Feb. 21, 2014
About the Game
- Georgia and South Carolina complete the regular-season series between the two in a Saturday afternoon contest in Columbia. They meet 4 1/2 weeks after their first encounter, a 97-77 Georgia victory on Jan. 22 in Athens.
- The Bulldogs arrive at this game with a 14-11 overall record, 8-5 in SEC games. They remain alone in third place in the SEC standings, despite a 67-48 loss at Tennessee in their most recent outing. Against Tennessee, Georgia got a team-high 13 points from Kenny Gaines and a season-best 12 points from reserve guard J.J. Frazier. The Bulldogs, however, recorded season lows in scoring, second-half scoring, free throws and free-throw attempts. Their leader in the latter categories, point guard Charles Mann, entered the game averaging over 10 free throw attempts per game in SEC play. He toed the line just twice against the Vols.
- Saturday's game is the 102nd all-time meeting between Georgia and South Carolina in basketball. Georgia holds a 53-48 lead in the series. The Bulldogs have won four straight in the series and six of the past seven meetings. Georgia's win in Athens over USC on Jan. 22 marked the program's highest scoring total in a conference game since 2011. Several other milestones, all related to the steady stream of fouls called, were within reach in this game. Georgia tied a school record with 50 free-throw attempts. The combined 86 attempts were the most in a Georgia game since a 1997 contest with Kentucky (90 att.). The combined 59 fouls were the most since a UGA-Auburn game from 2007.
- Georgia enters this final 5-game stretch with an opportunity to sweep the regular-season series in each one. Next up is a Tuesday night matchup at home against Missouri, which it defeated 70-68 in overtime at Columbia to open the SEC schedule.
|F||2||Marcus Thornton**||6-8||235||RJr.||Atlanta, Ga.||7.6||6.1|
|F||15||Donte' Williams***||6-9||225||Sr.||Ellenwood, Ga.||5.8||5.5|
|F||31||Brandon Morris||6-7||215||So.||Lithonia, Ga.||9.1||3.7|
|G||4||Charles Mann*||6-5||210||So.||Alpharetta, Ga.||13.9||3.0#|
|G||12||Kenny Gaines*||6-3||195||So.||Atlanta, Ga.||12.0||2.5|
#Assists Per Game
|SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS|
|G||0||Sindarius Thornwell||6-5||206||Fr.||Lancaster, S.C.||13.7||4.0|
|G||1||Brenton Williams||5-11||172||Sr.||Kissimmee, Fla.||14.2||1.9|
|G||10||Duane Notice||6-2||221||Fr.||Woodbridge, Ontario||7.7||2.8|
|F||24||Michael Carrera||6-5||214||So.||Anzoategui, Venezuela||6.7||5.2|
|F||25||Mindaugas Kacinas||6-7||210||So.||Klaipedia, Lithuania||5.1||4.8|
#Assists Per GameHead Coach: Frank Martin
Record at South Carolina / Years: 23-34 / 2nd season
Overall Record / Years: 140-88 / 7th season
Assistant Coaches: Matt Figger (Assoc. HC), Perry Clark, Lamont Evans
Georgia vs. South Carolina
Saturday's game is the 102nd all-time meeting between Georgia and South Carolina in basketball. Georgia holds a 53-48 lead in the series.
Georgia is 7-2 versus South Carolina under head coach Mark Fox.
In the 21 years of divisional play (1992-2011), Georgia and South Carolina split their regular-season games evenly at 21 apiece. That includes regular-season sweeps by Georgia (1994, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2011) and by Carolina (1998, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2009).
Just once have these two teams met in the post-season SEC Tournament. That occurred in the 1997 tourney in Memphis, where Georgia won a semifinal matchup, 78-63.
Before 1992, these two schools were annual opponents -- mostly once a year, other times twice and occasionally thrice -- from 1938 until 1964.
Georgia has won seven of its last eight match-ups with the Gamecocks dating back to 2/7/09.
A geographical breakdown of the series follows:
Games in Athens: UGA leads 32-15
Games in Columbia: USC leads 30-17
Neutral Court Games: UGA leads 4-3
- Now that senior Donte' Williams was replaced in the starting lineup Feb. 1 at Auburn, Georgia has no single player that has started all 24 games. The Bulldogs have just three players that have played in all 24 (Williams, Thornton and Djurisic). Kenny Gaines is the team's only player to have started every game for which he's been available (22 for 22).
- Georgia's next victory will give the Bulldogs 15 for the season, nine in SEC play, matching last season's totals for both, which were accrued over a 32-game schedule. The 2013 squad went 15-17 overall, 9-9 in SEC games.
- What didn't happen at Tennessee on Tuesday that had gotten Georgia to that point? Two things primarily: the Bulldogs were outrebounded for the first time of the SEC schedule (30-37), and they shot just 11 free throws, 21 below their average in SEC games.
- Charles Mann's knack for frequent trips to the free-throw line is no secret. As a freshman last season, he had the fifth most free-throw attempts of any SEC player (170). He surpassed that mark in the season's 22nd game, and this year he's second in the SEC in that category behind Auburn's Chris Denson. He currently averages 8.5 free tosses per game, up from 5.3 tries last year. In SEC games, he averages 9.7 free throw attempts.
- Mann's free-throw frequency leads an impressive showing by the entire Georgia team, which ranks 31st nationally in total FT attempts. Only Kentucky among SEC teams ranks higher. The Bulldogs are 46th among all 351 D1 teams in total free throws made. Through the 13-game SEC schedule, Georgia leads the league by a wide margin in free-throw attempts, having tried 396 foul shots (32.1/game). Missouri ranks 2nd with 352 attempts (27.1/game). The Bulldogs also lead, though by a lesser margin, in free throws made with 273 (22.1/game).
- Georgia has shot over 60 percent in the second half on five occasions this season, including three of their last five SEC wins. The Bulldogs shot 73.9 percent in the second half last week at Mississippi State, the program's best-shooting half since 2001. Overall, Georgia shot 54.3 percent at State, even after missing its first eight shots.
- Through 12 conference games, Georgia ranks 4th in the SEC in scoring margin at +2.2. an amazing number considering that the Bulldogs count a 22-point loss at Florida and a 25-point defeat at Kentucky among their totals. The first three of their current 4-game win streak, however, came by double digits, the first such streak since the 1998 season.
- Amidst their up-and-down performance on offense and defense, the Bulldogs' one constant in SEC play has been their rebounding. Georgia has outrebounded 11 of its 13 league opponents thus far. The two exceptions? Florida, which it tied with 34 boards apiece, and Tennessee last Tuesday, which outrebounded Georgia 37-30. The Bulldogs lead the SEC in rebounding through 13 conference games at 39.4 per game. Highlights in the league schedule thus far have been a +15 ledger Saturday vs. Ole Miss, +9 in a win at Missouri, +8 vs. Miss. State, +7 in a win over LSU, as well as a +22 margin in beating Arkansas.
- Georgia's win over Ole Miss last Saturday was its fifth this season over an RPI Top 100 opponent. Those wins also include: Missouri, Arkansas, LSU and Alabama, although Alabama's current rating has fallen beyond the 100 mark. Georgia had reached a season-best RPI of 88 before its loss at Tennessee dropped it to its current mark of 93. Still, a considerable improvement after reaching as high as the mid-260s in late December.
- Five Bulldogs this season have made their first starts at the Division 1 collegiate level: Kenny Gaines, Cameron Forte, Juwan Parker, Taylor Echols and Houston Kessler.
- One effect of not having Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on this year's team: last year, 30 percent of Georgia's total field goals were scored from 3-point range. This year, just 19 percent thus far have come from beyond the arc. Perhaps another way to view this difference: last season's Georgia team averaged scoring 22 points in the paint area. This season, that number thus far has risen to 33.5 points in the paint. Most discussion involving KCP's absence has revolved around its effect on the Georgia offense. Little discussion has pertained to its effect on the Georgia defense, which this year has allowed its opponents a .400 overall field-goal percentage, .335 from 3-point range, compared to .388 and .329, respectively, with KCP in the lineup last season.
- On Dec. 28, when Colorado sank all 26 of its free-throw attempts, it marked the first time in almost 19 years a Bulldog opponent had shot 100 percent. Tennessee went 10x10 against Georgia on Feb. 11, 1995. That was 584 games ago. For Georgia, it's been 772 games since its last 100 percent shooting night...back to Jan. 14, 1989 vs. Vanderbilt (12x12).
- Georgia has now shot at least 50 percent from the field 10 times this season. That's more than the number of 50 percent shooting games over the previous two seasons combined.
Offense on the Uptick
One thing is apparent through the season thus far: Georgia's offense appears to be measurably more effective than last season, even without its best scorer from 2013. In 16 of 25 games thus far, the Bulldogs have scored over their seasonal average (60.8) of last season. The team's overall shooting percentage has also risen from 40.8 of last season to its current mark of 44.7.
When Georgia defeated LSU 91-78 on Feb. 6, it marked the first time since 1995 in which Georgia had cracked the 90-point mark twice during the SEC schedule.
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 506-737 (.410). 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.