Normally, you won’t see J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten come out of a game until after seven or eight minutes have ticked off the clock.
In Wednesday’s 86-72 win over Morehouse, Georgia’s top two stars came out at the 17:43 mark of the first half. At first, it seemed like Fox was perhaps treating this game like an exhibition by getting his younger players more involved.
Asked if that was the case after the game, Fox took a swig of water and shook his head.
“Oh no, that was a conscious effort to get our two superstars to play better basketball,” Fox said.
Fox wasn’t pleased with what he saw early. Frazier missed two jump shots and Maten was unable to get the ball in the hoop on three attempts in one possession around the rim.
Instead of letting them play through it, Fox wanted to send a message.
“To whom much is given, much is expected,” Fox said. “They have to understand that as the two lead dogs, they need to be lead dogs when the ball goes up. I wasn’t pleased with either one of their starts. They’re really good players, really good kids. They didn’t play particularly well tonight. I just pulled them out.”
Maten was able to bounce back from the slow start and end with 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Frazier, however, struggled from the field and scored six points on 3-of-12 shooting, which included going 0-of-5 from behind the 3-point line.
It was only the second time in seven games Frazier was held to single digits in scoring.
Maten acknowledged Georgia came out sluggish in the first half, which contributed to the Bulldogs only holding a 36-30 over a Division II opponent at the break. He knows a lot is expected out of he and Frazier as the team's top two leaders.
“We weren’t mentally locked in,” Maten said. “Not just me and J.J., but the whole team. It looked like we were playing a little lackadaisical, and you can’t ever be like that when playing basketball.”