Georgia won a game it had to on Saturday, besting the Arkansas Razorbacks (9-10) 76-73 in overtime in Athens.
This Arkansas team did beat Vanderbilt in OT, and they lost by two the road against LSU earlier in the month. But, the Hogs also lost to Akron and Mercer back in the 2015 part of the season.
While this Razorback team did play aggressive man defense for much of the night, Georgia should not have had to work so hard to escape at home.
The Dawgs seemingly had this one wrapped up in overtime following a layup by Yante Maten that put his team up 74-68 with only 31 seconds left. However, Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann missed their next four free throws, which put Arkansas in a position to tie the game with 6 seconds remaining. Fortunately for UGA, Anthlon Bell’s half court prayer fell way short, giving Georgia the victory.
The Dawgs were very fortunate to even see OT. After falling behind 64-62 with 47 ticks on the clock, Georgia’s J.J. Frazier earned a trip to the line with an opportunity to tie the game. Both Frazier’s attempts clunked off the rim, but luckily for the Dawgs Arkansas’s Moses Kingsley fell down securing the rebound, giving UGA the ball via a traveling violation.
Frazier scored on the ensuing possession to tie the game, but the Hogs still had possession with a chance to win and just 24 seconds remaining. Coach Anderson’s team couldn’t capitalize though, tossing the ball out of bounds off of a deflection by Kenny Paul Geno. The culmination of both of those extremely fortunate plays enabled UGA to see overtime, which ultimately led to the win.
Offensively, the Dawgs were carried by Frazier, who scored a team-high 26 points. Georgia’s offense is so dependent upon Frazier right now it’s scary. Without him, well, it’s just hard to imagine what that might look like.
Yante Maten went for yet another double-double, netting 17 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Kenny Gaines was the only other UGA player to finish in double-digits, scoring 16 points.
The Hogs were led offensively by Dusty Hannahs, who dropped a team-high 24 points.
Charles Mann went 3 for 9 from the floor, which has become typical for him, ending up with only 8 points.
The Dawgs’ free throw shooting almost led to their demise in tonight’s contest as UGA hit just 53% from the charity stripe. Georgia’s inconsistency at the line this season has left the door open for opposing teams in a number of games.
Georgia crushed Arkansas on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 46-36. UGA did shoot the ball better than Arky (44% to 39%), so some rebounding discrepancy should be expected. However, Georgia had 13 offensive boards to the Hogs’ 9, yet the Dawgs had just 2 more second chance points.
Coach Mark Fox got only 2 points from his bench, while Mike Anderson saw his reserves score 21 points on the night. Turtle Jackson, Kenny Paul Geno, Mike Edwards and Derek Obeide went a combined 0 for 4 from the field. Edwards did manage to snag 7 rebounds, though. Still, Georgia must get more production from its bench going forward, or they are going to struggle, especially on the road.
Speaking of the road, UGA has two away games next week: a conference game at LSU and then a difficult non-conference matchup in Waco against Baylor.
While beating Arkansas did bolster Georgia’s overall record to 11-6 and 4-3 in the SEC, it did little to improve UGA’s NCAA stock. The Razorbacks’s RPI is 100.
Winning in Baton Rouge would be great, but the Tigers possess an RPI of 95. Earning a victory against a ranked Baylor team with an RPI of 15 – well, that would be amazing.