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Offensive display sends Georgia past LSU, 93-82

UGA Basketball: LSU
Photo: Steffenie Burns/UGA

Athens, Ga — Fueled by a season-best offensive performance, the Georgia Bulldogs (16-12, 7-9) men’s basketball team powered past the LSU Tigers 93-82 in Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.

Senior forward Yante Maten led the Bulldogs’ season-high point production with 27 points and 11 rebounds, marking his 12th double-double of the season, as well as 15th 20-point game. Maten has scored in double digits in all but one game this season, and climbed into the No. 2 spot among all-time Georgia scorers. On defense, the senior tied his career-high in blocks with six.

With 21 points, freshman forward Rayshaun Hammonds notched a new career-high with his 11th double-digit game of the season. Redshirt senior guard Juwan Parker had his 14th double-digit game of the season, and fifth of the last six games, with 15, and junior guard Derek Ogbeide delivered his third-straight double-double with 10 rebounds and 10 points.

“Obviously a good win for our team today. LSU is really a hard matchup. Tremont Waters is one of the leading candidates for freshman of the year. He makes everybody better, he scores the ball,” said head coach Mark Fox. “We were a little concerned about that matchup and he got 25 tonight, so I wasn’t really pleased with the job we did there. We did a lot of other things well. We rebounded well. We did not make free throws tonight and we were not good at the line. We found a way to win and we finished a lot of plays. These wins are hard to get so we feel good about the victory.”

LSU posted the first points of the game with a Daryl Edwards 3-pointer, only to be immediately answered by a Parker three. The Tigers charged ahead again for the lead with a three and a pair of free throws, but a Maten tipin tied the score at 7 and launched Georgia on a nine point run, as freshman guard Teshaun Hightower tossed the ball in from the top of the key to give Georgia its first lead 9-7.

The Bulldogs maintained the margin over LSU, holding the Tigers scoreless for two and a half minutes. At the 9:58 mark, a layup by Ogbeide brought Georgia the six-point advantage, but the Tigers fought back from the deficit to tie the game at 28 with 5:44 remaining in the half. Freshman forward Nicolas Claxton answered seconds later to bring the Bulldogs to 30 and propel Georgia on a 17-6 run to close the half. A three by junior guard William Turtle Jackson II followed by an Ogbeide tipin at the buzzer gave Georgia its first double-digit lead, 11, of the game, and largest point-total in a half on the season, 45-34.

In the second half, Ogbeide had the first points en route to 11 unanswered featuring two Parker free throws, a Maten jumper and a Hightower three. Lastly, Parker hit a 3-pointer to cap the run and widen the margin to 22 points, the largest of the game, marking the score 56-34.

The Bulldogs held the Tigers under 50 points until the 11:19 mark. A jam from Maten followed by a Hammonds tip-in brought the crowd to its feet, marking a 73-54 score. The Tigers slowly encroached on the Bulldogs lead making it as narrow as nine points, but a free throw by Hammonds marked entrance to the 90s, a season first for Georgia, and a pair of free throws from Maten secured the Georgia win 93-82 over LSU.

Georgia totaled a season-best 19 assists, led by a career-high nine from Jackson. The Bulldogs also won the rebounding battle for the 10th time in conference play, including the last four games. The 15-point rebound margin comes in as the second-best for Georgia during SEC contests.

Jackson posted a new career-high of assists with eight and Hightower tied his career-high points with eight.

The Bulldogs hit the court in the home finale  against Texas A&M on Wednesday, February 28, at 8:30 p.m. in Stegeman Coliseum.

Head Coach Mark Fox

On Yante’s performance…
“You know, Yante Maten is top 5 in scoring, top 5 in rebounding, top 5 in blocked shots, has a chance to become top 5 in wins, but #1 is that he is the highest quality young person that I have ever been around. He has tremendous character. He is as good a person as I have ever been associated with, and we have had a lot of great kids. He is an absolute stud of a person. He has had a phenomenal career statistically and I think he would probably give the credit away. He had tremendous leaders when he came in with Marcus Thornton and Nemanja Djurisic and he saw great examples from day one. Jonas Hayes often says it amazes him how coachable Yante Maten remains. A lot of guys have great success and sometimes they don’t listen as much when they start putting up these numbers. Yante has remained unbelievably coachable and has just been an absolutely phenomenal college basketball player and I hope that he will be able to finish on a high note.”

On Rayshaun Hammonds…
“He is a freshman who is starting to get comfortable. He is having to play and start and do a lot of things. I thought today, I didn’t want to put two freshmen in the line-up, we’ve been starting two freshmen and when I put Teshuan in there today, we thought the matchups were best to put him back in off the bench and he handled it great. We talked about it on Thursday and he had a tremendous approach. I think he is getting more comfortable and starting to show signs of being a sophomore. He is just a young guy who has had to learn a lot on the fly this year and I think he is finally showing some confidence and recognizing what he is supposed to do.”

On 3-point shooting impact on this high-scoring game…
“We rebounded the ball well and obviously that is important. Then in the second half we got a couple starts to loosen it up for us too.”

On Yante Maten and his effectiveness…
“Well one thing is we had a size advantage in the game and we tried to utilize that and one thing about Yante is he can score over both shoulders and can shoot the ball facing the basket. He is a very complete player, so that is why he has been so competitive. He has seen a hundred different defenses but he has such a complete game and he is experienced enough to know and how to use those skills in defense.”

Freshman forward Rayshaun Hammonds

On playing smart against LSU…
“Playing smart and not forcing the rhythm. Just not rushing, let the game come like I always do even when the game isn’t in my hands.”

On being more aggressive…
“Watching film and listening to my coach and him telling me what to do.”

On scoring 93 points against LSU…
“Just playing our game. Make the smart plays. That’s the main focus to make smart plays and take your shot when your shot is there and help the team out.”

On getting a lot more points in transition…
“It was fun. You got to find ways to win games and this game you know you have to play up-tempo, so we had to play up-tempo and slow them down. The main thing that we did was play up-tempo and find ways to score.”

Senior forward Yante Maten

On being on top of the school record books…
“It wasn’t specifically on my mind, but I mean you always shoot for the stars. At the end of the day, I was just trying my hardest to do whatever it was to help the team win.”

On what it means to be the No. 2 scorer…
“It means a lot. Just being able to represent my school the way I’ve tried for the past four years and just having the opportunity to make plays night in and night out.”

On the number of Georgia blocks…
“Once someone blocks your shot a couple times you become hesitant and may start overlooking open baskets that you may have actually had at the moment. It just makes you more aware and it can definitely make you more hesitant to come at the rim.”

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