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    The “most important” part of the season may not begin until next Saturday, but Georgia men’s basketball will attempt to end its non-conference slate on the right note Sunday evening. Considering the Bulldogs face an opponent they lost to last season, the team’s final game of the 2018 calendar year against UMass is rather important too. In order to win, Georgia will be aiming for more activity on the defensive end. The Bulldogs (7-4) play the UMass Minutemen (7-5) at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens (TV: SEC Network). All season long, first-year coach Tom Crean has preached active defense. The No. 1 recipe to that is what he calls “deflections.” ”I was told a long time ago – and I don’t think you can say it any better – deflections are barometer of active defense,” Crean said following the victory against Sam Houston State. “It’s any type of activity on the ball. It’s a finger tip, a hand, blocked shots, chargers, a steal. That’s what we’re aiming for. I want our team at a deflection-to-turnover ratio of 3.5-to-1. To me, that is an optimal number.” The Bulldogs keep track of Crean’s created deflection stat, and like so many other important statistical categories, sophomore Nicolas Claxton leads the team with 105 deflections. Claxton also leads the Bulldogs in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks per game. UMass won the only previous meeting in this series, beating Georgia last season, 72-62, at Mullins Center in Amherst, MA. The Bulldogs enter Sunday having won four of their last five after losing their final two games of the Cayman Islands Classic. In their last game, the Bulldogs defeated in-state rival Georgia Tech, 70-59, at the McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta. Georgia is 5-1 at home this season. UMass also possesses seven victories in 2018-19, but the Minutemen have alternated wins and losses each of the last seven games. They edged Fairleigh Dickinson in their last game, 85-84, on Dec. 21. The Minutemen recently played Temple as well, losing to the Owls, 65-63. Georgia also lost to Temple, 81-77, in the second game of the season. That’s the only opponent Georgia and UMass have in common during the 2018-19 season. DawgNation Georgia basketball Georgia basketball’s Tom Crean: Through lends of friend and mentor Tom Izzo WATCH: Georgia basketball rising star Nicolas Claxton a gift that keeps giving WATCH: Tom Crean shares surprising Georgia basketball history, daunting challenges ahead Georgia basketball beats Georgia Tech 70-59, wins fourth straight in rivalry Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean embraces showdown at Georgia Tech WATCH: Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean preaches winning ways to Bulldogs UGA learns its lesson from Tom Crean, holds off Oakland rally 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 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 looking for more active defense in non-conference final against UMass appeared first on DawgNation.
  • EAST LANSING, Mich. — Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean is no stranger to rebuilding programs, and no one knows that better than College Basketball Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo. Izzo, who has led Michigan State to a national championship along with seven Final Fours and 13 Big Ten titles, remembers making Crean his first hire when he took over the Spartans’ program 23 years ago. RELATED: Tom Crean shares shocking UGA history “Tom Crean helped me build this thing, he was phenomenal,” Izzo told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and DawgNation in an exclusive interview. “I had gotten Time hired as a graduate assistant (1989, when Judd Heathcote was still ahead coach), and as soon as I got this job, he was the first guy I went after. “I knew he was a relentless worker, good recruiter, a very good Xs and Os guy, and he was driven.” Crean has show those qualities to Bulldogs fans already this season with Georgia off to a 7-4 start including last Saturday’s impressive 70-59 road win at Georgia Tech and the 76-74 near-miss against a Top 20-ranked Arizona State team earlier this month. RELATED: Georgia gets key road win at Georgia Tech Current situation Izzo has taken note of Crean’s early success after taking over a downtrodden Georgia basketball program that has been to the NCAA Tournament just once in the past seven years. “I’m glad he’s not in my conference, but I’m also glad he’s back in it,” Izzo said. “I think people there will enjoy him, and I think he’ll build it, they just have to give him a little time and let him get all the people in there he needs.” Izzo said Georgia can build a basketball program alongside its championship caliber football program, much like he has been able to do at Michigan State and Florida and Ohio State have done. “I think this is a football school 1A, and 1B, it’s a basketball school, Florida got to be the same,” Izzo said. “Ohio State is probably a little more football, but it’s a pretty good basketball school. “There’s no reason at Georgia you can’t do that. I know there’s players in the State of Georgia. Atlanta, it’s like Chicago an Detroit, lots of people recruiting the city, but the players are there.” Football background Crean, like Izzo, has an innate love of football that works to his advantage at the college level. “Tom is smart and he has a lot of good football friends, pro and college, and he uses football to help him in basketball,” Izzo said. “I think he’ll do that at Georgia, because I think he’ll get along with the football guys. “I don’t think there will be jealousy because he’s been brought up a football guy.” Indeed, Crean is married into the Harbaugh family, and maintains close relations with Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and Baltimore Ravens football coach John Harbaugh. Just as Izzo is a regular at Michigan State football games, driving through the parking lots on a golf cart and visiting with fans each Saturday of the Spartans’ home games in East Lansing, Crean has made himself available at the Bulldogs’ home football games. “I think why he’ll be successful there is he can coach, he’ll demand some things,” Izzo said, “but importantly, I think he’ll embrace football, where a lot of coaches get jealous of it.” Back then Izzo remembers the characteristics Crean help instill at Michigan State that have led to the Spartans becoming a national basketball power. “In football terms, he’s an incredible offensive coordinator, and he has a very good offensive mind,” Izzo said. But he has the base to be a great defensive coach, like he was here.” Izzo’s programs are known for their defensive prowess and physical rebounding nature. “Tom brought some of that rebounding here every bit as much as I did,” Izzo said. “This program was team built — Tom, BG (Brian Gregory) and Stan Heath. But Tom was absolutely instrumental in helping me build this thing. “That’s why I’ll always appreciate what he’s done for me.” Competing with Crean When Izzo says he’s glad Crean isn’t in the same conference, he’s referencing the rivalry the two coaches built after Crean took over and re-established Indiana basketball. “He did an unbelievable job at Indiana, and I think he had to rebuild it,” Izzo said. But in that state, it’s 19 years after Bob (Knight) was there, and there’s still people talking about him. There’s been a couple guys who have been there since Bob Knight, but nobody has really replaced him if you know what I mean, and Tom was the closest thing. “But it was ugly from Day One, he had to deal with the (NCAA) issues that were there, and then he had the wrath from the Bob Knight fans, so I think that was hard on Tom,” Izzo said. “That’s unfair for any coach, just like it will be unfair for the guy that follows Mike Krzyzewski.” Georgia, however, offers Crean a unique opportunity. “You know, even when he was at Marquette going to that Final Four, there were still some Al McQuire whispers around that program,” Izzo said. “Georgia, in a lot of ways he gets to build his own program, and the canvas blank there and he gets to paint his own portrait,” Izzo said, “ and he gets to put his mark on that program, because it’s not like he’s replacing a legend.” What’s next Izzo wants to see Crean do well at Georgia, because he believes he has earned it. “Here’s what I know for sure: I know he’s a phenomenal working recruiter,” Izzo said. “He’s a very good basketball coach, and he’s a very attention-to-detail guy.” “ Crean’s intensity is unmistakable, and he’s already made it clear he wants the Bulldogs basketball program on an accelerated path to success. Izzo believes the year Crean spent away from coaching will serve him well as he build his brand in Athens. “He did a great thing last year in that he got away, he visited a lot of programs, and he had a chance to sit back and evaluate,” Izzo said. “When you’re in this job, you’re on the treadmill and you never get off. But he got to sit back and say, ‘how did this guy handle that, or that guy handle this.’ He got to hear how other people think about other people and look at things constructively. “It gives you a better perception of who you are.” Izzo believes Crean was sometimes misunderstood at Indiana because of the ever-present pressure and speculation that comes with the Indiana job post-Knight. “I think now at Georgia, he has to take things one step further,” Izzo said. “He needs to let himself enjoy the people around him. “I’ll be shocked if he’s not very, very successful there.” DawgNation Georgia basketball Georgia wins 4th straight in Georgia Tech rivalry WATCH: Tom Crean preaches winning ways to UGA UGA learns its lesson from Tom Crean, holds off Oakland rally  Georgia’s Tom Crean makes quick history with Tech win 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 The post Georgia basketball’s Tom Crean: Through lens of friend and mentor Tom Izzo appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA — Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean knew he had something special in sophomore forward Nicolas Claxton just two practices into taking over as the Bulldogs head coach last March. “It’s the second workout and I’m watching him, and we’re starting to work on going with the other hand, and I thought ‘he can be really good with this,’ “Crean said after Claxton came off the bench to record his fifth double-double of the season and lead a 70-59 win over Georgia Tech. RELATED: Claxton steps up in clutch, leads win over Yellow Jackets ‘I was watching film and seeing what he was comfortable with, but also, what can we work on with him that’s gong to stretch his confidence, and to stretch his conference you’r going to stretch his game,” he said. “We started putting him on the perimeter more, working with his shooting, forcing him to go right, dropping his shoulder, having to guard guards.” Georgia has essentially created a monster, as the 6-foot-11 Claxton leads the SEC in rebounding (10.1 per game) and blocked shots (34), while also ranked amount league leaders in assists (17th), scoring (21st) and free-throw percentage (30th). Nicolas Claxton prepares to block shot/Photo courtesy UGA sports “I think Claxton is really good, he’s a pro,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. “He hit a big shot today, and he’s long.” Claxton’s 6-foot-11 frame alone creates problems, but Crean notes how his skill and athleticism have him ascending quickly. “He’s got tremendous agility, he moves his feet extremely well,” Crean said. “We’re really comfortable with him guarding one to five, and he’s a shot maker. “He’s a joy to work with, and he’s really just scratching the surface.” Crean knows a pro when he sees one, having coached NBA stars Dwayne Wade at Marquette and Victor Oladipo and Yogi Ferral at Indiana. Claxton, a 3-star prospect out of Greenville, S.C., had a handful of offers before choosing Georgia. It’s clear he has clicked quickly with his new head coach and the Bulldogs uptempo scheme. “Coach Crean and the staff are very demanding, the pace is a lot faster,” Claxton said. “We’re still adjusting to it, and we’re enjoying it. Everybody is having a lot more fun out there. Games, practices, walk-throughs, everything, it’s always uptempo.” Claxton’s mere presence is a game changer on both ends of the floor, his skills and shooting range forcing teams to defend the Bulldogs differently, while on defense he alters shots around the rim. The son of former Georgia All-SEC performer and NBA draft pick Charles Claxton (7-foot, 265 pounds), Nicolas said he always believed he would grow into his game. “I knew I could do this, I feel I have more left in the tank, once I get my shots falling, just continue to stay confident working in the gym,” Nicolas Claxton said. “I’m trusting the process and enjoying it, day by day.” Nicolas Claxton in SEC basketball ranks (through 12-22-18) • 1st in blocks, 34 • 1st in rebounding, 10.1 per game • 17th in assists, 2.6 per   game • 21st in scoring, 12.6 points per game • 30th in free-throw percentage, 68.1 percent Georgia forward Nicolas Claxton DawgNation Georgia basketball Bulldogs make it 4 straight over Yellow Jackets Georgia makes surprising history with Georgia Tech win WATCH: Tom Crean preaches winning ways to UGA UGA learns its lesson from Tom Crean, holds off Oakland rally Tom Crean positive about Georgia basketball modest start 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         The post WATCH: Georgia basketball rising star Nicolas Claxton a gift that keeps giving appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA — Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean basked in the moment of historical significance Saturday afternoon, a statistic so sweet he kept it secret until after beating Georgia Tech. RELATED: Georgia basketball beats Georgia Tech, 70-59 “There was only four seniors in the 113 years of this rivalry that had swept the series, now we had five (today) to make that nine, that’s unbelievable,” Crean said. “Obviously we didn’t put that out, no sense giving anything to the bulletin board, right? “When I first heard that I said, ‘don’t tell anybody, let’s keep that secret.’ The players knew it, through.” The Georgia players played like it, too, staving off one Yellow Jackets rally after another, different players raising their games at different times, particularly sophomore Nicolas Claxton (13 points, 13 rebounds). Crean was proud of the entire time, noting how they battled back after dropping a heartbreaking 76-74 defeat to Arizona State after leading that game by 18 last Saturday. The Bulldogs (7-4) were up by as many as 16 on Georgia Tech (6-5) and didn’t trail throughout the action. Still, challenges are ahead for Georgia, with the Bulldogs getting a grueling draw to start the SEC season: at No. 3 Tennessee (Jan. 5) Vanderbilt (Jan. 9) at No. 7 Auburn (Jan. 12) No. 19 Kentucky (Jan. 15) Florida (Jan. 19) at LSU (Jan. 23) at Arkansas (Jan. 29) South Carolina (Feb. 2) at Alabama (Feb. 6) Ole Miss (Feb. 9) “The Ken Pom (ratings) have us going 0-10 to start the SEC, right?” Crean said. “I mean, when you base it on numbers, so what do I know?” Georgia ranked 113th in the Pomeroy Ratings (KenPom.com) following its win over Georgia Tech (103rd). The Bulldogs return to action at 6 p.m. on Dec. 30 against UMass (TV: SEC Network). The Minutemen are 7-5 and No. 140 in the Pomeroy Ratings. The five current Georgia seniors who have never lost to Georgia Tech — Derek Ogbeide, Mike Edwards, E’Torrion Wilridge, William “Turtle” Jackson and Connor O’Neill — joined the four before them: James Banks and Vern Fleming (1980-84) and Gerald Crosby and Richard Corhen (1981-85). Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean   DawgNation Georgia basketball WATCH: Tom Crean preaches winning ways to UGA UGA learns its lesson from Tom Crean, holds off Oakland rally 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 The post WATCH: Tom Crean shares surprising Georgia basketball history, daunting challenges ahead appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA —Georgia basketball made it four in a row over Georgia Tech on Saturday, pulling away for a 70-59 win. Nicolas Claxton recorded his fifth double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. Teshaun Hightower (12), Rayshaun Hammonds (11) and Tyree Crump (10) also hit double figures in scoring for the Bulldogs (7-4). The Yellow Jackets (6-5) dropped to 5-2 at home with the loss in front of the sold-out crowd at McCamish Pavilion. RELATED: Georgia coach Tom Crean embraces rivalry with Georgia Tech The 6-foot-11 Claxton stepped up big in the clutch for Georgia, which never trailed in the game in evening its record to 1-1 in true road contests this season. Claxton threw down an authoritative follow-up dunk at the 3:26 mark to give the Bulldogs a 53-47 lead, and he followed up with a 3-point shot to make it 56-47 and send many fans to the exits. Georgia Tech trailed by 10 at halftime but rallied at the start of the second half with a 7-0 run, pulling to 29-26 on Moses Wright’s conventional 3-point play. The Yellow Jackets had it down to two at 34-32 with 14:47 left on a   pair of Jose Alverado free throws. Georgia held strong, however, as coach Tom Crean expertly turned to his bench. Amanze Ngumezo answered with a dunk for the Bulldogs, and E’Torrion Wilridge hit a pair of free throws. A pair of Claxton free throws at the 13:39 mark made it 40-33 and capped a much needed 6-1 run. The Bulldogs pulled away minutes later when a Claxton tip-in spurred a 6-0 run that pushed the lead to double-digits and triggered Tech coach Josh Pastner to call timeout with his team trailing 46-36 and 8:27 left. Georgia Tech had one last comeback in it, drawing to within four points with 3:59 left before Claxton took over. Georgia led by as many as 16 points in the first half before taking a 29-19 lead into the break. The Bulldogs were without Claxton most of the first half after he picked up his second foul and was pulled form the action at the 16:14 mark with the teams deadlocked 2-2. Crean re-entered Claxton at the 7:51 mark and Georgia caught fire, his presence appearing to open up the floor as the Bulldogs scored the next five baskets in the midst of a 13-0 run. A Hammonds’ 3-pointer made it 25-9 at the 3-minute mark, the Bulldogs in position to blow open the game. Georgia Tech came to life when Wright hit a baseline jumper and followed with a layup in transition after a Hightower turnover. Two more Bulldogs’ turnovers contributed to an 8-2 run that brought the Yellow Jackets to within 10 on Michael Devoe’s drive in the closing seconds. UGA won last season’s game in Athens by an 80-59 count, but Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 105-89. Georgia basketball returns to action at 6 p.m. on Dec. 30 at home against UMass before opening the SEC portion of the schedule at Tennessee on Jan. 5. DawgNation Georgia basketball WATCH: Tom Crean preaches winning ways to UGA UGA learns its lesson from Tom Crean, holds off Oakland rally 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 The post Georgia basketball beats Georgia Tech 70-59, wins 4th straight in rivalry appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean has taken the approach to embrace the rivalry with Georgia Tech. Crean, unlike some coaches, makes no attempt to downplay the significance of rivalry games. “The most important thing in those types of (rivalry) games are they are obviously huge and circle in red,” Crean said on Friday. “The greatest fear as a coach is to not let your players get out of character in that game. “Everybody wants to be the hero in that game, and it doesn’t work that way.” The Bulldogs (6-4) play the Yellow Jackets (6-4) at noon on Saturday in McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta (TV:ESPNU). Both teams are coming off wins. Georgia beat Oakland 81-69 on Tuesday. Georgia Tech scored a 69-65 win at Arkansas on Wednesday. Crean has experience in several high-profile rivalries, from his days as Tom Izzo’s lead assistant in the Michigan State rivalry with Michigan, to his head coaching rivalries at Marquette (Wisconsin) and Indiana (Purdue). “You are aware what games mean more to the players and more importantly, the fans, (and) this is obviously one of them,” Crean said. “We have got to do a good job on lay them the right way, which is use loosely, but I mean what is the game giving us. “We want to run and get out and go, but if they want to create a more slower pace, then we’ve got to deal with that as well.” The Yellow Jackets are 5-1 at home this season. The game between the teams on Saturday is a sellout. The Bulldogs won last season’s game in Athens by an 80-59 count, led by since-departed star Yante Matey’s 24 points and six rebounds. Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 105-89, but Georgia has a 13-10 edge since the teams starting playing alternately on each other’s campuses in 1995-96. The Bulldogs have won the past three meetings, but prior to that the Yellow Jackets had won four in a row. DawgNation Georgia basketball WATCH: Tom Crean preaches winning ways to UGA UGA learns its lesson from Tom Crean, holds off Oakland rally 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 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 coach Tom Crean embraces showdown at Georgia Tech appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Tom Crean is best known as a coach and teacher of basketball, but the philosophy he’s planting in his Georgia players is just as important as he looks to rebuild the program. One of Crean’s lessons was on display on Tuesday when his Bulldogs held off a late Oakland rally for an 81-69 win at Stegeman Coliseum on a night his team was running out of energy after to emotionally challenging practices. RELATED: Georgia basketball puts down its foot, holds off Oakland “Something I’ve always carried with me since I’ve heard it, from pastor Charles Stanley from Atlanta (First Baptist Church) … he said ‘disappointment is inevitable, but discouragement is a choice,” Crean said Tuesday night. “I was at Marquette when I first saw that, but I’ve always tried to apply that in my own life and with my team.” Georgia was a disappointed team after blowing an 18-point lead and losing to No. 18 Arizona State on Saturday, and Crean knew it. The former Marquette and Indiana coach also knew how to get his team over the defeat and ready to compete again. “The team was down the other night with that loss, they knew they had opportunities, and they’ve went at it the last two days, because we had to get it out of our system and get over it,” Crean said. “We got better … and the bottom line is we found a way tonight. “The game is always giving you something, and tonight it was the lane and the free-throw line.” Georgia (6-4) was 19-of-26 shooting at the line and out-scored Oakland 28-18 in the paint and 18-7 on second-chance points. Nicolas Claxton recorded his fourth double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Rayshawn Hammonds had his first career double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. But it was guards William “Turtle” Jackson and Teshaun Hightower meeting with the media, both players explaining how the discipline and mindset Crean has brought made the difference. “We really just focused on what (Crean) was saying,” said Hightower, who ran the point much of the game and scored 16 points. “We just have to stick to the game plan and talk on defense.” Jackson, who hit four 3-pointers as UGA raced to a 27-10 lead, said it came down to following Gran’s plan. “We felt we brought a lot of energy, and we listened to Coach Crean and executed,” Jackson said, asked the difference between Saturday night’s meltdown and Tuesday night’s victory. The Bulldogs return to action at noon on Saturday at Georgia Tech (TV: ESPNU). Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean   DawgNation Georgia basketball UGA learns its lesson from Tom Crean, holds off Oakland rally 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 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 preaches winning ways to Bulldogs 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.
  • 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.

News

  • The remains of six victims of a deadly volcano eruption in New Zealand have been recovered. Sixteen people were killed on White Island when a volcano there unexpectedly erupted Monday, The Associated Press reported. Eight military specialists recovered six of the eight victims believed to be on the island, and the bodies will be taken to Auckland for identification, CNN reported. Due to toxic gases still being released from the volcano, the team had to wear protective suits and breathing gear to be on the island, the AP reported. The search had to end as air supplies ran low, the New York Times reported. An additional recovery mission is planned to find a tour guide and boat captain who had taken tourists to the island. At least one of them is expected to be in the water, but the other person’s location is unknown, the AP reported. Forty-seven tourists, many from a Royal Caribbean cruise, and guides were on the island when the volcano exploded. Many of the people who survived were burned. Fifteen tourists not from Australia are in burn units across the country with 11 listed as very critical. Thirteen Australians who were part of the tour have all returned to their home country, the AP reported. Skin banks are sending tissues to hospitals to help treat the burns, as medical teams from Australia, Britain and the U.S. travel to New Zealand to help treat patients, the AP reported.
  • A Minnesota man was sentenced Wednesday to more than 24 years in prison in the death of his 13-day-old son. Michael Herkal, 33, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, nearly 16 months to the day after Apple Valley police responded to an Aug. 12, 2018, medical call for an infant not breathing, WCCO reported. The child died two days later, after doctors determined he had suffered a skull fracture and bleeding in his brain. Herkal was charged initially with felony assault and malicious punishment of a child, but three additional charges of murder were filed after authorities received the autopsy report, KARE11 reported. According to WCCO, Herkal initially told authorities his toddler pulled the newborn off the couch twice but later claimed the baby slipped from his hands and fell onto a coffee table during a diaper change. During his plea hearing, however, Herkal admitted he also shook the infant violently and slapped him, the TV station reported.
  • Major League Baseball announced substantial changes Thursday to its drug use and testing policy, multiple news outlets reported. In addition to removing marijuana from its “drugs of abuse” category – making it the first major US sports league to do so – the organization announced mandatory testing for the presence of opioids, cocaine, synthetic THC, LSD and fentanyl, ABC News reported. Per the policy revisions, players will still be tested for “natural cannabinoids” such as THC, CBD, and marijuana, but punishment for violations will now be treated similarly to those of the alcohol and violence policies, ABC News reported. 'Going forward, marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct under the Parties’ Joint Treatment Program for Alcohol-Related and Off-Field Violent Conduct, which provides mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment and the possibility of discipline by a Player’s Club or the Commissioner’s Office in response to certain conduct involving Natural Cannabinoids,” the league, in association with its players union, stated. According to NPR, the policy changes will take effect during 2020 spring training.  “The opioid epidemic in our country is an issue of significant concern to Major League Baseball,” MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said in a prepared statement, adding, “It is our hope that this agreement - which is based on principles of prevention, treatment, awareness and education - will help protect the health and safety of our Players.” Read more here and here.
  • Seeking emergency mental health assistance could soon be as simple as dialing 988, federal regulators announced Thursday. The Federal Communications Commission formally began the process Thursday to designate 988 as a nationwide suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. “The three-digit number is really going to be a breakthrough in terms of reaching people in a crisis,” Dwight Holton, CEO of suicide prevention nonprofit Lines for Life, told USA Today. “No one is embarrassed to call 911 for a fire or an emergency. No one should be embarrassed to call 988 for a mental health emergency.' According to The Wall Street Journal, the new hotline is intended to simplify access to services available currently by dialing 1-800-273-TALK, the existing National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Once operational, dialing 988 would connect callers to the existing hotline and then route them to nearby crisis centers equipped to provide assistance. “We believe this historical and critical effort will turn the tide on reducing suicides and promote mental wellness in the United States,” said a statement from Kimberly Williams, chief executive of Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit that administers the lifeline, The Journal reported. Read more here and here.
  • An emergency landing by a single-engine plane snarled traffic Thursday night on Interstate 5 in San Diego, multiple news outlets reported. Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, told KNSD the Cessna 182 made a hard landing on the southbound lanes around 7:15 p.m. Within 30 minutes authorities had re-opened two southbound lanes, KFMB reported. Carlsbad Fire Division Chief Mike Lopez told KNSD a man and a woman were on board traveling from the San Gabriel Airport in Los Angeles to McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. According to KFMB, no injuries were reported, and the plane did not strike any motorists. “They did a pretty good job landing this thing,” Lopez told KNSD, adding, “The skill of that pilot, he did a stellar job.”
  • A Fort Gibson man recently showed off his blacksmith skills by taking first place in a competition television show. Nic Overton, 23, earned the top spot on the History Channel’s “Forged in Fire,” which is centered around blacksmith work. Along with bragging rights, Overton won a $10,000 prize. Overton told KOKI he’s been fascinated with blacksmithing since he was a child and crafted his first knife out of a railroad spike. He managed to turn his hobby into a career. He owns his own business called Nix Knives.