Georgia tops Valdosta State in men’s basketball exhibition

Athens, Ga. — The Georgia Bulldogs brought a 112-74 win to the newly renovated Stegeman Coliseum over Valdosta State on Thursday night.

Freshman forward Nicolas Claxton secured Georgia’s only necessary lead of the game with a 3-pointer for the 11-8 margin at 13 minute mark. The Bulldogs went ahead 28-15 with a 10-point run, fueled by a dunk from freshman Rayshaun Hammonds, assisted by junior William Jackson II. Jackson led the team in assists with seven on the game.

“I think all of [the freshmen] have a unique ability to help our team,” said Georgia head coach Mark Fox. “They all are a little bit different in some way than the guys we have, so they have a lot to learn about playing at this level, but the group as a whole certainly I think have the potential to be very very good.”

The Bulldogs continued to separate themselves in the half by as many as 18 points at two different stages. A 12-point surge facilitated the first 18-point lead, highlighted by back-to-back scores from Hammonds and a pair of free throws from senior Yante Maten. Maten had a team-leading 12 points and seven rebounds in the first half.

Georgia opened the second half with a 15-5 run, strengthening  their lead by as many as 30 points. Hammonds also helped to facilitate the largest crowd roar of the night as he passed the ball to Tyree Crump who dished it inside to Maten for a two-handed slam in transition. A Maten lay-up gave Georgia it’s largest lead of the night with 31 points at the midpoint of the second half.  To go up 100-66, Hammonds attempted a jumper and was fouled enabling him to collect his 17th point of the game.

At the end of the second half, freshmen Isaac Kante and Teshaun Hightower and juniors Christian Harrison and Connor O’Neill closed out the game. All four posted points on the board helping to bring the final score to 112-74. Harrison also logged his first minutes in a Georgia jersey.

Maten led in points with 24 followed by Hammonds  and junior Derek Ogbeide who each had an impressive 17 points as well. Georgia also out-rebounded and out-assisted Valdosta State 52 to 27 and 26 to 11, respectively.

Georgia will make its 2017-18 regular-season home debut against the Bryant University Bulldogs on Friday, Nov. 10th at 7 p.m. 

Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox

On Derek Ogbeide’s performance tonight… 

“That is a good question, Brandon. Derek’s ability to score and block has improved. I think now we can throw to him as we did tonight, and he just goes to work like I think Yante [Maten] did a year ago. And I think that makes our team harder to guard. Yante’s obviously a better player than he was last year. He is shooting the ball great, and so they have to spread out to guard us so that leave Derek [Ogbeide] one on one. If he can continue to play like he did tonight that is certainly going to help our team.”

On J.J. Frazier being gone and filling the point guard roll… 

“You know we are a little bit disjointed on the perimeter, you know, Juwan is coming off injury, so we have been very cautious with Juwan to start the year healthy. Papa Diatta had a terrible ankle sprain, so he missed the entire fall. So we have taken E’Torrion Wildridge from the four to playing at the two some because we want to get some other guys some reps at the point. We are still a little disjointed on the perimeter, but we need to add some perimeter players, but these guys have to obviously get comfortable into new rolls trying to replace J.J. but right now we have had to shift guys around, until everyone is totally healthy we will probably continue to do so. I think the point guards all had a couple really good stretches, I thought their ability to run the team and be floor generals we have some work to do.”

On Mike Edwards and Jordan Harris absence in this game… 

“Yeah, they are both dealing with something, they are not doing what I asked them to do, but they are just young. They both have bright futures.”

On “the new building”… 

“I’ve already said a few times that we don’t feel comfortable in the new building yet. We need to spend a lot of time here to get comfortable. The side lines are a bit different, the color schemes are a bit different, and obviously with fans there it gave us a little energy. Our guys are tired of playing against each other and practicing so it was good to have fans there and in a different element.”

Georgia Junior Forward Derek Ogbeide:

On his game…

“I feel a lot more efficient and hoping to get more efficient in the process. Really just working on technique, listening to the coaches for the most part, positioning, but really just following the lead from the coaches.”

On Yante taking some of the pressure off of him down low…

“To have multiple options in all aspects of the offense whether it’s me or Yante or others players we can all help in the process of getting better.”

Georgia Freshman Forward Rayshaun Hammonds:

On mindset of first game in front of a home crowd…
“Just let the game come to me and play defense. Basically just let the game come to me and see how the defense is playing me and not force anything really.”

On comfortability following game after Michigan State…
“Michigan St. was my first away game so I had to adjust to college basketball. It’s way different than high school basketball and the whole week during practice I was just getting my motor going.”

COURTESY UGA COMMUNICATIONS

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