Feb. 24, 2014
About the Game
- Georgia and Missouri complete the regular-season series between the two in a Tuesday night contest in Athens. These two teams opened the SEC season in Columbia nearly seven weeks ago, on Jan. 8, when the Bulldogs overcame a 5-point deficit in overtime to take a 70-68 decision.
- Georgia arrives at this game with a 15-11 overall record, 9-5 in SEC games. The Bulldogs enter this week with a 2-game advantage over seven SEC teams that are 7-7 and vying for third place in the league standings.
- Most recently, the Bulldogs got their third road victory of the conference schedule with a 73-56 win at South Carolina on Saturday afternoon. Georgia broke free from a 34-all halftime score with a 16-1 run that essentially decided the game. The lead reached 21 points for the Bulldogs, who shot 48 percent, 57 percent from 3-point range, in the second half while Carolina struggled to just 16 percent shooting.
- Sophomore Kenny Gaines scored a career-high 27 points, including 5x9 from the 3-point arc, in leading Georgia to victory. Thanks to his outburst on Saturday, he now leads the Bulldogs in scoring through the 14-game SEC schedule at 13.9 points per game. Additionally against USC, Marcus Thornton logged his third double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 boards, and Brandon Morris added 12 points.
- Tuesday's game is the sixth all-time meeting between these two programs. Missouri has won four of the five previous meetings. Georgia's only win came in their first meeting this season in Columbia.
- Georgia continues this final 5-game stretch with an opportunity to sweep the regular-season series in each one. Next up is a Saturday afternoon contest at Arkansas, which Georgia defeated 66-61 in overtime on Jan. 18 in Athens
|F||2||Marcus Thornton**||6-8||235||RJr.||Atlanta, Ga.||7.7||6.1|
|F||15||Donte' Williams***||6-9||225||Sr.||Ellenwood, Ga.||5.5||5.4|
|F||31||Brandon Morris||6-7||215||So.||Lithonia, Ga.||9.2||3.7|
|G||4||Charles Mann*||6-5||210||So.||Alpharetta, Ga.||13.2||3.0#|
|G||12||Kenny Gaines*||6-3||195||So.||Atlanta, Ga.||12.7||2.5|
#Assists Per Game
|G||5||Jordan Clarkson||6-5||193||Jr.||San Antonio, Texas||18.6||3.4#|
|G||32||Jabari Brown||6-5||214||Jr.||Oakland, Calif.||20.2||4.6|
|G||33||Earnest Ross||6-5||228||Sr.||Cary, N.C.||14.7||6.5|
|F||44||Ryan Rosburg||6-10||252||So.||Chesterfield, Mo.||4.8||4.1|
|F||3||Johnathan Williams III||6-9||223||Fr.||Memphis, Tenn.||5.9||6.8|
#Assists Per GameHead Coach: Frank Haith
Record at Missouri / Years: 67-24 / 3rd season
Overall Record / Years: 196-135 / 9th season
Assistant Coaches: Tim Fuller (Assoc. HC), Dave Leitao, Mark Phelps
Georgia vs. Missouri
Tuesday's game is the sixth all-time meeting between these two programs. Missouri has won four of the five previous meetings.
Most recently, Georgia captured its only win in the brief series in the two teams' SEC opener this season, a 70-68 overtime decision in Columbia. Missouri won the only other conference game played by the two programs, on Jan. 16, 2013 in Columbia, 79-62.
Before that meeting, Georgia and Missouri played a home-and-home series, agreed upon by previous head coaches at both schools, during the 2009-10 seasons. Missouri won 83-76 in Athens in January of 2009, then followed with an 89-61 victory in Columbia the next season.
The first meeting between these two schools came in the 2001 NCAA Tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Missouri won 70-68 on a last-second shot by guard Clarence Gilbert.
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 17 of 26 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 507-737 (.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.