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    Georgia State is going dancing for the fifth time in program history after defeating UT-Arlington, 73-64, Sunday in the Sun Belt Conference tournament championship game. It’s the first time the Panthers have repeated as Sun Belt tournament champions. With the win Georgia State clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Panthers are the No. 14 seed in the Midwest, facing third-seeded Houston at 7:20 p.m. Friday in Tulsa, Okla. The last time Georgia State was a 14th seed was in 2015, when R.J. Hunter hit a 30-foot 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds to play to stun No. 3-seed Baylor.  On Sunday, Georgia State was down eight points early in the first half, but a strong offensive spurt and solid free throw shooting helped them climb back. The Panthers tied the game at 17, but UTA stretched its lead to six with back-to-back 3s. Then Georgia State went on a 9-0 run after senior forward Jeff Thomas was fouled on a 3-point shot, making all three free throws, and sophomore guard Kane Williams converted a four-point play on the next possession. The run gave Georgia State the lead, and they never looked back. “It was big,” said Williams, who was named to the all-tournament team. “I think it was a momentum swinger, and after that I feel like we got the tide rolling.” Georgia State led 36-31 at halftime and shot 11-of-11 at the free throw line in the first half despite shooting 66 percent on the season. Much like Saturday’s win over Texas State, defense proved to be the key again for the Panthers. Georgia State held UTA scoreless for six and a half minutes of game time from the end of the first half and five minutes into the second half. In that time the Panthers pushed their lead from one to 12 before a 7-0 run by UTA cut the score to 43-38. UTA pulled within five multiple times in the second half, but they failed to come any closer than that for most of the half. Senior guard Devin Mitchell played a big part in maintaining the lead. He came off the bench in the second half and scored eight consecutive points for the Panthers. Senior forward Malik Benlevi followed Mitchell up with an 8-point run of his own as Georgia State seized control of the game leading, 64-52. UTA made it a game coming out of a timeout. The Mavericks had easy fastbreak layups and went on an 8-0 run, cutting Georgia State’s lead to 64-60 with less than two minutes to play. Junior guard Damon Wilson broke up the run with two free throws, and Williams extended the lead back to eight with another two free throws. UTA missed multiple 3s in an attempt to come back, and with 56 seconds left, junior guard D’Marcus Simonds converted a free throw to make it a 10-point game. “We weren’t the greatest free throw shooting, and I couldn’t understand it because we shoot the ball so well,” said Georgia State coach Ron Hunter. “But we have been great at the end of the game with five minutes left. With five minutes left in the game we’ve been tremendous free throw shooters. “I knew when we get it inside five we were pretty locked in at that particular time, and that’s when you have to make them.” Benlevi iced the game with two more free throws before Hunter pulled his starters to a round of applause by the Georgia State faithful who made their way to New Orleans. Benlevi finished the game with 16 points and 11 rebounds and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player after recording double-doubles in both games.
  • Georgia State’s defense smothered Texas State in a 59-46 win in the semifinals of the Sun Belt Conference tournament Saturday. Georgia State opened by forcing a shot-clock violation on the first possession and didn’t allow a basket until the 16:38 mark. The Panthers held Texas State to 1-of-12 from the field until its next field goal with 6:47 left in the first half. For most of the first half Georgia State struggled on offense. Junior guard D’Marcus Simonds was not his usual self, shooting 1-of-6 from the field and received a technical foul. Senior forward Malik Benlevi picked up the slack along with senior forward Jeff Thomas, who made two 3-point shots in the first half.  Benlevi’s second 3-pointer of the game started a 16-4 run, stretching the Georgia State lead from three to 15, at 28-13. Benlevi said Texas State was hedging the ball-handler on pick-and-rolls, and it left him open on the perimeter after he set screens. He burned Texas State, making 3 of 8 from beyond the 3-point line and scoring a game-high 15 points. Benlevi had ten rebounds and finished with his third double-double of the season. By the end of the half, Georgia State led 28-15 and forced 14 turnovers. The second half opened much the same. Eric Terry scored a quick basket for Texas State, but then Georgia State’s defense clamped down and held Texas State scoreless for the next five minutes of game time. Georgia State’s offensive approach switched from the perimeter to attacking the rim and getting the ball inside. After scoring only four points in the paint, Georgia State scored 12 in the paint and attempted 20 free throws in the second half. Simonds was a big benefactor of the offensive shift. He was able to get to the free-throw line six times, converting all six, and ended the game with 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Texas State was able to get its offense going with two 3-pointers by Mason Harrell, who scored all 10 of his points in the second half. However, it was too little too late, and the Bobcats couldn’t get themselves out of the early hole. Texas State’s leading scorer Nijal Pearson was held scoreless and was 0-of-10 from the field. On the night, Texas State shot 13-of-61 (21.3 percent) from the field and committed 18 turnovers. The 46 points were a season-low for the Bobcats. Georgia State coach Ron Hunter said he and his team took the game personally. The Panthers thought they weren’t given the proper respect by either the media or other coaches in the league, and they played like they had something to prove. “They’ve got swag because we won the league and (Benlevi and Thomas) aren’t all-conference players,” Hunter said. “We don’t have anybody on all-conference but one guy. That’s why these guys have swag – we have something to prove. “As I told them, we don’t care about individual awards. All we care is who goes to the NCAA tournament and brings those banners home. That’s the swag we carry.” With the win Georgia State has a chance to repeat as Sun Belt tournament champions and win its third championship in five years. They also inched closer to clinching an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament. The Panthers will play the winner of UT-Arlington and Georgia Southern at 2 p.m. Sunday. The NCAA bracket will be released at 6 p.m. Sunday. 
  • Nerves? What nerves? Trevor Lawrence didn’t play like a 19-year-old true freshman as the quarterback led Clemson to the national championship with a 44-16 victory over Alabama Monday night at Levi Stadium. The moment was not too big. After watching last year’s national semifinal from his home in Cartersville, Lawrence saw Clemson fall to Alabama in the teams’ third straight CFP meeting. There would be one more time. Lawrence said he dreamed of a chance to play in such a game. “Yeah, I mean, it was just surreal,” Lawrence said when asked if the game lived up to his lofty expectations from a year ago. “So yeah, it was even better.” Lawrence became just the second true freshman starting quarterback to win a national championship, joining Oklahoma’s Jamelle Holieway in 1985. Clemson won it’s second national championship in three seasons, as it also beat Alabama for the title two seasons ago. Lawrence finished completing 20 of 32 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns and was never sacked. He was 8 of 11 for 240 yards with two touchdowns on third down alone, with his receivers hauling in one impressive catch after another. “The games like this you’ve got to make big plays, and the guys that we have, they definitely did that,” Lawrence said. “You just give them a chance, and they’ll come down with it. Like I said about the O-line, same thing about the receivers and running backs and everyone else. Just amazing players and really just so proud of — it took a lot to get here, but really just proud of those guys.” Not surprisingly, Lawrence was named the offensive MVP of the national championship game. Lawrence was the top recruit in the national when he came out of Cartersville High. He broke the Georgia state records for passing yards and passing touchdowns, eclipsing the marks of Deshaun Watson, who led Clemson to the national title. Lawrence was The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Player of the Year as a junior in 2016. The starting quarterback job was not handed to Lawrence when he arrived on the Clemson campus. He played behind Kelly Bryant, whom he replaced after the fourth game of the season. Bryant has since transferred. Clemson has not looked back after coach Dabo Swinney made the move. “I mean, I think some of that stuff came after, you know, but when it happened, I’m just like, OK, I’ve got to lock in this week, take it one week at a time,” Lawrence said. “We had a conversation, but we knew — the situation was I got the opportunity to start that week, and that was really it. But I feel like just trying to take it one week at a time and really everyone on our team has done that, and that’s why we’ve been so successful this year.” In the battle of young quarterbacks, Lawrence upstaged Alabama’s Heisman runner-up Tua Tagovailoa. Clemson will have the phenom for two more seasons before he would even be eligible for the NFL draft. For now, there is a moment to enjoy the accomplishment. “That doesn’t mean as much as being able to be a part of this team,” Lawrence said. “Really it’s true, even if we didn’t go all this way and win a national championship, this has been a team that I’ll never forget for one, and it’s just been amazing, the focus and how driven this team is has been unbelievable. Just these seniors, just taking me in, and they kind of dragged me along until I got my feet under me, and they just — they’re awesome people as well as players.”
  • NEW ORLEANS — Judging from his disposition after the Sugar Bowl, it’s not surprising that Isaac Nauta had played his last game with the Georgia Bulldogs. The junior tight end stood in the locker room and fielded reporters’ questions with his eyes blood red from crying. He was still emotional, 3o minutes after the 28-21 loss to Texas had been posted. “It’s emotional,” Nauta said. “You put a lot of time and effort and emotion into it and, you know, you look around the room at all the guys and the seniors and it’s not easy losing like that.” Isaac Nauta’s announcement from his Instagram account. He said then it’d be “a couple days” before he made a final decision on whether or not to turn pro. Right on time, Nauta made that announcement via his Instagram account on Friday afternoon. “After thinking through this decision and speaking with my family and coaches, I have decided to forego my senior season and declare for the 2019 draft,” Nauta said from his account, ijay18. “I truly feel in my heart this is the best decision for me, and I’m ready to pursue another life dream of mine, playing in the NFL.” Nauta certainly did good work at Georgia. A three-year starter for the Bulldogs, he finishes his college career with 68 catches for 902 yards and eight touchdowns. He might have been under-utilized as a receiver, following a freshman year of 29 catches with a sophomore season of nine. But he had 30 this past season and finished with a career-best 430 yards. He caught just one pass for three yards in Tuesday night’s loss to Texas. Heading into the game, Nauta hinted that it wasn’t going to be production or even money for him when it came to making his NFL decision. It was all about opportunity and timing. “How’s your body feel? How long can you do it? Is graduating and getting your degree important to you? Winning the national championship,” Nauta said two days before the Sugar Bowl “There’s so much stuff that goes into it and I think that’s what makes the decision so hard. I’ve definitely felt the weight of those questions, no doubt.” Nauta likely won’t be the only junior jumping to the NFL. Safety J.R. Reed and receivers Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley are also thought to be leaning that way. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Nauta has always thought big when it comes to his football career. A Buford native, he first distinguished himself at Georgia state high school powerhouse Buford High. But he transferred to IMG Academy in Florida to further test his athletic abilities and gain notice. It worked as Nauta left IMG as a 5-star prospect and the No. 1-rated tight end in America. He chose the Bulldogs over Alabama and dozens of other scholarship offers. Nauta considered returning to be part of a 2019 team he believes will contend for the national championship. In the end, his NFL dreams and a draft class that not brimming over with elite tight ends tipped the scales on his decision. “I’m proud to be a Georgia Bulldog,” Nauta wrote. “Being here in Athens and playing between the hedges on Saturdays has been a dream come true for me. I am forever grateful for my time at the University of Georgia.” Nauta’s departure will open up the competition at tight end for snaps next season. Freshman Luke Ford, who played a lot this past season, said he’s likely going to transfer to Illinois after this season. Junior Charlie Woerner is coming back after splitting time with Nauta and collecting 11 receptions for 145 yards this season. Freshman John FitzPatrick redshirted this past season and will be joined freshman signee Ryland Goede, a 4-star prospect out of Kennesaw. “Georgia’s going to be good for a long time and is always going to have good players,” Nauta said.         The post Georgia junior TE Isaac Nauta the first Bulldog to announce he’s entering NFL draft appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — The Georgia basketball team put its foot down Tuesday night, turning back Oakland’s comeback bid in the final minutes at Stegeman Coliseum. The Bulldogs (6-4) scored an 81-69 win over the Golden Grizzlies (4-8) before a small but spirited crowd. Georgia sophomore Nicolas Claxton recorded his fourth double-double of the season, scoring 17 points and pulling down 13 rebounds, helping the Bulldogs close out the win. Rayshawn Hammonds recorded the first double-double of his career with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The Bulldogs led by as many as 17 points before Oakland rallied in the second half, cutting the lead to two points at the 4:57 mark. Coach Tom Crean watched intently from the bench down the stretch, surely recalling last Saturday night’s collapse against No. 18 Arizona State. The Bulldogs led the Sun Devils by 18 points before falling at home, 76-74.     “We’ve got to learn how to finish a team off,” Crean had said. “It’s got to get better, and we have to find a way to close.” Georgia found a way on Tuesday night thanks to Claxton’s stepped up play in the final minutes. The 6-foot-11 forward proved just as formidable guarding the rim in the clutch moments. Senior point guard William “Turtle” Jackson came out of his shell in the first half, pacing the Bulldogs with 12 points through the first 20 minutes as they took a 45-34 lead into the half. Jackson, who hadn’t scored more than seven points in a game this season, finished with 14. The senior from Athens Christian School drilled his first four attempts from beyond the arc. Jackson’s shooting helped Georgia solve Oakland’s 1-3-1 zone early on to build a 27-10 lead. The Bulldogs return to action at Georgia Tech (5-4) at noon Saturday (ESPNU). DawgNation Georgia basketball Tom Crean positive about Georgia basketball modest start Georgia can’t hold 18-point lead, falls to Arizona State Bulldogs get hot-shooting night from Tyree Crump, rip Texas Southern Guards play well off bench in Georgia basketball win over Kennesaw State Tom Crean says Georgia basketball has ‘long ways to go’ after Cayman Classic   Georgia basketball sloppy in loss to Georgia State  Clemson too much for Georgia basketball in Cayman Classic Georgia basketball dominant in win over Illinois State Georgia gets fun-filled win over Sam Houston State   The post Not this time: Georgia basketball holds off Oakland rally for 81-69 win appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs will be to pick a big win at home against No. 20 Arizona State on Saturday. Below you can find information on the game time, TV channel on how to watch the game online. Georgia enters the game with a 5-3 record, having won its last two games Georgia Basketball-Arizona State: Game time The Georgia basketball game against Arizona State tips starts at 6:00 p.m. ET.  The Bulldogs have not lost at home yet, as they enter the game against the Sun Devils with a 4-0 record at home on the season. Georgia Basketball-Arizona State: TV Channel The Georgia basketball game can be seen on SEC Network. Georgia Basketball-Arizona State: How to watch online You can watch the Georgia Basketball game using the WatchESPN app. Georgia Basketball-Arizona State: How can I listen on the Radio? The Georgia Basketball-Arizona State game can be heard on the radio on WSB 750 AM. Scott Howard and Chuck Dowdle will be calling the game on radio. Georgia Basketball projected starters *Per Georgia Sports Information G: William “Turtle” Jackson, senior G: Teshaun Hightower, sophomore F: Rayshaun Hammonds, sophomore F: Nicolas Claxton, sophomore C: Derek Ogbeide, junior Georgia Basketball-Arizona State preview This will be Georgia’s first game since Dec. 3 against Texas Southern, where the Bulldogs came away with a 92-75 win. In that game, junior guard Tyree Crump scored a career-high 25 points in the win. The Bulldogs have won their last two games since losing 91-67 to Georgia State. The Bulldogs are led by sophomores Rayshaun Hammonds and Nicolas Claxton. Hammonds is the Bulldogs’ leading scorer as he averages 14.4 points per game and  6.4 rebounds a game. Claxton meanwhile is the team’s leading rebounder as he averages 9.0 per game while also chipping in 12.5 points per game. Arizona State is led by Luguentz Dort, as the freshman from Canada is averaging 22.4 points per game. Related: Tom Crean urges Georgia fans to pack The Steg on Saturday for No. 20 Arizona State Arizona State is the first ranked non-conference opponent to play in Stegeman Coliseum since 2010. In that game, the Bulldogs came away with a 73-66 win over No. 20 Georgia Tech. Georgia did drop a game against then No. 16 Clemson earlier in the season. This will be the second time that Arizona State and Georgia have met, with the first coming back in 1989. The Bulldogs take on the Yellow Jackets next Saturday in Atlanta. But before that, Georgia hosts Oakland on Tuesday. The tip for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. Best stories from around DawgNation Handing out our own Georgia football awards for the 2018 season Your holiday 3-pack: Kirby the Closer, running down Bama and solving the Great 8 Debate Georgia football podcast: Some Alabama fans complain about ‘Kirby shenanigans’ in recruiting Isaiah Wilson a block of granite in Georgia Bulldogs’ offensive line 5-star Nakobe Dean breaks down Alabama and Georgia on the verge of his decision Georgia football podcast: 5-star WR Jadon Haselwood apparently likes what he’s seen from UGA’s offense DN90: Georgia football recruiting target to reveal commitment on ESPN Former Bulldog Arthur Lynch explains his incredible journey from football field to the military The post Georgia basketball-Arizona State State: Game time, TV Channel, how to watch online appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Nine months after being named Georgia’s basketball coach, Tom Crean is still campaigning hard for his new program. The Bulldogs (5-3) are getting ready to play host to Arizona State at Stegeman Coliseum, the first of a set of four tough games for the remainder of December. He knows his fledgling, young team is going to need all the help it can get against the No. 20-ranked Sun Devils (7-1), and Crean is a big believer in big crowds being a big help.           The trouble is, UGA just broke for the holiday. Fall semester exams wrapped up on Wednesday and most of the school’s 30,000 students have abandoned campus.           But that hasn’t deterred Crean. Ever the optimistic salesman, he’s stumping for a packed house for Saturday evening’s 6 p.m. tilt. “It’s important we get a sellout crowd; that’s real important to help energize us,” Crean said before the Bulldogs practiced Thursday morning. “If you beat Arizona State you’re doing something, because they’re good. They’re going to win a ton of games. They’re a legit team, if not the front-runner to win that league (Pac-12). … It’s extremely important, no doubt about it. We’re playing an outstanding team.”           That they are. The Sun Devils, who are expected to contend for the Pac-12 title this season, just lost for the first time all season and were impressive even in defeat. They led No. 6-ranked Nevada by 15 points in the first half and by 12 at halftime before finally succumbing to the Wolf Pack 72-66 in a game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. As has been the case in nearly every game this season, Arizona State was led by dynamic freshman Lugunentz Dort. The 6-foot-4 freshman guard, who averages 22 a game, had 24 against Nevada, a team many are expecting to play deep into March.           Georgia doesn’t harbor such expectations right at this minute. The Bulldogs have wilted in the face of their most intense challenges to date. They offered little resistance to 16th-ranked Clemson (64-49) and Georgia State (91-67) in the final two rounds of the Cayman Islands Classic and got down by a bunch quickly before rallying to put a scare in Temple on the road (81-77).           But those games all took place out of town. The Bulldogs are home for four of the next six, starting with the Sun Devils, and home is where the W’s reside.           While it always is and will be about the team that takes the floor, Crean believes a great atmosphere can help good teams play great.           “It’s something we’ve been addressing since March 15th,” said Crean, who is 4-0 at The Steg so far. “We’ve got to have a tremendous crowd. If we’re going to build this program to where everybody wants it to be and recruit the way everybody wants us to recruit and the way we want to recruit, the atmosphere of games has to be phenomenal. It’s not just how great the music is and how wonderful the band and the cheerleaders and the dance squads are — they are. We’ve got to have people there. We’ve got to have it loud.”           So Crean is not above creating any sort of promotion to get butts in the seats. Saturday is no exception. It’s “Tacky Christmas Sweater” Night. Fans are welcomed to wear their own tacky Christmas sweaters to the game, but the first 1,000 spectators to show up will get a free tacky Christmas sweater T-shirt.           Crean brought one of the T-shirts with him to this Thursday’s press conference to discuss the Arizona State game. “I don’t think I’ll wear one, but I like it,” he said. “Very, very creative. I’ve seen some ugly Christmas sweaters before. This one’s pretty cool.”           The gimmicks are fun, but Crean knows better than anybody his squad has to play better and beat some quality opponents to keep folks coming back. Beating a team of the ilk of Arizona State would be great first step.           To do that, Georgia’s has clean up its game. Averaging nearly 17 turnovers a game, the Bulldogs can start by taking better care of the basketball. Crean also is looking for improved offensive rebounding, better free throw shooting and less fouling.           All those traits need to be present against the Sun Devils, who are averaging 14 offensive rebounds and 29 free throws a night. Controlling Dort will, of course, be a key. A Top 30 national recruit from Montreal (who spent two years playing basketball in Florida), it was Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley who beat out several basketball powerhouses for Dort’s services.           The freshman hasn’t disappointed. Equally adept at shooting 3s or driving to the basket, Dort had a 33-point game against Utah State and has scored 24 points or more in half the Sun Devils’ game. Built like a football player, he’s an equally effective on-the-ball defender.           “He’s a solid player,” said Georgia sophomore Nicolas Claxton, who is the only SEC player to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. “We’ve game-planned for him. We know he’s going to come in here and play hard. They’ll be a strong test but we’ll be ready for them.”           It won’t be easy for the Bulldogs to be sharp. Saturday will be 12 days since their last game due to final exams. But Crean has been working them hard in practice, particularly this week as testing concluded midweek.           After consecutive days of what players characterized as “very intense” practices and scrimmages, the Bulldogs are ready to play somebody else. Their hope is that their fan base will also be ready on Saturday as well.           Georgia traditionally has drawn pretty good crowds to Stegeman for SEC play, which annually begins after the New Year. But due in part to the excitement of Crean’s hire and his boundless promotional presence, the Bulldogs already have established a school record by selling out three regular-season games before the season even started. They’ve since added two more sellouts to the ledger, giving UGA its most capacity crowds for men’s basketball since the 2002-03 season.           And Georgia is drawing pretty well early on this season. It has averaged 7,240 in the four games so far, including 9,018 for the season opener against Savannah State. That was most for a UGA home opener since Dominique Wilkins’ sophomore season in 1981.           The Bulldogs could use a good, strong representation on Saturday as well. Crean believes it can make a difference. “There’s no question (Stegeman) can be a tremendously tough place to play with 10½-thousand in there and the acoustics the way that they are,” Crean said. “We’ve just got to put people in there. There’s been a lot of tickets sold. … But if we want the level of program we want here, we’ve got to have great crowds.”           The post             WATCH: Tom Crean urges Georgia fans to pack The Steg on Saturday for No. 20 Arizona State appeared first on             DawgNation.          
  • ATHENS — Georgia basketball doesn’t take the court for another game until next Saturday, but when the Bulldogs do, you can bet junior Tyree Crump will be a focal point. Crump, a junior from Bainbridge, had a breakout game in Georgia’s 92-75 win over Texas Southern on Monday night, and more figures to be ahead for the Bulldogs’ long-distance sharpshooter. Georgia coach Tom Crean indicated Crump is precisely the sort of open floor player needed to make his uptempo game work. It didn’t take long for Crean to notice him. “I think early on when I got here you could tell there was a lot to his game that could improve,” Crean said. “There’s a lot of room for upside with him.” Crump might not have been the best fit for previous Coach Mark Fox’s deliberate style. But as much as Crean recognized Crump’s talents and abilities, Crump was immediately charged up by his new basketball coach. “He came in and he said ‘We want to play fast and we want to shoot three,’   and my eyes got big and my ears got big and I thought this is the perfect offense for me,” Crump said. “So we tried to listen to everything he said, and it’s carrying over into the season.” The Bulldogs will bring a 5-3 record into next Saturday’s 6 p.m. home game against No. 20 Arizona State in Stegeman Coliseum. The Sun Devils already have beaten one SEC team, winning at Mississippi State on Nov. 19 by a 72-67 count. Arizona State will put its perfect 7-0 record on the line on Saturday when it plays No. 6-ranked Nevada at noon. Crean indicated he’ll keep looking to get Crump free for more shots in the offense. “We want to move him, get him off screens, get him lost in the defense,” Crean said. “There becomes a comfort level that you have in a game like tonight, and he did a good job of playing through fatigue.” Crump is shooting 46.2 percent beyond the 3-point arc (18-of-39), significantly better than the next best player who has at least 10 attempts, Rayshaun Hmmonds (6-of-15). For all that Crean is trying to instill in Georgia basketball, it ultimately comes down to the time players are spending in the gym on their own to perfect their shot. It’s clear Crump is doing his work, and therefor he’ll be getting more opportunities moving forward. Here’s a look at others 3-point shooting percentage who have attempted 10 or more 3-point shots and how many minutes they average: Tyree Crump, 19.9 minutes, 18-of-39, 46.2 percent Rayshaun Hammonds, 24.5 minutes, 6-of-15, 40.0 percent Teshaun Hightower, 17.5 minutes, 7-of-25, 28.0 percent Nicolas Claxton, 27.5 minutes, 4-of-15, 26.7 percent William Jackson, 17.9 minutes, 4-of-17, 23.5 percent Georgia basketball’s Tyree Crump & Derek Ogbeide   DawgNation Georgia basketball Bulldogs get hot-shooting night from Tyree Crump, rip Texas Southern Guards play well off bench in Georgia basketball win over Kennesaw State Tom Crean says Georgia basketball has ‘long ways to go’ after Cayman Classic Georgia basketball sloppy in loss to Georgia State  Clemson too much for Georgia basketball in Cayman Classic Georgia basketball dominant in win over Illinois State Georgia gets fun-filled win over Sam Houston State The post Georgia basketball guard Tyree Crump 3-point output leads Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean is not ready to say the Bulldogs are an NCAA Tournament team – that’s a hypothetical , but he does like the progress he’s seen. He just hasn’t seen enough from the Bulldogs (5-3) to feel comfortable talking about postseason goals at this stage of the season. “Everything has got to get better,” Crean said after the Bulldogs scored a 92-75 win over Texas Southern on Monday night in Stegeman Coliseum. “It’s a constant evaluation of what we can do better.” RELATED: Georgia basketball stays perfect at home “We’re trying to build an identity, and that’s what it takes time for a team to learn.” Crean liked the 18 assists on the Bulldogs’ 32 made baskets, “good considering we’re not a huge assist team, because there’s so much driving,” he said. But there are still plenty of things for Georgia basketball to improve on before any sort of relevant NCAA Tournament talk. “We don’t have to make the game harder than it is, and right now we make the game harder than it is,” Crean said. “We don’t do a great job communicating, and one of the things we need to do is communicate better in that zone we were in the second half. “Right now, I’m just trying to get my team better than to worry about the NCAA Tournament, that’s way down the road.” Georgia basketball Plus-Minus The Bulldogs enjoyed their biggest margin of success with Nicolas Claxton on the floor, outscoring Texas Southern by 17 with him on the floor. Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean     DawgNation Georgia basketball Guards play well off bench in Georgia basketball win over Kennesaw State Tom Crean says Georgia basketball has ‘long ways to go’ after Cayman Classic   Georgia basketball sloppy in loss to Georgia State  Clemson too much for Georgia basketball in Cayman Classic Georgia basketball dominant in win over Illinois State Georgia gets fun-filled win over Sam Houston State   The post WATCH Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean: Not ready for NCAA tourney hypotheticals appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS —Georgia basketball protected their home court on Monday night, turning back upset-minded Texas Southern at Stegeman Coliseum. First-year Bulldogs coach Tom Crean kept Georgia perfect at home (4-0) with the 92-75 victory before the crowd of 6,801. Tyree Crump led the Bulldogs (5-3) with a career-high 25 points over a Tigers’ team (3-6) that beat No. 16-ranked Oregon last Monday by an 89-84 count in Eugene. Crump, a junior guard who shares the hometown of Bainbridge (Ga.) with Kirby Smart,  was 5-of-7 shooting beyond the 3-point arc, leading a Bulldogs’ season-best 11-off-22 (.500) 3-point barrage. Crump went on a 12-0 run midway through the second half as Georgia led by as many as 25 points. Bulldogs’ senior center Derek Ogbeide had 13 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season and the 8th of his career. Sophomore Nicolas Claxton had 15 points,  nine rebounds and three blocked shots before fouling out with 2:47 remaining. Rayshaun Hammonds, UGA’s leading scorer (14.4 points per game) had 14 points and seven rebounds. It was Georgia’s first game since an 84-51 win over Kennesaw State last Tuesday, and that was very much by design. “Certainly, we weren’t going to schedule a game last (SEC football championship) weekend and it turned out to be a very smart move,” Crean said. “We left it open and we’ll do it again next year, we’ll leave that open as far as home games. “I don’t want to be coaching on a day that (Georgia football) is playing. I want to be able to watch it.“ Crean said it’s healthy for his players to watch the Bulldogs’ football team and build relationships with the players, as well. “I don’t think you can help but to get better by observing what they’re doing,” Crean said, “be around what they’re doing and being friends with those guys.” Texas Southern and Arizona State — the Bulldogs’ next opponent at 6 p.m. on Dec. 15 — were two teams Crean added to the schedule when he took the Georgia job. “Arizona State, their ranking will probably grow, they just continue to improve,” Crean said. “They’re so much deeper than they were a year ago, (and) they’re very active, they can really shoot the ball. “They’re playing without Remy Martin, he’s playing but he’s not as effective yet because of his injuries, but that will be another one that will be a tremendous atmosphere, test, challenge, on that Saturday.” DawgNation Georgia basketball Guards play well off bench in Georgia basketball win over Kennesaw State Tom Crean says Georgia basketball has ‘long ways to go’ after Cayman Classic Georgia basketball sloppy in loss to Georgia State  Clemson too much for Georgia basketball in Cayman Classic Georgia basketball dominant in win over Illinois State Georgia gets fun-filled win over Sam Houston State   The post Georgia basketball stays perfect at home, turns back Texas Southern appeared first on DawgNation.

News

  • A California girl managed to avoid a man following her in a car as she walked through a Vacaville neighborhood by hiding behind a parked truck. >> Read more trending news  Home surveillance video captured the incident, which happened earlier this month, and shows the girl being followed by a dark colored Pontiac driven by an adult man. The girl is clearly trying to avoid the man as he repeatedly turns around and tries to approach her. Vacaville police Capt. Matt Lydon said when the girl first noticed she was being followed, she walked to a different neighborhood and the driver followed.  Trending: Children find their lost puppy hanging from noose in woods behind home “As she walked into the adjacent neighborhood, she saw the Pontiac again,” Lydon said, according to KRON-TV. “She hid behind a parked truck on the street as the male went up and down the street a couple of times attempting to get her attention and attempting to have a conversation with her.” The video shows the girl hide behind the truck as the car repeatedly drives by, backs up and stops as the driver tries to engage in a conversation with her. >> Trending: Opossum found living in 7-year-old’s bedroom for 3 days before parents find it  When the car appears to drive off, the girl takes off running. Police are hoping someone may be able to help identify the driver and the car.
  • Nine explosions hit multiple churches, hotels and other locations in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 300 people and injuring hundreds more, according to The Associated Press and other media outlets. >> Read more trending news  The victims included at least four Americans, State Department officials said Monday. Here are the latest updates:  Update 11:30 p.m. EDT April 23: Police said the death toll in the Easter attacks has risen to 359 and more suspects have been arrested. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara also said Wednesday morning that 18 suspects were arrested overnight, raising the total detained to 58. The prime minister warned on Tuesday that several suspects armed with explosives were still at large. Update 1 p.m. EDT April 23: Sunday’s bombings claimed the lives of 45 children, officials with the United Nation’s Children’s Fund said Tuesday in a statement. “Many children have lost one or both parents, and countless children have witnessed shocking and senseless violence,” UNICEF officials said. More than 320 people were killed and 500 injured in the bombings. Update 7:11 a.m. EDT April 23: The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the deadly Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, the Guardian and the Washington Post are reporting. The group, which has lost all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria, has made a series of unsupported claims of responsibility. Update 5:55 a.m. EDT April 23: Sri Lankan officials said the death toll from Sunday’s bombings has risen to 321, the Guardian and the Washington Post reported Tuesday. The news came as Sri Lankan Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the attacks were “carried out in retaliation” for the deadly mosque shootings in New Zealand last month, according to The Associated Press. So far, at least 40 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks, authorities said. Meanwhile, the country observed a day of mourning, including a three-minute moment of silence Tuesday morning. Mass burials also were held in Negombo, the Guardian reported. Officials have declared a state of emergency in Sri Lanka, giving military officials “enhanced war-time powers,” the AP reported. Authorities also are facing criticism amid reports that a top police official sent a letter April 11 to four security agencies warning that terror group National Towheed Jamaar was planning suicide bombings at churches, the AP reported. Update 9:45 p.m. EDT April 22: Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, issued a statement in response to the bombings.  “Today as a nation we mourn the senseless loss of innocent lives this past Easter Sunday. I would like to thank the military and police forces, the medical personnel and all those who have worked bravely and tirelessly without concern for their own safety, to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. It is imperative  that we remain unified as Sri Lankans in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.” A three-minute moment of silence for the victims of the explosions will be held at 8:30 a.m. local time, according to BBC reporter Azzam Ameen. Update 8 p.m. EDT April 22: The two Australians who officials said had been killed in the explosions have been identified by a family member. Sudesh Kolonne told Australian Broadcasting Corp. his wife, Manik Suriaaratchi, and their 1-year-old daughter Alexendria were killed in an attack in Negombo, which is north of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. Kolonne said he was outside when the explosion happened. “I heard a huge noise and I jumped into the church and I saw that my wife and my daughter were on the floor,” he said. “I just saw my daughter on the floor and I tried to lift her up, (but) she was already dead. And (then) exactly the same… next my wife is there.” Kolonne said he and his family moved from Melbourne to Sri Lanka in 2014 when his wife started a consultancy business.  “I don’t know what to do,” he said. “We used to go to that church every Sunday. We never expected this.” Update 4:50 p.m. EDT April 22: A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed to The AP that the agency is providing assistance with the investigation into the bombings. She would not provide specifics. Update 3:50 p.m. EDT April 22: In an email to parents, officials at Sidwell Friends, a private school in the Washington-area, confirmed one of their students was killed in Sunday’s bombings, The Washington Post reported. School officials identified the student as Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa, a fifth-grade boy who had been on leave in Sri Lanka for the last year, according to the Post. “Kieran was passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and he was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends this coming school year,” school officials said in the letter. “We are beyond sorry not to get the opportunity to welcome Kieran to the Middle School.” State Department officials said earlier Monday that at least four Americans were among the nearly 300 people killed in Sunday’s attacks. Officials with the English education management company Pearson confirmed that one of the company’s Denver-based employees had also been killed in the bombings. Update 3 p.m. EDT April 22: Officials with the U.S. State Department confirmed Monday that at least four Americans were among the nearly 300 people killed in Sunday’s bombings in Sri Lanka. The department said that in addition to those killed, several others were seriously injured. Officials gave no details about the identities of the victims, citing privacy concerns. Earlier Monday, officials with the English education management company Pearson confirmed that one of the company’s Denver-based employees had been killed in the bombings. Pearson CEO John Fallon said Dieter Kowalski died shortly after arriving at his hotel in Sri Lanka for a business trip. Update 2:10 p.m. EDT April 22: President Donald Trump said he spoke Monday to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe after a series of bomb attacks in the country. In a tweet, Trump said he told Wickremesinghe “the United States stands by him and his country in the fight against terrorism.” “(I) also expressed condolences on behalf of myself and the People of the United States,” Trump wrote. Earlier Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed the government would provide “all possible assistance” to help in the investigation. Update 1:50 p.m. EDT April 22: Sri Lankan President Maithrpala Sirisena declared April 23 a national day of mourning in a statement obtained Monday by The Associated Press. In the statement, Sirisena said he planned to meet with foreign diplomats to seek international assistance. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier Monday that the U.S. would provide “all possible assistance” to help in the investigation. Officials said nearly 40 foreign tourists from 11 countries were killed in Sunday’s attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.  Update 11:20 a.m. EDT April 22: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday mourned the victims of Sunday’s bomb attacks in Sri Lanka and promised the government would provide “all possible assistance” to Americans and Sri Lankans alike. Related: Sri Lanka attacks: Who are the National Thowheed Jamath? “We urge that any evil-doers be brought to justice expeditiously and America is prepared to support that,” he Pompeo said. “We also stand with the millions of Sri Lankas who support the freedom of their fellow citizens to worship as they please.” Pompeo confirmed that Americans were among those killed in Sunday’s attack, though he didn’t specify the number of American victims. “It’s heartbreaking that a country which has strived so hard for peace in recent years has been targeted by these terrorists,” he said. Related: Sri Lanka attack: Danish billionaire loses three of his four children in bombings Update 9:50 am. EDT April 22: A Denver man has been identified as one of the nearly 300 people killed Sunday in bombings in Sri Lanka, his employer confirmed Monday. Dieter Kowalski worked as senior leader of the operation technical services team for Pearson, an education management company. Though the company is based in England, Kowalski worked in Pearson’s Denver office, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.  “Colleagues who knew Dieter well talk about how much fun he was to be around, how big-hearted and full-spirited he was,” Pearson CEO John Fallon said in a statement shared with company employees and posted Monday on LinkedIn. “They tell of a man to whom we could give our ugliest and most challenging of engineering problems, knowing full well that he would jump straight in and help us figure it out. Dieter, they tell me, was never happier than cheer-leading for our customers and our company and inspiring people in the best way he knew how – by helping them to fix things and doing it with joy, happiness and grace.” Fallon said Kowalski died shortly after arriving at his hotel Sunday for a business trip. Update 7:55 a.m. EDT April 22: Three children of Anders Holch Povlsen, who owns Bestseller clothing, were killed in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. The 46-year-old Danish billionaire, who is also the largest shareholder in ASOS, and his family were on vacation in Sri Lanka, the AP reported. Authorities said 39 foreigners were among the 290 people killed in Sunday’s attacks.  Meanwhile, a vehicle parked near St. Anthony’s Shrine, one of the churches that was bombed Sunday, exploded Monday as police tried to defuse three bombs inside, according to the AP. At least 87 bomb detonators have been found in Colombo, officials said. Police have detained at least 24 suspects in connection with Sunday’s bombings. Update 5:15 a.m. EDT April 22:  Government officials said the National Thowheed, a Sri Lankan militant group, was responsible for Sunday’s deadly attacks, the Guardian is reporting. However, a government spokesman said an “international network” helped the attackers. Seven suicide bombers caused six of the nine explosions Sunday, a forensic analyst told The Associated Press. Authorities also said a second Chinese citizen and two Australian citizens were among those killed in Sunday’s attacks. So far, the dead include citizens of the United States, India, Britain, China, Australia, Japan and Portugal, the AP reported. Meanwhile, a Sri Lanka military official said crews defused a homemade pipe bomb discovered late Sunday on a road to the airport outside Colombo, the AP reported. Update 12:10 a.m. EDT April 22: The death toll in the bombings has increased to 290 and more than 500 people have been wounded, according to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara. Among those killed are five Indians, who were identified in tweets from India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, The AP reported. China and Portugal also said they lost citizens, and the U.S. said “several” Americans were also killed in the bombings. The AP reported Sri Lankan officials said they would examine reports that intelligence failed to heed or detect warnings of a possible suicide attack.  “Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence,” Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando said in a tweet, according to The AP. “Therefore there was a delay in action. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored.”  Update 9:50 p.m. EDT April 21: Japan has confirmed at least one citizen death and four injuries from the bombings. The country has issued a safety warning to Japanese people in the country, telling them to avoid mosques, churches and public places like clubs, malls and government offices, The AP reported. Foreign Minister Taro Kono expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka and sent his condolences to victims of the explosions. He also said Japan was committed to “combating terrorism.” Update 5:40 p.m. EDT April 21: The Associated Press reported that, according to internet censorship monitoring group NetBlocks, social media has been blocked across the country after the attacks. Most services, including YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook have been temporarily blacked out to curb false information spread, according to Sri Lankan officials. According to NetBlocks, such blackouts are usually ineffective. Related: Sri Lanka explosions: Sri Lanka shuts down social media in wake of Easter attacks “We are aware of the government’s statement regarding the temporary blocking of social media platforms,” Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, said in a statement to The AP. “People rely on our services to communicate with their loved ones and we are committed to maintaining our services and helping the community and the country during this tragic time.” Update 3:28 p.m. EDT April 21: Police have 13 suspects in custody, impounded a vehicle they believed was used by suspects and located a safe house used by the attackers.  Related: Photos: Easter Sunday blasts at Sri Lanka churches, hotels kill dozens No one has claimed responsibility for what Sri Lankan officials have described as a terrorist attack by religious extremists. Update 9:28 a.m. EDT April 21: Police have so far arrested three people in connection to the blasts, The Guardian reported. A motive for the bombings is still unclear, investigators said.  Update 8:46 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 207 people were killed and 450 hurt in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. Officials said eight blasts targeted three churches, three hotels, a guesthouse and an area near a Dematagoda overpass, the AP reported. Authorities reportedly have arrested seven people in connection with the incidents. Update 8:07 a.m. EDT April 21: Sri Lankan officials say at least 190 people, including at least 27 foreigners and two police officers, were killed in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. Seven people have been arrested in connection with the eight explosions, which rocked at least three churches and three hotels, as well as a guesthouse, officials said. Update 7:35 a.m. EDT April 21: President Donald Trump tweeted condolences to the Sri Lankan people Sunday morning. “The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka,” Trump tweeted. “We stand ready to help!” Update 7:19 a.m. EDT April 21: Hours after explosions at Sri Lankan churches and hotels left dozens dead and hundreds more injured, Pope Francis prayed for the victims during his annual Easter message at the Vatican. Related: Sri Lanka explosions: Pope denounces attacks during Easter blessing “I wish to express my heartfelt closeness to the Christian community (of Sri Lanka), wounded as it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence,” Francis told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square, according to Vatican News. He later added: “I entrust to the Lord all those who have tragically perished, and I pray for the injured and all those who suffer as a result of this tragic event.” Every year after leading Easter Mass, the pope delivers an “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”) message, which addresses global issues and conflicts. Update 5:32 a.m. EDT April 21: Two more blasts have been reported in Sri Lanka. A seventh explosion hit a hotel in Dehiwala, and an eighth blast was reported in the capital, Agence France-Presse is reporting. Update 4:20 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 156 people were killed in blasts at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, Agence France-Presse is reporting. The dead include 35 foreigners, officials said. Update 3:34 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 137 people were killed in blasts at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, Agence France-Presse is reporting. The dead include 45 people in Colombo, 67 in Negombo and 25 in Batticaloa, officials said. At least nine of the people killed were foreigners, the news agency reported. More than 500 people were hurt in the explosions, according to The Associated Press. Original report:  Explosions hit three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing dozens of people and injuring nearly 300 more, news outlets are reporting. According to The Associated Press, blasts occurred Sunday morning at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and a church in Batticaloa. Explosions also rocked the Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand and Shangri La hotels in Colombo, the BBC reported. The Agence France-Presse news agency said 52 people died in the blasts. At least 283 people were taken to the hospital, the AP reported. Suicide bombers may have caused at least two of the church blasts, a security official told the AP.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Britney Spears appeared on Instagram on Tuesday evening to tell her fans that “all is well.” >> Read more trending news In the very brief Instagram video, Spears checked in, saying she “just needed time to deal,” but promised that she would be back very soon. “I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said. I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me. Don’t believe everything you read and hear. These fake emails everywhere were crafted by Sam Lutfi years ago... I did not write them. He was pretending to be me and communicating with my team with a fake email address. My situation is unique, but I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment 🌸🌸🌸 You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want! Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. If you could do that, I would be forever grateful. Love you” Earlier this month, Spears checked herself into a mental health facility as her father, Jamie Spears, continues to have health issues, according to TMZ. The celebrity news site reported that, according to unnamed sources, the singer has been distressed over her father’s illness, which the site claims is not getting better. In January, Spears announced that she was putting her planned Las Vegas residency — and the rest of her career — on hold for the sake of her father. The 37-year-old Spears has sons aged 13 and 12. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Children as old as 12, and even 13, may find themselves back in car booster seats under new legislation signed into law by Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee. >> Read more trending news  The new law updates children’s car seat regulations, requiring all children under 4 feet, 9 inches tall to ride in car booster seats.  According to House Bill 1012, children are required to sit in booster seats in vehicles “until the vehicle lap and shoulder seat belts fit properly, typically when the child is between the ages of eight and twelve years of age, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, or must be properly secured with the motor vehicle's safety belt properly adjusted and fastened around the child's body.” The new law also requires all children under 13 to ride in the back seat and requires children under 2 to ride in rear-facing car seats. “Children aged 2 to 4 can be forward-facing in a car seat until they reach the specifications for a booster seat,” according to the new law. >> Trending: Opossum found living in 7-year-old’s bedroom for 3 days before parents find it  People in violation of the law can be ticketed.
  • An Ohio 9-year-old boy performing in drag at a Lancaster bar prompted an Ohio lawmaker to introduce a bill to expand the definition of child endangerment. State Rep. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, introduced House Bill 180 to prohibit a performance in a bar where a child simulates sexual activity. The business could lose its liquor license and the parent could face misdemeanor criminal charges, if the bill becomes law. >> Read more trending news “Given our heightened focus on human trafficking and the role money plays in trafficking children, I knew I had to take action to make sure this activity does not occur again,” Schaffer said. “We can do better to protect innocent children and we must do better.” Related: Video of the boy’s performance Jacob Measley has been performing as Miss Mae Hem for several months, according to The (Toledo) Blade. His performance includes cartwheels, high kicks, splits and dancing in costume. He got interested in drag queens while watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, a reality TV show, with his mom, Jerri Measley, The Blade reported. She could not be reached for comment on this story. Video of a Dec. 1, 2018 performance at JD Hendersons bar in Lancaster led to complaints and an investigation by Lancaster police and state agencies, said Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler. No law violations were found, he said. After the investigations ended, a “social media outbreak” occurred when a website purporting to be the city of Lancaster made it sound like it was an ongoing issue, Scheffler said. “It was all dead, gone, over. Investigation found no violations. Then someone anonymously on this site posted inaccurate information.” The posting led to threats of violence and demands to close the bar from people across the country, the mayor said. “It got really nasty.”
  • A Georgia woman has pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing her husband and four children, and stabbing a fifth child, who survived, the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office said. >> Read more trending news Isabel Martinez, 35, entered guilty pleas to five counts of murder, one count of aggravated assault and one count of cruelty to children Tuesday. Martinez's defense attorney, Don Geary, said she pleaded guilty, but mentally ill. Martinez called 911 on July 6, 2017. When paramedics arrived at her Loganville home, they found Martinez with her wrists slashed. Martinez’s husband, Martin Romero, 33, was found stabbed to death, along with 10-year-old Isabela Martinez, 2-year-old Axel Romero, 7-year-old Dacota Romero and 4-year-old Dillan Martin-Romero. Diana Romero, then age 9, was found with stab wounds, but survived. Diana Romero told a DFCS worker that Martinez began stabbing the children first; when Martin Romero tried to stop her, Martinez stabbed him, according to a DFCS report. Martinez was not crying or screaming as she killed her family members, and told Diana Romero that she was “going to the sky to see Jesus,” Diana Romero told a DFCS worker. Martinez confessed to the killings in the following hours and was arrested, according to the DA’s office. Later, she claimed a “family friend” committed the stabbings in her Loganville home, but she did not give police the name of that alleged friend.  The Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office declined to seek the death penalty in this case in part due to Martinez’s “apparent mental issues,” District Attorney Danny Porter said in 2018. Family and neighbors said Martinez was depressed in the weeks before she killed her family. Her father had died and Martinez was unable to attend the funeral in Mexico. She worried that he would go to hell because he practiced witchcraft, her brother-in-law, Orlando Romero, told the AJC. She told a Department of Family and Child services worker after her arrest that she felt a “devil-like spirit” was trying to take her children when they were playing in the ocean near Savannah shortly before the killings.  Martinez was sentenced to five life sentences with the possibility of parole plus 21 years after entering her plea Tuesday, according to the DA’s office.