The Georgia Bulldogs (10-6, 3-3) had seemingly delivered the knockout punch midway through the second half on Wednesday when J.J. Frazier knocked down a three-pointer to cap off a 17-0 run that sent the Dawgs up 50-34 with a little under 10 minutes left to play.
Missouri managed to claw its way back, though, thanks in part to 7 UGA turnovers over the game’s final 9 minutes. The Tigers actually had it as close as 56-53 with less than a minute remaining, but thanks to four clutch free throws from Frazier, who is 5th in the conference in that category, Georgia was able to sneak out of Columbia with a 60-57 victory.
Coach Mark Fox got a monster game out of Yante Maten, who finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocks in 36 minutes of play. Maten’s offense was steady the entire game, giving his team a solid scoring option all night, even as some of his teammates struggled.
J.J. Frazier also shot the ball well, knocking down 5 of 9 shots from the floor en route to 16 points to go along with 7 assists and 6 boards.
Seniors Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann floundered again offensively (though Mann floundered much harder), scoring 11 and 5 points, respectively. The two combined for just 6 of 22 from the field, and Mann continues to relentlessly drive the ball to the basket to no avail.
The Dawgs packed up and carried their poor shooting from the weekend onto the plane and into Columbia on Wednesday, opening the first 20 minutes of play by shooting 31% from field and 1 for 11 from three-point land. For the third straight game, the Bulldogs posted a season-low halftime scoring output, with 22 tonight against the Tigers.
Georgia shot it better after the intermission, however, finishing the game at 39% as a team. But, one would have hoped to see a little more consistency from the outside after last Saturday’s abysmal performance.
Missouri was led on offense by Namon Wright and Terrence Phillips, who each scored 12 this evening for the Tigers.
While SEC road wins are nice, this one does little to improve Georgia’s postseason aspirations. The best takeaway UGA can draw from this game is that they avoided a bad loss to a Mizzou team that boasts a whopping RPI of 146. The best thing that can be said at this point about the Bulldogs tournament resume is that they do not have any bad losses, with the defeat to Ole Miss (75) earlier this month being the worst.
But at some point, Georgia, a team that entered tonight’s contest with an RPI of 74, must earn some quality wins. Winning games that it should – Arkansas (86) at home this Saturday – is no longer going to cut it for Coach Fox’s team if they hope to be dancing this season.
The Dawgs have games remaining against Baylor, South Carolina (twice), Kentucky and Florida, all teams currently in the RPI Top 25. Considering that UGA’s best win to date came against Georgia Tech (58), I would say that Georgia probably needs to win 3 of the 5 aforementioned games to put themselves in position for an at-large bid.
The 34-point home loss to Texas A&M was devastating.
The Bulldogs have to put together a decent little winning streak.