Freshman Mann aids in Georgia’s resurgence

semerson@macon.comFebruary 1, 2013 

ATHENS -- Charles Mann has a delicate balance to strike these days. Lately, he’s been striking it just right.

As a freshman point guard, he has to avoid mistakes in order to avoid being relegated to the bench. And when he’s on the court, Mann can also provide some much-needed scoring punch for his Georgia men’s basketball team.

The past few games, Mann has been doing that, which is a big reason the Bulldogs have won three of their past four, restoring some hope to their season.

“It’s whatever my team needs in a game. If I’m able to score, if it’s a hot night, I want to try to score,” Mann said. “If I need to set others up, I’ll set others up. It just depends on how the game’s going and what my team is doing.”

Lately, his scoring has helped give the team an extra dimension on offense. He had 10 points in Wednesday’s win over Auburn, although he also missed a couple of wide-open 3-pointers.

By the way, he still has a green light to try those.

“That’s a shot I can make. I just have to keep shooting it,” he said.

If they start going in -- Mann is only 5-for-13 beyond the arc this season -- then Mann could truly become the second option to star Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

But whether or not that happens, the team needs him to be a productive point guard, which he has been lately. His assist-to-turnover ratio has improved, and he played a season-high 28 minutes, second on the team, in the win over Auburn.

While he didn’t start at Texas A&M -- head coach Mark Fox preferred senior Vincent Williams start on the road -- Mann ended up playing 24 minutes and led the team with four assists. He only had five points, all at the free-throw line.

And in the win over LSU, Mann had five assists, tying Caldwell-Pope for the game-high. Mann struggled with his shooting that game, but his ball-handling made up for it.

“The last couple games he’s probably taking advantage of what the defense is giving him,” Fox said of Mann’s scoring. “We’ve probably used him and put him in more scoring situations because of a couple matchups. He’s a real intelligent kid, and he’s starting to think the game at a different level and therefore seeing better results.”

It’s helping Georgia, which is tied for sixth in the SEC with a 3-4 conference record. The Bulldogs (still below .500 at 9-11 overall) are also one loss from being tied for last place.

“There’s a big logjam, so we’re aware of that. I’m sure the kids are aware of that,” Fox said. “But the focus is just on trying to win the next game. And that’s trying to keep it as simple as we can for this group.”

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