Bulldogs Defend Home Court Against Missouri Tuesday Night

Feb. 24, 2014

Georgia Bulldogs (15-11, 9-5) vs. Missouri Tigers (19-8, 7-7)
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 - Tipoff Time: 9:00 p.m. (EST)
Stegeman Coliseum - Athens, Ga.
TELEVISION
Telecast on ESPNU (Joe Davis and Dino Gaudio)
GEORGIA RADIO
Bulldog Sports Network by IMG: Scott Howard (Play-by-Play), Chuck Dowdle (Color)
Local station: In Atlanta: WSB (750 AM) & WSBB (95.5 FM). In Athens: WRFC (AM 960).
Radio Affiliates
SATELLITE RADIO
Sirius: Ch. 85 XM: Ch. 85
ON THE INTERNET
Audio streaming georgiadogs.com (subscription required).

Video Streaming: watchESPN.com
Live Stats: GameTracker





Marcus Thornton

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

Probable Starters

GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown PPG RPG
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

Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record at Georgia / Years: 80-74 / 5th season
Overall Record/Years: 203-117 / 10th season
Assistant Coaches: Stacey Palmore, Philip Pearson, Jonas Hayes

MISSOURI TIGERS
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown PPG RPG
G5Jordan Clarkson6-5193Jr.San Antonio, Texas18.63.4#
G32Jabari Brown6-5214Jr.Oakland, Calif.20.24.6
G33Earnest Ross6-5228Sr.Cary, N.C.14.76.5
F44Ryan Rosburg6-10252So.Chesterfield, Mo.4.84.1
F3Johnathan Williams III6-9223Fr.Memphis, Tenn.5.96.8

#Assists Per Game

Head 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

The Last Meeting
Georgia70  
Missouri64(OT)
January 8, 2014
Columbia, Mo.
Bulldogs Fight Back To Stun No. 21 Missouri
Georgia snapped the nation's longest home winning streak and claimed a Southeastern Conference opening win as the Bulldogs knocked off No. 21 Missouri 70-64 in overtime at Mizzou Arena. Georgia moved to 7-6 on the season.

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.

Noteworthy

  • Road wins in conference play are prized possessions, for sure, but double-digit road wins are rarer still. Georgia now has two of them -- by 20 at Miss. State and by 17 at South Carolina -- for the first time in 17 seasons, going back to the 1997 campaign, Tubby Smith's second in Athens.
  • Georgia's most recent victory gave 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. To put those landmarks -- and Georgia's next win -- in historical perspective, Georgia has posted double-digit SEC wins just twice in the past 25 years (1990, 1997). Georgia has had a plus-.500 SEC record six times in that same time span (1990-95-96-97-01-11).
  • Now that senior Donte' Williams was replaced in the starting lineup Feb. 1 at Auburn, Georgia has no single player that has started all 26 games. The Bulldogs have just three players that have played in all 26 (Williams, Thornton and Djurisic). Kenny Gaines is the team's only player to have started every game for which he's been available (24 for 24).
  • Georgia's second-half outcome last Saturday at South Carolina is indicative of the Bulldogs' performance throughout the SEC schedule. Georgia as a team has shot 42 percent, 38 percent from 3-point range, in the second half of its 14 conference games, compared to 37 percent overall, 33 percent from 3-point, in the first halves of the same games.
  • Georgia has shot over 60 percent in the second half on five occasions this season, including three of their last six 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.
  • 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 this season in the 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 33rd nationally in total FT attempts. Only Kentucky and Missouri among SEC teams rank higher. The Bulldogs are 49th among all 351 D1 teams in total free throws made. Through the 14-game SEC schedule, Georgia leads the league by a wide margin in free-throw attempts, having tried 425 foul shots (30.4/game). Missouri ranks 2nd with 381 attempts (27.2/game). The Bulldogs also lead, though by a lesser margin, in free throws made with 292 (20.9/game).
  • Amidst their up-and-down performance on offense and defense, the Bulldogs' one constant in SEC play has been their rebounding. Georgia has outrebounded 12 of its 14 league opponents thus far. The two exceptions? Florida, which it tied with 34 boards apiece, and Tennessee last week, which outrebounded Georgia 37-30. The Bulldogs lead the SEC in rebounding through 14 conference games at 39.4 per game. Highlights in the league schedule thus far have been a +15 ledger 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 on Feb. 15 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's current RPI rating of 89 is a considerable improvement after reaching as high as the mid-260s in late December.
  • Kenny Gaines averaged just 3.7 points in 10.3 minutes as a freshman last year, playing primarily behind the SEC's MVP, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. This season he has scored in double figures 16 times already, including a game-high 27 last Saturday at South Carolina. Most prominently, Gaines has found his range from the 3-point arc. Over the Bulldogs' past three games, he has made 13 of 24 shots from 3-point range (54 percent).

    More Noteworthy

  • 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 20 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 32 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 .397 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 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.

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