Georgia Basketball Game Notes
Georgia (12-8, 5-8 SEC) vs. No. 20/19 Missouri (13-5, 6-5 SEC)
Tuesday, February 16, at 7:00 p.m. ET
Stegeman Coliseum (1,638) in Athens, Ga.
Series History: MU leads, 8-7
Last Meeting: MU, 72-69, on 1/25/20
Watch: SEC Network (Dave Neal, play-by-play; Daymeon Bradshaw, analyst)
Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network: 960 the Ref-AM, Athens; 103.7 WXKT-FM, Gainesville (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)
The Starting Five
• Sahvir Wheeler’s 142 assists is the 13th-best season total ever by a Bulldog. He’s three assists from the top 10 and 27 shy of Pertha Robinson’s school record.
• Of 347 Division I teams, Toumani Camara and Sahvir Wheeler are of only five sets of teammates with five or more double-doubles during 2020-21.
• In his first 20 career games, Jaxon Etter averaged 0.4 ppg, 0.4 rpg and 3.0 mpg. In his last three outings, Etter is averaging 6.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg and 18.0 mpg.
• Eight different Bulldogs have scored in double figures during the 2020-21 season, combining to produce 79 double-digit performances in UGA’s 20 games.
• P.J. Horne, who generally guards the opposing team’s post player a significant amount, leads UGA with 34 3-pointers made this season.
The Opening Tip
Georgia returns to Stegeman Coliseum Tuesday to host No. 20/19 Missouri, the Bulldogs’ third consecutive-outing against a ranked foe in just a seven-day span.
That challenging stretch comes following a relatively massive gap of 73 days between Georgia’s season opener and its first matchup with a top-25 opponent, last Wednesday’s date with No. 16/15 Tennessee in Knoxville. In fact, the matchup with Vols on Feb. 10 in the 19th game of the season represented the latest and longest the Bulldogs ever played before taking on a ranked foe...in seasons when UGA faced a ranked team.
In fact (the second “in fact” two paragraphs so it must be important), in less than a week (from last Wednesday to the this Tuesday) Georgia is taking on the three SEC teams – Alabama, Tennessee and Missouri – that were included as top-4 seeds in the initial preview of the NCAA Tournament released last Saturday.
AND in fact (Woah! an “AND” followed by an “in fact”...this must be really good), the Bulldogs’ next two opponents are Florida and LSU. That gives Georgia a five-game stretch facing five of the six SEC teams currently projected to earn NCAA Tournament bids in ESPN’s bracketology.
Keeping An Eye On . . . Entering Today’s Game:
Tom Crean is...
• 5 wins from 400 victories in his career
Andrew Garcia is...
• 1 rebounds from 500 for his career
• 23 points from 1,000 for his career
Sahvir Wheeler is...
• 1 assist from No. 12 Sundiata Gaines (2008) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 2 assists from No. 11 Gerald Crosby (1985) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 3 assists from No. 10 Pertha Robinson (1996) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 6 assists from No. 8 G.G. Smith (1997 & 1998) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 7 assists from No. 7 Rashad Wright (2003) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 8 assists from No. 6 Willie Anderson (1987) among UGA’s best season tallies
• 27 assists from UGA’s single season record held by Pertha Robinson (1995)
• 12 assists from No. 17 Bernard Davis among UGA’s career leaders
• 18 assists from No. 16 Walter Daniels among UGA’s career leaders
Series History With Mizzou
Missouri enters Tuesday night’s matchup owning an 8-7 advantage in the overall series between UGA and MU; however, Georgia is 4-2 versus the Tigers at home.
After the Missouri won first four matchups, including three before the Tigers joined the SEC, Georgia reeled off six consecutive victories. Mizzou has won four of the last five in the series.
Last season on Jan. 25, Missouri rallied from a 20-point deficit to earn a 72-69 win over Georgia on at Mizzou Arena. The Bulldogs were led by Anthony Edwards, who notched his first career double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bulldogs led for more than 30 minutes of the contest before the Tigers surged ahead late in the game. Missouri went on top with 27 seconds left, the Tigers’ first lead since the 11:13 mark of the first half.
In the Tigers’ last trek to Athens on March 6, 2019, Missouri defeated Georgia, 64-39, to spoil the Bulldogs’ Senior Night.
After a tight first 10 minutes, the Tigers used a 15-4 run to build an 11-point lead at the intermission. Missouri maintained that margin throughout the second stanza.
Scouting The Tigers
Missouri enters this week with records of 13-5 overall and 6-5 in SEC play and ranked No. 20 by the AP and No. 19 in the USA Today coaches poll.
That’s a dramatic difference from a week ago when the Tigers were 13-2 and 6-2 after handing Alabama its first league loss of the season the previous Saturday. Last Monday, Missouri was the highest ranked SEC team at No. 10 in both polls.
The Tigers dropped a 80-59 decision at Ole Miss in their mid-week game before suffering an 86-81 overtime setback to Arkansas on Saturday. Missouri faced the Razorbacks without Jeremiah Tilmon, the league’s most dominating post presence this season. Tilmon, who missed Saturday’s game while attending a funeral, scored 25 points and grabbed 11 boards in Mizzou’s previous matchup with Arkansas, which the Tigers won 81-68.
Xavier Pinson leads the Tigers on the offensive end while averaging 14.7 ppg. Dru Smith and Tilmon also are producing points at a double-figure pace, contributing 14.2 ppg and 12.8 ppg, respectively. Tilmon is collecting 7.8 rpg, which ranks fourth among SEC leaders entering this week’s action.
Last Time Out
K.D. Johnson poured in 24 points, his second straight career-high scoring output, however Georgia still dropped a 115-82 decision at No. 11/11 Alabama last Saturday.
Johnson, who scored 22 points at No. 16/15 Tennessee last Wednesday, led a quartet of Bulldogs in double figures. Sahvir Wheeler chipped in 16 points, Toumani Camara posted a double-double of 12 points and 13 boards and Tye Fagan notched 11 points.
A hot-shooting Crimson Tide team connected on 64.3 percent of its shots from the floor and 60.0 percent of its 3-pointers.
Wheeler Climbing UGA Assist List
Sahvir Wheeler enters Tuesday’s game with 142 assists in 20 outings. That tally already ranks the No. 13 among the Bulldogs’ best single-season efforts ever.
Wheeler entered the Alabama game at No. 14, tied with both his own freshman season tally in 32 games last season and Willie Anderson’s 1987-88 effort.
Wheeler enters tonight’s game chasing Pertha Robinson...twice.
Wheeler needs just three assists to move into a tie with Robinson’s 1995-96 total of 145 at the No. 10 position on that ledger.
Wheeler is 27 passes-to-points from Robinson’s single-season Georgia record of 169 dishes in 1994-95 as outlined below
At his current pace of 7.1 apg, Wheeler would surpass Robinson’s total in the 24th game of the season.
UGA Single-Season Assist Leaders
Rk. No. Player, Season GP Avg.
1. 169 Pertha Robinson, 1994-95 27 6.26
2. 154 Sundiata Gaines, 2006-07 32 4.81
3. 153 Rashad Wright, 2001-02 32 4.78
4. 152 Donald Hartry, 1985-86 30 5.07
5. 151 J.J. Frazier, 2015-16 34 4.44
6. 150 Willie Anderson, 1986-87 30 5.00
7. 149 Rashad Wright, 2002-03 27 5.52
8. 148 G.G. Smith, 1996-97 33 4.48
148 G.G. Smith, 1997-98 35 4.23
10. 145 Pertha Robinson, 1995-96 30 4.83
11. 144 Gerald Crosby, 1984-85 31 4.65
12. 143 Sundiata Gaines, 2007-08 34 4.21
13. 142 Sahvir Wheeler, 2020-21 20 7.10
14. 140 J.J. Frazier, 2016-17 34 4.12
15. 139 Willie Anderson, 1987-88 35 3.97
139 Sahvir Wheeler, 2019-20 31 4.48
17. 133 Litterial Green, 1988-89 31 4.29
133 Gerald Robinson, 2010-11 33 4.03
19. 125 Gino Gianfrancesco, 1971-72 24 5.21
125 Barry Cohen, 1970-71 25 5.00
Etter Betters Contributions
To say Jaxon Etter’s production has increased significantly over the last three games would be a gross understatement.
When Georgia played its last home game against Vanderbilt 10 days ago, Etter sported career averages of 3.0 minutes per game, 0.4 points and 0.4 rebounds in 20 outings as a Bulldog. Since then he’s averaged 6.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg and 18.0 mpg in three contests against Vandy, Tennessee and Alabama.
Etter’s increased production didn’t magically blossom on Feb. 6. The walk-on from Woodstock has played a part in several victories this season.
Etter logged meaningful minutes in multiple non-conference outings, most prominently against Samford when his layup at the 1:17 mark of the second half gave Georgia its first lead of the night.
After playing eight minutes (with five DNPs) in Georgia’s first eight SEC outings, Etter saw first-half action in wins over Ole Miss and Auburn prior to the recent three-game upswing.
Etter scored a career-high seven points and in a career-most 15 minutes against Vanderbilt. He then had five points and three rebounds in a career-best 19 MP at Tennessee. In Tuscaloosa, Etter recorded two more new career highs of nine points in 20 minutes ...and also drew three charges.
Over the past three games, Etter has scored 19 points, as compared to the eight points he posted in his first 20 career outings. He has played 54 minutes against the Commodores, Volunteers and Crimson Tide, as compared to a combined 60 in the previous contests of his collegiate career.
Latest Ranked Foe Followed By Three-straight Against Top-25
Last Wednesday’s game against No. 16/15 Tennessee was Georgia’s latest initial outing against a ranked opponent ever...in seasons when the Bulldogs have faced a ranked team.
The contest with the Vols was Georgia’s first against a ranked foe this season, coming in the Bulldogs’ 19th game on Feb. 10.
Previously, the latest the Bulldogs advanced into a season before facing a ranked opponent was the 17th outing of the 2007-08 and 1963-64 campaign. Those contests were versus No. 3 Tennessee on Jan. 26, 2008 and against No. 4 Kentucky on Feb. 6, 1964.
There are numerous seasons prior to that when the Bulldogs did not faced a ranked opponent at all, the most recent of those being 60 years ago in 1960-61.
The setback to the Vols snapped Georgia’s three-game winning streak, the Bulldogs’ first trio of consecutive SEC wins since the latter stages of the 2016-17 season.
That Tennessee contest featured two dramatically different halves. Georgia scored 26 points in the first 20 minutes, its most meager first-half output this season, before exploding for 55 points thereafter, the Bulldogs’ most productive second half of the 2020-21 campaign.
The matchup between Georgia and Tennessee was announced last Monday. UGA and UT were slated to meet in the regular season’s regularly scheduled finale, March 3. We say “regularly scheduled” because there are potential make-up dates for postponed games during the first weekend of March. The contest was moved after the Bulldogs’ game at Texas A&M and the Volunteers’ matchup with Florida were postponed due to Covid-19 issues for the Aggies and Gators.
The Numbers Within 3-Game Streak
Georgia defeated Ole Miss, Auburn and Vanderbilt to secure its first trio of consecutive SEC victories since the latter portion of the 2016-17 campaign. That season, the Bulldogs topped Alabama, LSU and Auburn between Feb. 23-March 1.
More impressive than the wins over the Rebels, Tigers and Commodores were the numbers within those outings.
In Georgia’s first eight SEC outings, Georgia shot 43.8 from the field, including 32.0 percent from 3-point range. In the Bulldogs’ trio of victories, they connected on a considerably improved 53.8 percent (86-of-160) of their shots from the field, including 46.9 percent (23-of-49) from behind the 3-point arc.
Georgia did not trail in the second halves versus the OM, AU and VU. In fact, of the 120 minutes played, the Bulldogs were behind for only 15:02 – 3:16 to Ole Miss and 11:46 to Vandy. Continuing with that theme...although Georgia lost at Tennessee, the Bulldogs did outscored the Vols 55-45 in the second half.
Bulldogs Who Give And Take
Georgia’s Sahvir Wheeler and Justin Kier enter this week leading the SEC in assists and steals, respectively.
Wheeler not only tops the league but is ranked No. 6 nationally as outlined on in the next column. In fact, Wheeler’s career average of 5.51 apg is better than the second-best season average in the SEC for 2020-21, Scotty Pippen of Vanderbilt’s 5.38.
While Wheeler is sixth nationally in assist average, he is No. 2 in total assists with 142.
Kier’s 1.9 spg average ranked 52nd nationally as of Monday and puts him on pace to be the first Bulldog to lead the SEC in steals since Sundiata Gaines in 2007.
NCAA Average Assist Leaders
Rk. Player, School Assists Avg.
1. Jalen Moore, Oakland 203 8.1
3. Colbey Ross, Pepperdine 136 7.7
2. Kendric Davis, SMU 114 7.6
4. Jason Preston, Ohio 96 7.4
5. Karmeron Langley, N.C. A&T 107 7.1
5. Sahvir Wheeler, Georgia 142 7.1
Camara Tops in Double-Doubles
Toumani Camara recorded his sixth double-double at Alabama, moving into a tie with Missouri’s Jeremiah Tilmon and Mississippi State’s Tolu Smith atop the SEC’s leaders for the 2020-21 campaign.
Camara has recorded four double-doubles in league play, doing so against Mississippi State, at LSU, at Auburn and at Alabama.
Bulldogs Balanced On Offense
Georgia is among the nation’s most balanced basketball teams offensively, with seven Bulldogs averaging 8.7-14.1 ppg.
Georgia began the week of Jan. 11 as the only D-I team in the nation with six players averaging double figures.
All told, eight different Bulldogs have combined to notch 79 double-digit scoring outputs and four or more have scored in double figures in 14 of UGA’s 20 outings, including a season-high six against Auburn and Jacksonville.