Dawgs advance to 2nd round of NIT with win over Belmont

With a little over 5 minutes remaining in the game and Georgia leading by just 2 points, Yante Maten picked up a ball booted by Belmont’s Craig Bradshaw, took it the length of the floor and finished with a thunderous dunk that electrified the UGA crowd.  Belmont could have easily folded at this point, but instead the Bruins fought to stick around, trimming the Dawgs’ advantage back down to four points with 2:13 left.  On the next possession, though, J.J. Frazier knocked down a three-pointer from just inside the construction site for the new indoor football practice facility, giving UGA 83-76 lead with under two minutes remaining.  Belmont would not get any closer as the Dawgs earned a 93-84 win and the right to play St. Mary’s in the second round of the NIT.

Though Frazier may have delivered the dagger in this one, the story on the night was all about Yante Maten.  Maten scored 20 of his career 33 points in the first half, including a 3 for 3 performance from the three-point line.  Shockingly, Belmont opted not to double on Maten when he received the ball on the block, and the Bruins paid dearly for this decision as Yante was an astounding 14 for 17 from the floor.  In addition to his prolific scoring, he also grabbed 10 rebounds to notch his 10th double-double of the season.

Almost overshadowed by Maten’s phenomenal performance was Charles Mann, who scored a season-high 23 points this evening. Surprisingly, the majority of Mann’s points came from beyond the arc, where he buried 4 of his 6 three-point attempts. I’m not sure what to make of Mann’s newfound outside shot, other than I wish it had showed up a bit earlier in his career.

J.J. Frazier and Kenny Gaines both struggled from the floor as each of them shot below 40% on the night.  However, they finished with 16 and 12 points, respectively.

This game did not feature much defense as both teams got the ball up the court and into scoring opportunities with relative ease.  Belmont shot over 47% from the field as a team, and they were right on their season average from the perimeter at a little bit above 37%. The Bruins had 5 players end the game in double-figures, with senior Craig Bradshaw leading the way with 19 points.

Tonight’s victory marked Georgia’s 20th of the season, making it three-straight years in which the Dawgs have eclipsed that mark.  Seniors Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann have been an integral part of this successful run, and hopefully this evening’s game will not be the last time we see these two play inside Stegeman Coliseum.  However, should 1-seed Valpo knock off 4-seed FSU tomorrow night, Georgia would not get another home game even if the Dawgs manage to win on the road against St. Mary’s in the second round.

But for now, UGA can be satisfied knowing that its season will continue on to another game.


11 thoughts on “Dawgs advance to 2nd round of NIT with win over Belmont

  1. Would have liked to have seen a little more defense, but I was expecting something like this. I like Fox’s platooning as it give the youngsters more experience, and helps keep everyone fresh.

    Now, let’s head out to the high school gym in California and take care of St. Mary’s. We should be used to playing in front of 3,500 people.


    1. Oh I hope their gym has more than 3500 seats. I now live about 90 minutes from Morgana and was hoping to see the dawgs in person for the first time this season. Problem being (according to the St Mary’s website) that the general public (me) has to wait till Saturday at noon to see if season ticket holders would like to buy their seats for this game before any available seats can be purchased. My cousin who lives in the area says that Gaels basketball is very popular and doubts that seats will be available. Bottom line: I’ll be cheering them on if I can get in.


      1. From their website: “McKeon Pavilion

        McKeon Pavilion is the home to the Saint Mary’s men’s basketball, women’s basketball and volleyball teams. The Pavilion features a 3,500-seat basketball court with six moveable baskets. Large, boisterous crowds are the norm for Saint Mary’s games, giving the Gaels a great haven and supplying the opposition’s coaches numerous nightmares.”

        But, hey! Moveable baskets!


        1. Just saw that we had less than 3,000 in Stegeman last night, which is pathetic. So I guess 3500 for Sunday’s game will be an upgrade.


      2. They had a decent crowd against NM State but there were definitely empty seats. Even if it’s sold out, go…I bet you can get a ticket outside. Also, you might check with the UGA ticket office. They will get 50 or so tickets and I doubt they’d have that many family members going all the way to California.


  2. Great game! It is such a treat to see how Yante has developed this year! I worry that if he has another spectacular year next year, he’ll bolt for the NBA. Hopefully sports agents won’t inflate his head with possible $$ and he comes back for his senior year.

    JJ seemed to be affected by his injury but you know that when a guy has an “off” night, he still puts in 16 pts. and 8 assists. Turtle again impressed with his minutes. It’ll be fun to watch Yante, JJ and Crump/Harris next year!

    I think that game on Sunday will be tough given how poorly we’ve played away from home this year, but I suspect JJ will be feeling better by then and be back to his shot making ways.


    1. I was impressed with Turtle as well. He has a great eye for the open teammate, but needs to take a little mustard off some of those passes.


      1. I agree with learning how to pass the rock with a better “touch”. By year 3 or 4 I think he will be a more formidable guard than Mann has been. He will certainly be better on offense, but I think his defense will progress too. Not to say that Mann has been a bad player, but Turtle has a higher ceiling.


  3. It seems like the NIT could group the teams more regionally with the games being played on home courts. St. Marys is going to be very tough to beat at their gym. They have all sorts of Euro talent. A return home game against FSU would be sweet.


  4. Nice win last night! Was glad to see us stretch things out a bit at the end. Yante was amazing. Was good to see Charles do well. Am hoping JJ can shake off this injury so he can play full speed on Sun. Go Dawgs!


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