.1|
|G||5||Jordan Green||6-5||188||Jr.||Flower Mound, Texas||6.9||2.4|
#Assists Per GameHead Coach: Billy Kennedy
Record at Texas A&M / Years: 45-42 / 3rd season
Overall Record / Years: 256-221 / 16th season
Assistant Coaches: Glynn Cyprien, Kyle Keller, John Reese
Georgia vs. Texas A&M
Saturday's game is just the third all-time meeting between these two programs.
Georgia and Texas A&M had never met before last season, when they played a home-and-home series during conference play.
Georgia swept the series last season, winning first in College Station 59-52 on Jan. 26 and taking the return game in Athens 52-46 two weeks later. Those two victories bookended the Bulldogs' first 5-game SEC winning streak since the 2001 season.
> Georgia's win over LSU was its fourth this season over an RPI Top 100 opponent. Those wins include: Missouri, Arkansas, LSU and Alabama, although Alabama's current rating has fallen beyond the 100 mark.
> Kenny Gaines is Georgia's leading scorer in its 11 wins (12.3 ppg). Charles Mann, UGA's leading scorer overall, leads Georgia in its 10 losses (15.4 ppg) but has only the No. 2 average in its 10 wins (11.9 ppg).
> When Georgia has won, its opponents have shot 37 percent overall, 34 percent from 3-point range. When the Bulldogs have lost, those percentages rise to 45 and 40 percent, respectively. In their recent 3-game losing streak, the opponents combined to shoot 46 percent overall, 43 percent from beyond the arc.
> Not surprisingly, Georgia wins the free throw-shooting competition when it wins the game. The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents by an average of 22-14 in their 11 wins. Conversely, their opponents have won that battle by a 22-16 in Georgia's eight losses.
About the Schedule
Conference expansion manifests itself in many strange ways, not the least of which occurs in scheduling. Georgia fans noticed this oddity most recently as their football team has traveled to Auburn in consecutive seasons.
This season their basketball team will experience one of the oddest quirks to its schedule in years. Kentucky will not travel to Athens for a game this season for the first time since the 1962-63 season. Same for Tennessee. For Florida, which also won't play a game in Athens this season, the last time it didn't play in Athens was in 1961-62. The Gators are the most frequent opponent in UGA hoops history.
It took a World War to keep all three schools out of Athens together in the same season the last time. Not since the 1943-44 season -- when Georgia dotted its schedule with random groups like Lawson General Hospital and Robins Airfield -- has this phenomenon occurred.
Georgia and the SEC
Following are a few tidbits about Georgia's history in the SEC:
Georgia's all-time record in SEC games, covering 80 years, is 503-736 (.406). That ranks 10th of 12 SEC members (excluding Missouri and Texas A&M).
Georgia can claim one SEC regular-season championship (1990), one regular-season divisional title (2002) and two SEC Tournament crowns (1983, 2008).
Georgia has had just two AP SEC Player of the Year: Dominique Wilkins in 1981 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope last season. Other superlative post-season awards include Coaches' SEC Defensive Player of the Year (Rashad Wright in 2004), AP SEC Newcomer of the Year (Jarvis Hayes in 2002), and Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Dave Bliss in 2008).
Wilkins was the first of four Georgia players to lead the SEC in scoring at season's end. He averaged a league-best 23.6 points per game in 1981. Others to follow him have been Vern Fleming (19.8 ppg in 1984), Jumaine Jones (18.8 ppg in 1999) and Jarvis Hayes (18.6 ppg in 2002).
Georgia has an all-time SEC Tournament record of 40-51. The 2008 tourney marked the first time since 1997 that Georgia has reached the finals.
Staff Changes for 2014
For the first time of his 4+ seasons in Athens, head coach Mark Fox made changes to his immediate coaching staff. Three-year UGA letterman (2002-04) Jonas Hayes was promoted from Operations Coordinator to Assistant Coach. A native Atlantan, Hayes returned to UGA in 2012 after serving as an Assistant Coach at Belmont Abbey in North Carolina for five seasons. He had also assisted the programs at South Carolina State, Morehouse and his alma mater, Douglass High School, after graduating from UGA in 2004.
Hayes, whose twin brother Jarvis continues to play professionally overseas, became the first Georgia basketball alumnus to hold a full-time assistant's position on the staff at his alma mater since Mark Slonaker assisted Hugh Durham from 1989-95.
To replace Hayes in the Coordinator's position, Fox hired Byron Samuels in May of 2013. The Winston-Salem, N.C., native, is a veteran of the collegiate ranks whose career includes head coaching stops at Hampton, Radford and, most lastly, at Hillsborough Community College, where he coached recent UGA alum John Florveus. Samuels is a veteran of SEC basketball, having assisted four Tennessee teams that earned NCAA Tournament berths.
Fox Best at Molding Talent
Blogger and hoops junkie Dan Hanner of RealGM.com penned an article in February of 2012 that anointed Georgia head coach Mark Fox as the top coach in college basketball at player development. Hanner used a complex formula to rate college coaches. Among Hanner's many observations he writes, "Mark Fox has truly been fantastic at getting the most out of his players."
The top five in the Player Development category include Fox; Bo Ryan (Wisconsin); Craig Robinson (Oregon State); Lorenzo Romar (Washington); and Mike Montgomery (Cal).
Perhaps the most tangible proof of Fox's talent development is the number of NBA draftees and current pros that have played for him. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope became the 11th player under his tutelage to get drafted by an NBA club. He was the fourth 1st-rounder.
Fox Also Tops at Producing Grads
Head Coach Mark Fox must also receive some degree of credit for developing high-performing students in the classroom. Since his arrival in April of 2009, no fewer than 14 Georgia basketball players have earned their undergraduate degrees. Every player that has exhausted his eligibility at UGA under Fox has completed his degree.
Prominent among this group of 14 includes Damien Wilkins - nephew of UGA great Dominique Wilkins - whose last year of eligibility came in 2004 and who has played professionally in the NBA ever since.
Last summer the Georgia program was recognized by the NCAA for its Academic Progress Rate (APR) scored of 990, which ranked among the top 10 percent of all men's basketball programs.