Trailing by 8 with just under 2 minutes remaining in the game, Tennessee had to have a stop in order to preserve any hopes of a potential comeback. The Vols came up short, though, as Georgia’s J.J. Frazier fittingly buried a three-pointer from the wing, capping off a game-high 28-point effort that sealed his team’s second conference victory of season. Frazier’s three – his fourth of the night – gave the Dawgs a commanding 76-65 lead with only 1:13 left, and UGA went on the win the game 81-72.
Frazier and Kenny Gaines both shot the ball lights out on Wednesday night in Athens, hitting a combined 10 of their 15 attempts from beyond the arc. Gaines, who finished with 23 points, made 6 three’s on the night, just three shy of the all time single game record of 9 set by G.G. Smith back in the 1990s.
Georgia actually trailed the Vols 35-28 at the break, but around the 13:00 mark of the second half Gaines and Frazier went off, hitting 5 consecutive shots – 4 of them three’s – over the next 3 minutes that sent the Dawgs on a 14-2 run that saw them take a 57-49 advantage with just over 10 minutes remaining in the contest. Tennessee never really recovered from this offensive outburst from Coach Mark Fox’s team.
UGA fell behind before the intermission due to extreme sloppiness. In the first half, Georgia turned the ball over 16 times against a Vols’ defense that wasn’t applying THAT much pressure. The Dawgs got their act together after the break though, giving the ball away only 4 more times.
Tennessee didn’t do itself any favors offensively, hoisting up 23 three-point attempts, yet connecting on just 6 of them. The Vols entered this game as a decent three-point shooting team, hitting over 35% of its shots from beyond the arc. Unfortunately for coach Rick Barnes, his Volunteers couldn’t find the range in Athens this evening.
Tennessee was led offensively by Kevin Punter and Detrick Mostella, who scored 16 points apiece.
Coach Mark Fox’s team turned in its most dominant rebounding effort of the season, grabbing 43 boards to Tennessee’s 28. UGA’s frontline was bolstered with the addition of Derek Ogbeide to the starting lineup, where the freshman hauled in 7 rebounds. Yante Maten snagged 8 boards, though he only mustered 10 points of offense as he struggled somewhat from the floor, making just 5 of his 15 shots. This game was Maten’s least productive one in a while, and hopefully it is just a blip in the road for what has been a magnificent sophomore season thus far.
Tonight’s win puts the Dawgs at 9-5 overall and 2-2 in the SEC, which is basically right in the middle of the pack for now. UGA has a huge home game coming up this Saturday as they will take on #15 Texas A&M, a team that is currently a perfect 4-0 in conference play. In addition to the perfect SEC record, the Aggies boast an RPI of 12. Georgia’s RPI coming into tonight’s game was 65, and the Dawgs best RPI win this season came against Georgia Tech (40).
A win on Saturday would be an incredible NCAA Tournament resume-builder.