Georgia and Mercer Face Off In Morning Contest

Dec. 17, 2012

Georgia Bulldogs (2-6, 0-0 SEC) vs. Mercer Bears (6-5, 0-0 A-Sun)
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - Tipoff Time: 11:30 a.m. (EST)
Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Ga.
TELEVISION
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GEORGIA RADIO
Bulldog Sports Network by IMG: Scott Howard (Play-by-Play), Mark Slonaker (Color)
Local station: In Atlanta: WSB (750 AM) & WBTS (95.5 FM). In Athens: WGAU (AM 990).
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The majority of Georgia basketball games in 2012-13 can be heard on SiriusXM Radio. Tonight's game is on Sirius Ch. 123 / XM Ch. 200. For more SEC programming info, see: SEC Programming Info
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GameTracker - Live stats updated throughout the game.




Charles Mann

About the Game

  • Georgia hosts in-state foe Mercer Tuesday in a rare contest before noon. The "Businessfan's Special" will also invite nearly 4,000 Athens-area school kids, teachers and staff to take in the game. On Saturday, the Bulldogs lost to Iona 81-78 in overtime. The loss, Georgia's third in a row, dropped the Bulldogs' overall record to 2-7 on the season.

    KCP Leads the Way: Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope He notched his secondcareer and second straight double-double (18 points/10 rebounds) in Saturday's loss to Iona. He has led Georgia in scoring in all nine games thus far and is the team's only double-figure scorer at 17.4 points per contest.

    Caldwell-Pope, in fact, remains the focal point of all that Georgia does on court. He's the only Bulldog averaging over 30 minutes per game (33.7). He has taken almost 30 percent of the team's 468 field-goal attempts, and over 40 percent of its 3-point attempts. The Greenville, Ga., native also leads Georgia in rebounding (7.2) and steals (23).

    Double-Doubles: In addition to KCP's double-double in Saturday's loss, junior forward Donte' Williams contibuted a double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds), his first of the season.

    Freshman Impact: After freshman forward Brandon Morris scored nine points and pulled down four rebounds in 19 minutes of play vs. Georgia Tech, he was awarded a start vs. Iona. The Lithonia native took full advantage scoring 12 points and grabbing seven boards, both new career highs.

    Fellow freshman guard Charles Mann logged significant time vs. Iona (31 minutes) and contributed a career-high 18 points and seven rebounds.

  • Today's game is the second game of an important five-game homestand that will close out the non-conference portion of the 2012-13 schedule. Georgia has played just two home games in the past month, that being its 54-38 win over East Tennessee State on Nov. 23 and 81-78 overtime lost to Iona on Saturday night.
  • The Bulldogs will continue their homestand on Saturday with an afternoon bout against Southern Cal. Last year, Georgia traveled to Los Angeles and defeated the Trojans 63-59.


    Probable Starters

    GEORGIA BULLDOGS
    Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown PPG RPG
    F31Brandon Morris6-7205Fr.Lithonia, Ga. 3.0 1.9
    F42Nemanja Djurisic6-8230So.Podgorica, Montenegro 7.3 4.4
    F15Donte' Williams6-9225Jr.Ellenwood, Ga. 7.6 5.3
    G11Vincent Williams6-0165Sr.Homestead, Fla. 4.8 2.8#
    G1Kentavious Caldwell-Pope6-5205So.Greenville, Ga. 17.4 7.2

    #Assists Per Game

    Head Coach: Mark Fox
    Record at Georgia / Years: 52-53 / 4th season
    Overall Record/Years: 175-96 / 9th season
    Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore

    MERCER BEARS
    Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown PPG RPG
    F20Jakob Gollon6-6200Jr.Stevens Point, Wis.7.23.2
    C52Daniel Coursey6-10220Jr.Savannah, Ga.6.33.1
    G21Langston Hall6-4180Jr.Atlanta, Ga.9.02.3
    G2Travis Smith6-3185Sr.Johns Island, S.C.10.53.0
    G5Bud Thomas6-6200Jr.Highlands Ranch, Colo.5.44.1

    Head Coach: Bob Hoffman
    Record at Mercer / Years: 81-66 / 5th season
    Overall Record / Years: 480-236 / 22nd season
    Assistant Coaches: Spencer Wright (Assoc. HC), Doug Esleeck, Jake Nelp


    The Last Meeting
    Mercer58
    Georgia72
    December 20, 2011
    Athens, Ga.
    Robinson Leads Georgia Over Mercer, 72-58
    Gerald Robinson scored 20 points to pace a Georgia Bulldog attack that defeated Mercer 72-58 in Stegeman Coliseum Tuesday night.

    Georgia vs. Mercer & the Atlantic Sun

  • Tuesday's game is the 77th meeting between Georgia and Mercer in basketball, and third matchup in the last three seasons. Last season, Georgia knocked off the Bears 72-58 in Athens largely behind 20 points from former guard Gerald Robinson Jr.
  • Georgia has won 16 straight games against Mercer, going back to a 1959 victory.
  • Mercer is 3-1 in its last four games, including an upset of Florida State in Tallahassee.
  • Excluding SEC schools, Mercer is Georgia's second-most played school (76 games) behind Georgia Tech (189 games).
  • The Bulldogs are already 2-0 against teams from the Atlantic Sun Conference this season (Jacksonville: W / 68-62; East Tennessee State: W / 54-38).
  • Georgia has played six of the 10 current members of the A-Sun Conference. Following are series records vs. all members: 54-23 vs. Mercer; 9-0 vs. Jacksonville; 7-3 vs. Stetson; 2-0 vs. Kennesaw State; 2-2 vs. East Tenn. State; 1-0 vs. USC-Upstate. UGA has never played Campbell, Florida Gulf Coast or North Florida.
  • The color analyst on Georgia basketball's radio broadcast is Mark Slonaker, UGA alumnus who was also Mercer's head coach from 1997-2008. Slonaker is the third-winningest coach in Bears' history with 128 victories, including the 2003 A-Sun Conference championship.

    2012-13 Bulldogs a Year Older

    Year Four of the Mark Fox era at Georgia features his first roster comprised solely of players chosen by Fox and his staff. The Bulldogs of 2013 have a lone 3-year letterman in guard Vincent Williams, as well as two other seniors who took the junior-college route before arriving in Athens. Last season the Bulldogs began the year with just two players that had experience as a starter on a Division I basketball team. This year, however, that number is now up to six, including four players that were regular starters at season's end. That quartet is comprised of two sophomores and two freshmen. In all, Georgia returns players who logged over 68 percent of its total minutes played in 2012.

    About the Schedule

    Georgia in 2012-13 could play as many as 19 games against teams that participated in the postseason last year. Last Saturday's game vs. Iona represented the fourth time already the Bulldogs have faced a 2012 NCAA Tournament participant.

    As part of the new 18-game Southeastern Conference schedule, the Bulldogs will face former Eastern Division foes Kentucky and Vanderbilt just once. It will be the first time since 1964 that Georgia has not played home-and-home series with these two longstanding foes and, since 1992, Eastern Division rivals. In exchange for those two contests, the Bulldogs will now pick up a series with new member Texas A&M and renew a 2-game annual series with Alabama for the first time since 1992.

    The addition of Texas A&M and Missouri has also added another day of competition to the post-season SEC Tournament, slated for March 13-17 in Nashville, Tenn. The Nos. 9-12 seeds in the final regular-season standings will play a doubleheader on Wednesday, with the tournament resuming its traditional schedule Thursday. It's conceivable that a team could capture the SEC Tournament championship by winning games on five consecutive days, similar to what UConn accomplished in the Big East Tournament in 2011.

    Frazier, Parker Sign with Dogs in Early Signing Period

    > The early national signing period began Wednesday, Nov. 13 and Georgia got signatures from a pair of high school seniors:

    J.J. Frazier, Guard, 5-9, 160, Glennville, Ga. (Faith Baptist Christian Academy - Ludowici, Ga.)...Frazier is regarded as the top point guard of his class in the state of Georgia...he averaged 26.2 points, 4.9 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals as a junior at Faith Baptist Christian, which won 33 games last season...played AAU basketball for the South Georgia Kings program from Hinesville, Ga.

    Juwan Parker, Guard, 6-4, 190, Tulsa, Okla. (Booker T. Washington HS)...Averaged 20.5 points and 9.4 rebounds as a junior at Washington, which won Oklahoma 5A state championships in his freshman and sophomore seasons...Rated the nation's No. 30 shooting guard prospect by Scout.com, No. 39 by Rivals.com. Named the 2011 Player of the Year in his home state by the Tulsa World...Two-time Tulsa World All-State pick, and also twice a "Super 5" selection by The Oklahoman newspaper...Older brother Jason Parker played at Tulsa and was coached by current UGA assistant Kwanza Johnson.

    KCP One of UGA's Best Ever

    Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope returns as one of the SEC's top players. Among his freshman-year highlights included:

    • He earned Freshman All-SEC honors in his first season of 2012.
    • KCP ranked second among all Bulldogs in scoring and led them in rebounding, minutes and steals.
    • His 422 points were the fifth-highest total by a UGA freshman in school history. Just as important, his 166 rebounds (5.2/game) were the tenth-best total by a UGA rookie and the most ever by a guard.
    • Caldwell-Pope last year was also Georgia's leader in 3-point shots made (65) and taken (214).
    In addition:
    • KCP is the fourth-leading returning scorer in the SEC, behind Boynton (Fla.), Young (Ark.) and Golden (Tenn.).
    • He is also the league's fifth-leading returning rebounder and its only guard among the group.
    • He ranks second among all returning SEC players in minutes per game (32.1), behind only LSU guard Andre Stringer (32.2 mpg).
    • True to form, Caldwell-Pope is the Bulldogs' only player thus far to average over 30 minutes per contest this season. He currently ranks 5th in the SEC in minutes at 33.7 per game. Georgia's next most active player is Nemanja Djurisic at 26.2 minutes per game.

    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. In a blog entry, 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).

    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 12 Georgia basketball players have earned their undergraduate degrees, including all four seniors from 2012. Every player that has exhausted his eligibility at UGA under Fox has completed his degree.

    Prominent among this group of 12 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.

    Hayes Joins Bulldog Staff

    A face familiar to Georgia basketball fans joined coach Mark Fox's staff during the offseason. Jonas Hayes, a 3-year letterman from 2002-04 and an '04 UGA graduate, was named as the Bulldogs' Operations Coordinator in May of 2012. Hayes, a native of Atlanta, had spent the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at Belmont Abbey in Belmont, N.C. He had also served brief stints as an assistant coach at South Carolina State, Morehouse and his alma mater, Douglass High School in Atlanta.

    Hayes, whose twin brother Jarvis continues to play professionally overseas, became the first Georgia basketball alumnus to hold a full-time position on the staff at his alma mater since Shaun Golden was an administrative assistant on the staff in 1997.

    Thornton Health Key for Georgia

    Here's one reason why Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia in rebounding as a freshman last season from his combo guard position. Marcus Thornton, who had led the Bulldogs in that category in the early going, spent most of the latter half of the season nursing ill health.

    Thornton underwent knee surgery just before Christmas and missed the next five contests. Even upon his return, his effectiveness was limited. By season's end, he needed a second surgery and the subsequent recovery period has kept him under close scrutiny ever since.

    That supervision will continue as the 2013 season transpires. Thornton, a 6-8 junior, provides the Bulldogs much-needed heft and toughness under the basket, provided he is healthy. A sound bill of health for the 2013 season could mean good things for Thornton and the Bulldogs.

    Returning Statistical Leaders

    Scoring
    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope13.2 ppg
    Donte' Williams7.8 ppg
    Rebounding
    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope5.2
    Donte' Williams5.1
    Assists
    Vincent Williams1.4 apg
    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope1.2 apg
    Minutes
    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope32.1 mpg
    Donte' Williams25.9 mpg
    Percentage of Returning Players by Statistics
    1,205 of 1,950 points62%
    738 of 966 indiv. rebounds76%
    131 of 351 assists37%
    4,391 of 6,475 minutes68%

    Frosh Vying for Their Turn

    The rookie trio of Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris is gradually making its presence felt in the Georgia lineup. Together, these three are averaging 33 minutes and 8.9 points per game.

    Mann leads this group in minutes at 15.0 per contest and a 4.2 points-per-game average. He tied with Caldwell-Pope as the leading scorer (18) in Saturday's loss to Iona.

    Morris, meanwhile, earned his first start against Iona after a solid performance at Ga. Tech (9p/4r/19min.). Against the Gaels, the freshman forward scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

    Cannon Coming On

    John Cannon played a key role in the Bulldogs' contention against UCLA at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, scoring eight points and pulling down five boards in 19 minutes, all career bests. Four nights later vs. ETSU he came off the bench to contribute six points and four rebounds in 14 minutes. The Burnsville, N.C., native has already surpassed his scoring total from the entire 2011-12 season, during which he played in just half his team's games.

    Italy Trip a Valuable Tool

    For the first time since 2004, Georgia ventured beyond U.S. borders for a tour of exhibition games. The Bulldogs spent the first half of August playing three games and checking out the major cities and tourist spots in Italy. They also visited UGA's art school campus in Cortona, Italy.

    Georgia went 2-1 on its tour of games, winding up with a 17-point victory on the same day they visited the Colosseum in Rome. Given the anticipated roles of Georgia's freshmen this coming season, perhaps more important than the trip were the 10 practices that preceded the Bulldogs' departure overseas.

    The 2004-05 Georgia team played a series of exhibitions in Vancouver during Fall Break. Prior to the Italy trip, the last time any Bulldog team left the continent was in the 1988 season, when Georgia played in an invitational tournament in Tokyo, Japan. Italy Trip Nearly a Homecoming for Djurisic Trips home are few and far between for Georgia sophomore forward Nemi Djurisic, who left his native Montenegro several years ago to pursue both an education and a basketball career, American-style. That's why the Bulldogs' journey to Italy in August became so important to him.

    One stop on Georgia's 10-day tour was Venice, where the Bulldogs spent two nights and played one of their three games. Djurisic's parents -- Snezana and Ranko -- made the 13-hour drive up the Adriatic coastline to see their son and meet his teammates and coaches for the first time. According to both parties, it was well worth the drive.

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