Bulldogs Host Gamecocks in Regular Season Finale

March 2, 2012

Georgia Bulldogs (13-16, 4-11) vs. South Carolina Gamecocks (10-19, 2-13)
Saturday, March 3, 2012 - Tipoff Time: 1:45 p.m. (EST)
Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Ga.
TELEVISION
Live regional TV coverage by the SEC Network (Clay Matvick and Kara Lawson)
GEORGIA RADIO

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Local station: In Atlanta: WSB (750 AM) & WBTS (95.5 FM). In Athens: WRFC (AM 960).
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Live stats updated throughout the game.



Dustin Ware


About the Game
  • Georgia wraps up the regular season with a Saturday afternoon home game against South Carolina. The Bulldogs arrive at this game less than 48 hours removed from a 79-49 loss at top-ranked Kentucky. The outcome dropped Georgia's overall record to 13-16, 4-11 in SEC play.
  • As the league schedule reaches its conclusion this weekend, just two of the 12 seeds are secured: No. 1 (Kentucky) and No. 12 (South Carolina). All others, including one of the four first-round tournament byes, are still unresolved. Georgia can only finish in either of two spots: 10th or 11th. In order to finish 10th, the Bulldogs must win Saturday, along with Auburn -- with which it is currently tied at 4-11 -- losing at home to LSU. If the Tigers defeat LSU, they'll claim the 10th seed by virtue of winning their only head-to-head meeting with Georgia this season. The Auburn-LSU game is scheduled to tip off just 15 minutes after the Georgia-USC tipoff time.
  • These two teams met on Feb. 15 in Columbia, with Carolina taking a 57-56 victory. Twice, once in each half, the Bulldogs were unable to protect 7-point leads in this contest. Finally, after USC's Malik Cooke scored the game-winning basket with 20 seconds left, Georgia was unable to convert any of its three final chances to score.
  • Today's game marks the final home appearance for four seniors on the UGA team. Each has made his mark upon the Bulldog program. Four-year guard Dustin Ware is within reach of becoming just the 7th player in UGA history to have 1,000 points and 350 assists in his career. Gerald Robinson has scored over 800 points in his two seasons after transferring from Tennessee State. Connor Nolte brought worldwide notoriety to the program in 2010 through his "PassersRemorse" blog. Former walk-on Matt Bucklin, though he has played sparingly, was named "Most Inspirational" at the team's 2011 post-season awards banquet.

    By the end of Spring Semester, all four will have graduated.


Probable Starters

GEORGIA BULLDOGS
No.NamePos.Ht.Wt.Cl.PPGRPG
F 15 Donte' Williams 6-9 220 So. 8.0 5.4
F 20 Conor Nolte 6-7 215 Sr. 1.4 1.1
G 3 Dustin Ware 5-11 172 Sr. 7.9 2.3
G 22Gerald Robinson Jr. 6-1 180 Sr. 14.0 4.0
G 12 Matt Bucklin 6-0 170 Sr. 0.0 0.1

#Assists Per Game

Head Coach: Mark Fox
Record at Georgia / Years: 48-45 / 3rd season
Overall Record/Years: 171-88 / 8th season
Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore

SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Pos.No.NameHt.Wt.Cl.HometownPPGRPG
F13Anthony Gill6-8235Fr.Charlotte, N.C.7.84.9
F15Malik Cooke6-6215Sr.Charlotte, N.C.12.34.8
F24Damontre Harris6-9226So.Fayetteville, N.C.7.05.5
G23Bruce Ellington5-9197So.Moncks Corner, S.C.11.12.4
G32Damien Leonard6-4192Fr.Greenville, S.C.6.61.2

#Assists Per Game

Head Coach: Darrin Horn
Record at South Carolina / Years: 60-61 / 4th season
Overall Record / Years: 171-109 / 9th season
Assistant Coaches: Neill Berry, Mike Boynton, Jr., Cypheus Bunton


Georgia vs. South Carolina

  • Saturday's game is the 98th all-time meeting between Georgia and South Carolina in basketball. Georgia leads the series 49-48 on the strength of its recent 3-game win streak over USC.
  • Since South Carolina joined the SEC in time for the 1992 season, these two programs have split 42 games evenly. That includes regular-season sweeps by Georgia (1994, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2011) and by Carolina (1998, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2009).
  • Juce 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.
  • Geographically speaking, the series can be broken down as such: In Athens: UGA leads 29-15 In Columbia: USC leads 30-16 Neutral-Court Games: UGA leads 4-3
Noteworthy...
  • Turnovers per Game...as in, Fewest Per Game. It's a stat that isn't kept officially by the SEC office but can be found with a little digging. Georgia leads the league with 10.5 miscues per game, a figure that ranks 6th among 338 Division I teams (the NCAA does indeed keep this stat.). Already this season it has had 11 games of single-digit turnovers, including a season-low four TOs on Feb. 11 in their overtime win at Miss. State. Game-by-game stats are available only back to the 1979-80 season. There is no game during that time span -- 1979 to the present -- where Georgia committed fewer than its four turnovers from that game.
  • Counting his two seasons at Tennessee State, Gerald Robinson enters today's game with 1,827 career points, 806 at Georgia and 1,021 in two seasons (2008-09) at TSU. That combined figure would rank 2nd on Georgia's career scoring list, behind only all-time leader Litterial Green (2,111 pts.).
  • There likely hasn't been as valuable a freshman to Georgia as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope since 2005, when point guard Sundiata Gaines led the Bulldogs in minutes played, assists and steals, and he was also second on the team in both scoring (12.0) and rebounding (4.9). The last Bulldog freshman to lead his team in scoring at season's end, however, was All-SEC forward Jumaine Jones in 1998 (14.7 ppg).
  • Dustin Ware remains within reachable distance of becoming the 42nd player in UGA history to score 1,000 career points. With a minimum of two games left, he needs just 22 points to reach the mark. What makes Ware so unusual is this: he would become just the 3rd player in UGA history to reach 1,000 points by making more 3-pointers than 2-pointers; G.G. Smith (1996-99) and Levi Stukes (2004-07) are the others. Should Ware reach that 1,000-point mark, he'd also become the third member of UGA's 2007-08 recruiting class to achieve the milestone. Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, also members of that class, reached 1,000 in three seasons before departing for the NBA last spring. One more note about Ware. Because of Kentucky's recent dominance of the SEC, Ware is one of just three active, non-UK players in the league that have played on winning teams at Rupp Arena. The other two are Dee Bost of Miss. State and Storm Warren of LSU.
  • Dustin Ware last season ranked 5th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio. This season he doesn't meet the minimum qualifying standard for national ranking (3.0 assists/game). Still, his current A/TO ratio of 3.04 would rate him fifth among all Division I players in that statistic.
  • Georgia's win at Miss. State on Feb. 11 was its first road victory over a Top 25 opponent since Jan. 17, 2004, when the Bulldogs defeated then-No. 5 Kentucky 65-57 in Rupp Arena.
  • Despite a scoring margin of -1.2, the Bulldogs have tallied more total field goals and more 3-pointers than their opponents this season. The discrepancy rests at the free-throw line, where Georgia's opponents average scoring 4.0 more points -- and 5.8 more attempts -- than the Bulldogs. In the 14-game SEC schedule, the margin is even greater. SEC opponents are averaging 16.9 FT points compared to 10.0 by Georgia.
  • Sophomore Donte' Williams has benefitted from a greatly increased role this season. The 6-9 forward has become Georgia's top frontline offensive threat, with double-figure scoring nine times, including two career-high 17-points games against South Dakota State and Kentucky. In just 17 games, Williams quintupled his scoring output from his 2011 total. He also leads Georgia in blocked shots with 38.
  • The 2011-12 Bulldogs began this season amid fairly low expectations...externally, at least. In the SEC-sponsored media poll -- a panel that featured two jounalists from each school's coverage area -- Georgia was pegged for an 8th-place finish in the SEC. This, after a year in which the Bulldogs posted the program's first winning record in SEC play since 2003.
  • Georgia senior Gerald Robinson was named to the Coaches' Pre-Season All-SEC 2nd Team. The Nashville, Tenn., native was one of 16 players picked to two 8-man squads by the league's head coaches. Robinson is the top returning scorer and assist man for the Bulldogs.
  • Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's 25 points vs. Ole Miss on Jan. 21 were the most by a UGA freshman in almost 13 years. D.A. Layne poured in 26 points in a Feb. 6, 1999 win at home against South Carolina.
  • Dustin Ware's current career 3-point shooting percentage ranks him among the best ever in UGA history. Following are the top five long-range shooters at Georgia.

    Career 3-Point Percentage Leaders
    (Minimum 150 3FGs Made)
    1..444 (172-387)Jody Patton1988-91
    2..429 (194-453)Bernard Davis1991-94
    3..396 (231-583)D.A. Layne1999-2001
    4..395 (215-544)Litterial Green1989-92
    5..364 (189-519)Dustin WarePresent
Of RPIs and Such

A few observations about Georgia's place in the world of the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI):

  • Georgia began this week with an RPI of 112, having climbed just eight spots after its win over Florida..
  • Georgia's win at Miss. State caused a 14-point improvement in the Bulldogs' RPI, from 112 to 98. Conversely, the outcome caused State's RPI to balloon from 31 to 45.
  • Georgia now has five victories vs. RPI 100 teams. Chronologically, they are:
    1) 72-61 at home on Nov. 16 vs. No. 57 South Dakota State. The Jackrabbits are currently 24-7 with a 19-point win at Washington on their resume.
    2) 61-57 neutral-court win vs. No. 43 Notre Dame, which has a 20-10 mark and a 9-game Big East win streak to its credit.
    3) 81-59 at home over then-No. 59 Arkansas on Feb. 8
    4) 70-68 at then-No. 31 Miss. State. on Feb. 11
    5) 76-62 vs. then-No. 17 Florida on Feb. 25

Georgia and the NBA

Georgia's two premature departures from 2011 have seen early-season action with the NBA team that drafted them in the second round. Both Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie have played for the Los Angeles Clippers, the former in 13 games and the latter in eight.

Perhaps more noteworthy, however, is the progress of 3rd-year pro Sundiata Gaines, who finished his career at Georgia in 2008. After playing in the D-League for 1 1/2 seasons, Gaines was signed in 2010 by Utah, had cups of coffee in Minnesota and Toronto and seems to have found a home in the New Jersey Nets. The Jamaica, N.Y., native has played in 31 games, starting in five.

For just the third time ever, Georgia now has four alumni currently playing in the NBA: the aforementioned trio, as well as elder statesman Damien Wilkins, who now plays in Detroit. Just once has UGA placed five alums in the NBA at the same time: the 1993-94 season (Dominique Wilkins, Willie Anderson, Vern Fleming, Litterial Green and Alec Kessler).

It's also worth mentioning that Georgia's other two departures from last season -- frontcourt men Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes -- are both playing professionally now, the former in Finland, the latter in Lithuania.

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 77 years, is 487-721 (.404). That ranks 10th of the 12 current SEC members.
  • 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 one AP SEC Player of the Year: Dominique Wilkins in 1981 and no POY, as voted by the league's coaches since 1987. 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 38-49. The 2008 tourney marked the first time since 1997 that Georgia has reached the finals.
  • Since the league expanded and was pared into East and West Divisions in 1992, Georgia has a 139-180 (.434) record. Eight times since '92 Georgia has had a league record of .500 or better (1993, '95, '96, '97, '01,'03, 07, '11).
  • Since the league's expansion, Georgia has a 75-124 record (.376) record against the Eastern Division, a 63-58 mark (.518) against SEC Western Division teams. Bulldog teams have had winning records against the West in 13 of 19 years. Georgia's only undefeated season against the West came in 2003.
  • In the 16-game SEC schedule format, Georgia's most wins came in 2003, when it compiled an 11-5 mark. The Bulldogs' timing, however, left much to be desired. That same year, Kentucky won the East with a perfect 16-0 mark and Florida placed second at 12-4. Georgia's 11-5 mark would've won the West by two games.
  • In case anyone was wondering, Georgia is 0-3 all-time against Missouri and has never played a basketball game against Texas A&M. The 2001 Bulldogs lost to Mizzou in the NCAA Tournament first round.

 
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