The city that never sleeps sends Georgia basketball home winless


Minnesota defeated Georgia basketball 66 -62 to send the Dawgs home winless in the NIT Tip-Off Finals on Friday.

As encouraging as the Bulldog’s effort was against Gonzaga, Friday’s effort was equally discouraging against Minnesota (4-2). The Bulldogs fell to 3-3 overall with a 66-62 loss to the Golden Gophers in the NIT Season Tip-Off third place game at Madison Square Garden in New York on Friday.

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Georgia opened the game a study in losing basketball. Turning the ball over 15 times in the opening 20 minutes, Georgia attempted only 16 shots. Starting point guard Charles Mann opened the game with 1 assist, 1 foul and 1 turnover and was replaced by sophomore J. J. Frazier before the under 16 timeout even though Georgia led by one. Mann was in and out the rest of the half, sometimes playing at the point. Mann ended the half with 3 assists, 4 turnovers and a rebound in 13 minutes.

“We had 15 turnovers in the first half and only 16 shots,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox told “We just did not start well. And finally [J.J.] Frazier gave us great leadership at the point and we stopped turning it over and gave ourselves a chance to win. ”

Georgia shot 62% from the field in the first half on the strength of solid play in the paint, particularly freshman Yante Maten’s 12 points and 4 rebounds.

As discouraging as Georgia’s quality of play was, in the second half, the Bulldogs again demonstrated the resilience and fight employed against Gonzaga, fighting back from a 12-point halftime deficit to within three with under a minute remaining.

Minnesota scored a deal breaking 23 points off of turnovers – all in the first half – to Georgia’s 9.

Marcus Thornton played a career-high 35 minutes, snatched a career high 2 steals, claimed 10 rebounds and led the Bulldogs with 14 points to record his fourth-career double-double and second of the season. Yante Maten scored a career-high 12 points, all of which came in the first half. Frazier played a career high 33 minutes and scored 12 of his points in the second half, including 4 of 4 on free throws and 2 of 5 on three- point attempts. Juwan Parker claimed a career-high seven rebounds to go with 8 points and shot 4 of 4 from the free throw line, to date his most productive game. Kenny Gaines also played a career high 33 minutes. After scoring a career-high 23 points against Gonzaga on Wednesday, Charles Mann did not attempt an official shot.

Georgia opened the second half with a lineup of J. J. Frazier, Kenny Gaines, Kenny Paul Geno, Marcus Thornton and Nemi Djurisic. The Quintet held their own until Maten and Parker returned to the contest with 16 to play. Charles Mann reentered the contest with 13 minutes to play and the Dawgs began a run that ended the game with a four point loss.

The Georgia bench scored 27 points and it appears the Georgia starting five that was locked before pre-season practice even began will see changes. A quick look at minutes played suggest J. J. Frazier will not be a surprise starter should he open at the point against Chattanooga on Tuesday. No matter, it is a matter of existential importance for Georgia to find a way to get Charles Mann on the road to better basketball. The Guard is a talented player the Dawgs cannot afford to simply discard and replace. For the Georgia basketball program, his talent in not replaceable.

Joey King paced the Golden Gophers with 15 points. Mathieu finished the game with a season-high 12 points and five assists.

For the game, Georgia outshot the Golden Gophers 46 to 42 percent from the field, 71 to 52 percent from the free throw line, and scored 17 more points in the paint. The Dawgs won the rebound battle by seven, had 3 blocks to none, and 8 steals to Minnesota’s 1.

However, Minnesota scored a deal breaking 23 points off of turnovers – all in the first half – to Georgia’s 9.

And that, said the ol’ left hander, is your ball game.