Georgia earned its second victory of the week on Thursday night in front of a sparse Stegeman crowd as they managed to defeat the Furman Paladins 84-78. Here are some observations:
Maten and Frazier again the difference
At this point, the only thing separating UGA from being a mid major program are #1 and #30. Yante Maten and J.J. Frazier, who were both selected to ESPN’s top 100 college basketball players list this week, are already in midseason form. Maten continues to showcase the ability to score from just about anywhere other than the corner three-point line. On Thursday, he notched 27 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Frazier, who had been somewhat timid offensively in the first two games this season, looked like vintage J.J. against Furman: driving to the basket and bouncing off defenders en route to layups, and stopping quickly off the dribble to get his three-point shot. Frazier led all scorers with 28 points – 12 of which came from beyond the arc. He and Maten accounted for nearly 70% of Georgia’s offense against the Paladins.
UGA clamped down when it needed to
Furman did not come into Athens to play the role of pre-conference tune up. The Paladins led Georgia 58-57 with 7:13 remaining in the game after a jumper by Kris Acox, and they looked confident enough in themselves to pull off the upset. However, UGA’s Juwan Parker stepped up big and responded for his team down the stretch, hitting a cutting Mike Edwards on a break that ended in an exciting dunk. Parker scored the Dawgs’ next two field goals, knocking down a pair of jumpers that put UGA up 66-59 with just 4:16 left. Georgia pushed its advantage to 69-60 following a pair of free throws from J.J., and the Dawgs never looked back.
Freshmen continue to see limited minutes
Jordan Harris played 15 minutes on Thursday night. He had to be shocked. Whenever the substitution horn buzzed, he would constantly glance over his shoulder, assuming that his time was up. But Fox stuck with Harris down the stretch, and the freshman played well. He scored once on a beautiful drive down the left side of the lane, and Harris also knocked down an open jump shot. Tyree Crump, however, played just a mere 5 minutes against the Paladins. Crump scored on his only shot, spinning off his defender from the baseline and finishing at the bucket; he was yanked out 15 seconds later after the first dead ball. I don’t know what Coach Mark Fox’s plans are this year in regards to his usage of either of these talented freshmen, but if they aren’t seeing the court much now, I can’t imagine their playing time increasing once conference play begins. Maybe he is easing them into his rotations. Maybe he doesn’t feel comfortable enough with them to give them more time on the court. My hope is that he’s leaning towards the former.