The Georgia offense, which had been relatively dormant over the past few weeks, finally came to life on Saturday inside Stegeman Coliseum; and by UGA offense, I’m referring to J.J. Frazier, Kenny Gaines and Yante Maten, who combined to scored 68 of the team’s 80 points today in Athens.
Frazier, who led all scorers with 26 points, carried the Dawgs down the stretch, netting 14 points in the game’s final 10 minutes. Georgia was clinging to a 54-53 lead with 10:40 left when J.J. buried a three to send the Dawgs up by four. He would hit two more three-pointers during this same stretch, the second one putting UGA up 70-59 with a little over 5 minutes remaining. That second three sealed the game for Coach Mark Fox’s team, and Georgia came away with the 80-66 home victory, snapping a three-game losing streak.
Gaines and Frazier each hit 5 three’s on the afternoon, torching the Rebels from the outside. Kenny Gaines also did a phenomenal job defending Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody, who entered today’s contest leading the conference in scoring at over 23 points per SEC game. On Saturday, though, Moody couldn’t find any room to work due to Gaines’s stingy defense, and he finished with just 15 points on a sub par 5 for 13 shooting performance. Gaines looked every bit the part of an All-SEC guard in this contest.
At times this season Mark Fox’s substitution patterns have been confusing, moving guys in and out of games at a torrent pace. However, today Fox had it right as he played Gaines and Frazier 38 and 37 minutes, respectively, which was certainly the right call considering that both guys were on fire.
Georgia just appeared more hungry in this one than the Rebels. The Dawgs got 19 second chance points to Mississippi’s 7, with a large chunk of those coming from Yante Maten, who nabbed another double-double, scoring 19 points to go along with 10 boards. UGA forced Ole Miss into 14 turnovers, and they opportunistically converted those mishaps into 22 points.
The Dawgs looked like they were on pace to cruise early on in this game, opening up a 27-16 first half lead after a tip-in by freshman Michael Edwards. But then the Georgia offense stalled, and Ole Miss closed out the final 7 minutes of the half with a 16-6 run, cutting the UGA advantage to 33-32 at the break.
The Rebels continued to roll out of the intermission, hitting 5 shots from beyond the arc in the first five minutes of the second half, which gave Andy Kennedy’s team a 49-41 lead 14:56 left in the game. Credit Coach Fox’s team for digging in and getting themselves in a position to win the game after enduring this barrage from the perimeter.
This win puts Georgia at 15-12 overall and 8-8 in the SEC.