ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia Bulldogs (4-2) outfought the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs (2-4) 77-59 Friday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
Three Bulldogs scored in the double-digits to pace Georgia’s team effort that included 11 players with at least two points. Junior forward Yante Maten collected team-high 16 points, while senior guard J.J. Frazier and sophomore forward Mike Edwards each added 10 points. Maten notched his 22nd consecutive double-digit output, while falling one rebound short of a double-double.
“It’s good to win,” said Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox. “We were concerned about this game. We got back the other night, [and it was] near 4:00 a.m. when they got back to the dorm room, and we just looked today at our shoot around like a real tired group. We played a step behind in the first half, fouled a lot, and they got to the foul line a ton. We corrected that in the second half, and that allowed us to get more stops. We didn’t rebound the ball well tonight, but we have a deep enough team that we were still able to find a way to win.”
At the half, the Bulldogs led the visiting Runnin’ Bulldogs, 40-37, in a back-and-forth affair featuring 14 lead changes and 10 ties. Maten led the charge with 10 points and nine rebounds, while Frazier and Pape Diatta added nine and seven points, respectively.
The second half was all Georgia as the Bulldogs opened up on an 18-8 run to make it a 58-45 advantage. In the first 10 minutes, the Bulldogs held Gardner-Webb without a field goal for nearly five minutes in addition to a separate scoring drought of almost three minutes.
Edwards hit a jumper at the 6:09 mark to extend Georgia lead to the largest of the game at 72-49.
The Bulldogs defense collected 11 steals, four blocks and forced 19 turnovers that turned into 28 points. Gardner-Webb shot 25-percent from the field in the second half and 32.1-percent for the entirety of the game. The Runnin’ Bulldogs last made field goal was at the 5:19 mark.
Georgia shot 47.3-percent from the floor and went 21-of-28 from the free-throw line for a 75.0-percent slate. Junior forward Diatta notched career-highs in points (9) and rebounds (6). Freshman guard Tyree Crump scored career-high seven points, while redshirt junior guard Juwan Parker also contributed seven points.
The Georgia Bulldogs are back in action hosting the Morehouse College Maroon Tigers next Wednesday with the tip set at 7 PM.
• Georgia showcased a balanced scoring effort to start the contest, with no player scoring twice until Yante Maten’s slam at the 14:21 mark for a three-point lead.
• Pape Diatta’s 3-pointer at the 6:28 mark of the first half gave Georgia a 25-24 edge and was his first make from behind the arc of his Georgia career. His nine-point effort was his best as a Bulldog.
• William “Turtle” Jackson II’s trey with 17:15 to go in the contest gave him a made 3-pointer in three-consecutive games for the first time in his career. Additionally, five 3’s is the most over a three-game stretch in his career.
• Maten’s three blocks in the contest tied his season high and the high for all Georgia players on the year. J.J. Frazier posted four steals in the contest, the most by any UGA player this season.
• Tyree Crump (3), Mike Edwards (10) and Houston Kessler (4) all posted season-best scoring efforts.
• A season-high 11 players scored in the contest for Georgia. Every UGA player who saw the floor for more than eight minutes scored.
• Georgia’s 35 bench points were the most this year by a 16-point margin (19 vs. GW).
Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox
On tonight’s game…
“It’s good to win. We were concerned about this game. We got back the other night, [and it was] near 4:00 a.m. when they got back to the dorm room, and we just looked today at our shoot around like a really tired group. We played a little bit of a step behind in the first half, fouled a lot, and they got to the foul line a ton. We corrected that in the second half, and that allowed us to get more stops. We didn’t rebound the ball well tonight, but we have a deep enough team that we were still able to find a way to win.”
On Pape Diatta…
“Pape has a real versatile game — he can shoot the three, he can drive it, he can rebound, he can post and score — that’s one of the things we really like about Pape. Obviously, it’s a big transition for him, getting comfortable is going to take time, but he was a real plus for us in the first half.”
Georgia Soph. F Mike Edwards
On the approach against Gardner-Webb’s defense…
“They tried to trap (Yante Maten) a lot, and so that gives me an opportunity to cut to the basket and get open, and he found me a couple of times.”
Gardner-Webb Head Coach Tim Craft
On his what made the difference in the game…
“I just think the second half was the story. Georgia was terrific defensively and made everything really difficult on us. We just struggled to score and turned the ball over in the second half and we led to easy baskets for them. It was just a disappointing second half for us but credit Georgia for their defense.”