Georgia (2-1) vs. Georgia Tech (2-1)
Date: Friday, November 19, 2021
Tipoff: 9:00 p.m. ET
Location: Stegeman Coliseum (10.523) in Athens, Ga.
Watch: SEC Network (Tom Hart, pbp; Daymeon Fishback, analyst)
Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network – 960 the Ref-AM (Athens), 103.7-FM (Gainesville) (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)
The Starting 5…
• Tom Crean looks for his 400th career victory when UGA hosts arch-rival Georgia Tech on Friday night.
• UGA has won 5 straight matchups with GT, the Bulldogs’ second-longest winning streak in 196 meetings.
• UGA and GT last met 730 days ago on Nov. 20, 2019. Last year’s game was canceled due to scheduling issues.
• Aaron Cook’s 22-point outburst against S.C. State on Tuesday pushed him over 1,000 career points.
• UGA’s seven first-year transfers combined to score 4,782 points at their previous schools.
The Opening Tip
The football version of “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate” is renewed for the first time in a day short of two years on Friday night when Georgia hosts Georgia Tech at Stegeman Coliseum at 9:00 p.m.
The Bulldogs and Jackets last met on Nov. 20, 2019, with Georgia earning an 82-78 victory. Last season’s matchup was canceled due to scheduling conflicts related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first season since the 1923-24 campaign.
There are a couple of historical story lines associated with Friday’s game.
Georgia head coach Tom Crean enters the game with 399 career victories – 190 at Marquette, 166 at Indiana and 43 at UGA.
The Bulldogs are in the midst of a five-game winning streak over Tech, their second-longest streak of success against the Jackets. Georgia’s longest winning streak in the series is seven games twice (from 1908-21 and 1980-85), followed by five W’s thrice (from 1929-31, 1939-41 and 2015-present).
Keeping An Eye On . . . Entering Tonight’s Game:
Tom Crean is...
• 1 victory shy of his 400th career win
Series History With Tech
While Georgia Tech owns a 105-91 advantage in the all-time series between the Peach State’s most bitter rivals, Georgia possesses a 54-30 edge in matchups in Athens.
In the most recent meeting on Nov. 20, 2019, Rayshaun Hammonds’ second-straight 26-point outburst led Georgia in an 82-78 win over Georgia Tech at Stegeman Coliseum.
Hammonds scored 19 first-half points to help the Bulldogs build a 35-27 advantage at the intermission. He posted five more in the first 4:10 of the second stanza as Georgia pushed its lead to 49-33.
Foul trouble forced Hammonds to the bench for a good chunk of the rest of the game, but freshman Anthony Edwards picked up the slack by scoring 14 of his 18 points in the final 14:26.
Georgia led by double digits late in the game – 77-67 with 1:18 left – and by 80-72 with 30 ticks on the clock before back-to-back 3-pointers from Michael DeVoe.
Scouting The Jackets
Georgia Tech is 2-1 on the young season. The Yellow Jackets bounced back from a season-opening setback to Miami (Ohio) to thump Stetson and Lamar.
Michael DeVoe leads a trio of double-digit scorers for Tech at 18.0 points per game. Jordan Usher and Dallan “Deebo” Coleman are chipping in 13.7 and 11.7 ppg, respectively.
Last Time Out
Aaron Cook’s 22-point performance – an effort which pushed him past 1,000 career points – paced Georgia in a 76-60 win over S.C. State on Tuesday.
Cook, in his third outing at Georgia after playing 133 combined contests at Southern Illinois and Gonzaga, recorded his fourth career 20-point game in efficient fashion. He connected on 8-of-11 shots from the floor, including 3-of-5 3-pointers, and 3-of-4 trips to the line.
Kario Oquendo was equally impressive, with 17 points and four steals, while Braelen Bridges chipped in 15 points.
The Bulldogs never trailed, racing from the opening tip to a 30-16 lead just 8:20 into the contest.
While Georgia led by double figures most of the night, S.C. State did close the gap to 56-51 at the 10:05 mark. A 3-pointer from Cook ignited a 20-8 surge that gave the Bulldogs complete control.
Crean Closing In On 400 Wins
Georgia head coach Tom Crean is now just one win shy of his 400th career victory. He compiled 397 W’s in his first 21 campaigns as a collegiate head coach, an impressive average of 18.9 wins.
Prior to arriving in Athens, Crean was 190-96 in nine seasons Marquette’s coach from 1998-2008 and the recorded a 166-135 mark in nine campaigns at Indiana between 2008-17.
Tom Crean’s Milestone Wins
No. 1 – Nov. 20, 1999 – Marquette defeats Chicago State, 62-43, in Tom Crean’s first game as a collegiate head coach.
No. 100 – March 6, 2004 – Freshman Dameon Mason’s three-point play with eight-tenths of a second left lifts Marquette over No. 25 Louisville, 81-80.
No. 200 – Dec. 8, 2009 – Indiana knocks off Pittsburgh, 74-64, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
No. 250 – Nov. 20, 2012 – A day after beating Georgia, 66-53, in the first round, IU tops Georgetown, 82-72, to win the Progressive Legends Classic at Barclays Center.
No. 300 – Dec. 20, 2014 – Indiana tops No. 23 Butler, 82-73, as Yogi Ferrell became IU’s 48th 1,000-point scorer.
Within The Win Streak Over GT
The Bulldogs’ five-game winning streak over Tech marks only the fifth time in 196 meetings that Georgia has captured five consecutive victories over the Yellow Jackets.
The Bulldogs’ longest winning streak in the series covers seven games twice, in spans from 1909-21 and 1980-84. In addition to the current run of success, which dates back to Nov. 14, 2014, Georgia also won five straight between from 1929-31 and 1939-41.
There are some relatively historic nuggets contained within the current streak.
The first four of those wins all were by double figures.
The only other time UGA posted four consecutive, double-figure W’s over Tech was between 1909-14.
The last two victories provided a signature moment for Georgia’s seniors.
Prior to 2018, only four four-year letterwinners for the Bulldogs finished their careers with a perfect record against Tech – James Banks, Vern Fleming, Richard Corhen and Gerald Crosby.
That fraternity has since bulged to 11 members. Mike Edwards, Turtle Jackson, Derek Ogbeide, Connor O’Neill and E’Torrion Wilridge joined the fold in 2018 and Tyree Crump and Jordan Harris did so in 2019.
It should be noted that UGA and GT played two or more times every season from 1924-25 through 1981-82. Since then, the teams have met once per year, making an undefeated run throughout college a little less taxing.
In A Matter Of Days...
Friday’s game will be the first matchup between the Bulldogs and the Yellow Jackets in 730 days. That represents the longest stretch between games since a 730-day span between Feb. 28, 1921 and Feb. 28, 1923.
Note that 2020 was a leap year for those of you scratching your heads.
To find a longer period of time, you have to go back to a 2,559-day gap between Feb. 26, 1914 and Feb. 28, 1921.
No. 3 At No. 3 on #SCTop10
Kario Oquendo delivered a trio of breakaway dunks against South Carolina State that wowed the crowd.
The third on the night, a steal followed by a windmill finish, earned its way onto the opening of ESPN’s SportsCenter and the No. 3 spot on the Nov. 16 edition of the show’s top-10 plays.
Although they totally butchered his name on SportsCenter, you can see the dunk at: gado.gs/kariosctop10.
Experience Has Traveled
The phrase “defense travels” is a well-known sports phrase.
For Georgia, “experience has traveled” may become a more appropriate catch phrase for 2021-22.
Georgia’s lineup this season is anchored by five Division I transfers, sixth-year “super seniors” Aaron Cook and Jailyn Ingram, graduate transfer seniors Noah Baumann and Braelen Bridges and sophomore Jabri Abdur-Rahim.
That quintet of Bulldogs has accounted for 80 percent of Georgia’s starts to date as well as the large majority of its production in virtually every statistic as outlined below.
D-I Transfer Contributions
Stat Team D-I ts Pct.
Minutes 600 381 63.5
Scoring 202 141 69.8
Rebounds 100 67 67.0
Assists 47 39 83.0
Blocks 9 4 44.4
Steals 25 13 52.0
Cook Tops Millennium Mark
Aaron Cook blew past the 1,000-point career scoring mark on Nov. 16 against South Carolina State.
The “super senior” from St. Louis was eight points shy of that plateau entering the game. He inched past the milestone in the first half on a jumper with 2:21 left in the period. Cook scored 13 points following the intermission to come within three points of his career high of 25 versus Indiana State on Jan. 24, 2018.
Cook scored 845 points in 103 games played at Southern Illinois from 2016-20. He competed for four seasons at SIU, including a redshirt campaign in 2019-20 due to a broken hand.
Cook transferred to Gonzaga and played in 30 of 32 contests for the Bulldogs en route to their NCAA runner-up finish last season. He scored 127 points in 2020-21.
As a Bulldog of the UGA variety, Cook scored 10 points in each of his first two outings, pushing him to 992 prior to the S.C. State matchup.
Dalen, Kario Draw Attention
Kario Oquendo and Dalen Ridgnal have been ranked among the top junior college transfers expected to make the biggest marks following their moves to the Division I level this season.
On August 25, bustingbrackets.com ranked the top-25 junior college players moving to the “high-major” level. Ridgnal was tabbed No. 2 on that ledger, while Oquendo was ranked No. 23.
On Nov. 1, college basketball guru Jon Rothstein tabbed his top-10 “JUCOs to watch,” an unranked ledger that also included Ridgnal.
Cook Among Most Experienced
Aaron Cook arrived in Athens having already participated in 133 games. Cook logged action in 103 contests in four seasons at Southern Illinois, including six in a 2019-20 redshirt campaign. He then played in 30 contests last season at Gonzaga.
Cook’s tally of 133 GPs made him the third-most experienced player – game wise – in Division I entering this season as outlined below.
As a point of reference for Georgia Basketball, the Bulldogs’ record for career games played is 133 contests by Marcus Thornton from 2011-15. Thornton’s tally covers five seasons, including a redshirt season with nine GPs.
In addition, Jailyn Cook ranked among D-I’s top-50 players in career outings entering 2021-22, having played in 122 contests at FAU prior to joining the Bulldogs.
D-I’s career GPs Leaders
Rk. Player, School Games
1. Jordan Bohannon, Iowa 142
2. Chevez Goodwin, USC 138
3. Aaron Cook, Georgia 133
Garrison Brooks, Miss. St. 133
Jalen Coleman-Lands, Kansas 133
Justin Kier, Arizona 133
The Hoops Version of The CFP
Anyone who knows anything about college athletics is well aware that Georgia and Cincinnati, which met on the hardwood last Saturday, are undefeated in football.
In fact, there were only four FBS football programs that entered last weekend with unblemished records. In an almost unfathomable coincidence, the other two unbeatens – Oklahoma and UTSA – played basketball against each other last Friday.
Georgia In Season Openers
With their win over FIU, the Bulldogs improved to 84-33 in the opening contests of 117 seasons of basketball.
That tally includes an even more impressive 38-6 mark in openers contested at Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia’s most significant win in an opener at the Coliseum also was its first. In the Bulldogs’ initial season opener in their current arena on Dec. 3 1964, Georgia bested No. 13 North Carolina, 64-61.
Welcoming A Slew Of Scoring
Of Georgia’s 10 newcomers, seven are transfers – five at the Division I level (Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Noah Baumann, Braelen Bridges, Aaron Cook and Jailyn Ingram) and a pair from the junior college ranks (Kario Oquendo and Dalen Ridgnal).
Those players arrived in Athens having already scored 4,782 points at their previous schools. That represents the largest addition of scoring by any Division I program for the 2021-22 season as outlined below.
Top Scoring Influx’s In D-I hoops
Rk. School Players Points
1. Georgia 7 4782
2. Duquesne 5 4695
3. Florida 5 4144
4. Arkansas 6 4125
5. Penn State 7 5183
6. Washington St. 4 3785
7. SMU 4 3733
8. Kentucky 4 3538
9. Utah 6 3175
10. Arizona St. 3 3132
Putting Up Points Under Crean
Georgia has certainly been keeping scoreboard operators busy since Tom Crean arrived in Athens in 2018.
The Bulldogs reached the 90-point plateau 15 times in 90 games during Crean’s first three seasons. That’s a relatively healthy 16.7 percent of the team’s total contests.
By comparison, Georgia scored 90 or more points just 15 times in 387 games before Crean’s arrival, or .038 percent of the outings in a span that dates back a dozen seasons to the 2006-07 campaign.
The Bulldogs scoring bit numbers isn’t just a single-game thing.
In three seasons under Crean, the Bulldogs have averaged two of their top-5 scoring outputs of the 2000s as outlined below.
Top Scoring Averages In 2000s
Rk. Season Points Games Avg.
1. 2002-03 2138 27 79.2
2. 2020-21 1944 25 77.8
3. 2001-02 2444 32 76.4
4. 2019-20 2428 32 75.9
5. 2006-07 2477 33 75.1
“B” Is For Basketball Player
You may notice on Georgia’s roster that the Bulldogs have gone away from listing traditional positions – guard, forward and center. All 15 players are now simply listed as “B” for “Basketball Player.”
Tom Crean is a proponent for “position-less basketball.”
“That’s what they are,” Crean said. “It’s not valid to call them centers and power forwards and things like that as much with the way that we’re trying to play. They’re being trained as basketball players, every day... in the sense of how we train with the ball handling, the driving, the shooting – all those type of things. That’s big to me.”
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