ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia Bulldogs (12-6, 4-2) pulled past the Vanderbilt Commodores (8-10, 2-4) 76-68 on Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
Vanderbilt cut its deficit to five points with 2:17 to play in the game but that was the closest the Commodores would get. For every shot Vanderbilt made down the stretch, Georgia responded with free throws as the Bulldogs’ last 11 points came from the foul line. J.J. Frazier and Juwan Parker accounted for four points apiece from the line as Maten added a pair of free throws as well.
“We had a great turnout from our crowd for a 9 p.m. game, so we appreciate everyone that’s in the car on the way home right now, because that makes a difference,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “We were concerned because the game was so physical Saturday (at Florida) that we weren’t going to have enough energy. How heavy-legged would we be? And I thought we played a little heavy-legged, but we played pretty efficiently. We didn’t turn it over, we got good shots at the basket, and I thought defensively in the first half we did an excellent job defending the three-point line. We were able to play from in front and in somewhat control of the game, although the second half we didn’t rebound nor defend, but we held on for the win.”
Junior forward Maten who poured in 21 points, his sixth 20-point game of the season, led Georgia’s scoring. Guards Parker and Frazier contributed 17 points and 15 points, respectively, while they both reeled in team-high six rebounds. Sophomore forward Derek Ogbeide scored 11 points, his fourth double-digit output of the season.
The Bulldogs forced a 30-second shot-clock violation in the Commodores’ last possession of the first half to take a 34-25 advantage into the half. Maten led all players with 10 points while Ogbeide contributed eight points on 4-for-4 shooting. Parker chipped in seven points and collected team-best four boards.
On Vanderbilt’s opening possession of the second half, Frazier stole the ball and went the distance for a layup. Ogbeide followed with jumper in the lane to push the Georgia lead to 13 points at 38-25. The Commodores brought the game within three points at the 15:50 mark but a Frazier trey pushed the Bulldogs advantage back to a dozen at 55-43 with fewer than ten minutes to go in the contest.
The Bulldogs held the Commodores scoreless on a 0-for-7 stretch late in the second half that lasted over three minutes. Vanderbilt entered today’s games leading the SEC in 3-point percentage (39.5-percent). Georgia held the Commodores to 10-of-31 (32-percent) shooting from behind the 3-point arc. The Bulldogs also limited their turnover count to six, a season-low, while forcing the Commodores to 11 turnovers.
Georgia’s performance at the free-throw line sealed it as the Bulldogs converted 22 of 34 trips to the charity strike compared to Vanderbilt’s 4-of-6 showing at the free-throw line.
The Bulldogs travel to College Station, Texas to face Texas A&M on Saturday. The tip is scheduled for Noon ET and will be televised on ESPN2.
• After Vanderbilt scored the opening bucket, Georgia went on a 14-3 run that included points from five different Bulldogs.
• The 25 first-half points allowed by the Bulldogs represented the lowest total at home and the third-lowest on the year for opponent points in the opening 20 minutes (Georgia Tech/Ole Miss – 18).
• Georgia’s nine-point lead at halftime was its second-biggest lead at the break in conference play. The Bulldogs led Ole Miss by 12.
• Juwan Parker extended his double-digit scoring streak to seven-consecutive games. He has now hit the 10-point plateau in eight of the last 10 games.
• Though Georgia trails Vanderbilt in the all-time series 91-51, the Bulldogs have now won three of the last four games against the Commodores.
• Georgia improved to 3-1 on the year when being out-rebounded by its opponent.
• The Bulldogs recorded more blocks (3-1), assists (16-12) and steals (5-3) than Vanderbilt, the second time this year that UGA has won all three of those categories against a power five opponent (Ole Miss).
• The Bulldogs got their first lead of the game at the 17:10 mark of the first half, 4-3, and never lost the upper hand on the scoreboard.
• Georgia improved its home record to 8-2 on the year.
• The Bulldogs’ seven turnovers in the contest represented a season low.
Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox
On tonight’s game…
“We had a great turnout from our crowd for a 9 p.m. game, so we appreciate everyone that’s in the car on the way home right now, because that makes a difference. We were concerned because the game was so physical Saturday (at Florida) that we weren’t going to have enough energy. How heavy-legged would we be? And I thought we played a little heavy-legged, but we played pretty efficiently. We didn’t turn it over, we got good shots at the basket, and I thought defensively in the first half we did an excellent job defending the three-point line. We were able to play from in front and in somewhat control of the game, although the second half we didn’t rebound nor defend, but we held on for the win.”
On responding to Vanderbilt’s runs…
“We did, and that’s because we were confident at home and we have enough experienced players who can sprinkle the scoring around. When we needed to make a basket, sometimes it was Yante (Maten), then it was Juwan (Parker), Derek (Ogbeide) made a couple big ones. We had a lot of guys chip in and whenever they made a run we were able to answer it, and that’s a good sign of maturity for a team.”
Junior Forward #1 Yante Maten
On getting the win…
“We just made sure we had energy, that was the big thing in getting the win. We made sure we were taking the right shots, and it helped us all around.”
On Juwan Parker stepping up…
“He has a great midrange jumper. He’s real patient. He will take a contested midrange, but his midrange is so good that if its not a great contest, it doesn’t really affect him too much. He’s a great player, he finds the cracks and seams in the defense and makes the shots from there.”
Redshirt Junior Guard #3 Juwan Parker
On stopping Vandy runs…
“Basketball is a game of runs, its a cliche but its true. So we had to withstand their punches and fight back.”
On what was working…
“First off, we had a balanced scoring attack. Derek (Ogbeide), Yante (Maten), JJ (Frazier), and myself had a big night. Most importantly though, defense. We stuck to the game plan and did what we were supposed to do.”
Vanderbilt Head Coach Bryce Drew
“You know, we didn’t play as well in the first half. Some of that was what Georgia was doing to us. I thought there were points in the game where we caught a good rhythm. When you shoot the ball well, it helps us obviously on the defensive end. I never thought that we got that two, three, four stops in a row that would allow us to ever really get a run and put pressure on them. They made big shots every time we would come and try to get down to six or seven and they would retaliate and make a three or a couple nice baskets that were in.”
On Juwan Parker…
“Parker was really impressive. We knew in the scouting report that he was going to drive right a lot and he was really good at it and was able to score a lot going that way. He’s a very physical player but what I enjoyed is that he seems like a great young man. We had a little encounter in front of our bench where he dove on the floor and I helped him up and he was saying ‘thank you sir.’ He just seemed like a great young man. He looks like he’s a very valuable part of the team and if he plays like this, he can be a difference in (Georgia’s) season.”