Georgia has jumped out to double-digit leads in previous games this season. The lone difference about Friday afternoon's game against Temple was that the Bulldogs refused to relinquish it.
Georgia used a 10-0 run in the first half to put some distance in between itself and the Owls. And by the end of the game, Georgia saw itself record an 84-66 win over the visiting Owls. While Temple shot better from the field in the second half, its cold opening to the game proved to be a deciding factor.
Georgia (9-2) used a powerful presence inside to punish Temple (7-4) throughout the game. The Bulldogs out-scored the Owls 34-22 in the paint, with forward Yante Maten scoring 30 points. Maten's effort moved him to No. 10 all-time in Georgia history in scoring with 1,472 career points.
Georgia's biggest lead of the game was by 23 points. It never led by less than double figures beginning at the 5:33 mark of the first half.
The Bulldogs have enjoyed a great week on the hardwood. In addition to recording wins over Georgia Tech and Temple, they picked up a commitment from class of 2019 five-star point guard Ashton Hagans Thursday evening.
Three who mattered
Maten: Maten had his way against a Temple team that actually matched up well size-wise. He finished the game with 30 points and 12 rebounds. Fifteen of Maten's points came in the first half.
Georgia forward Derek Ogbeide: Ogbeide saw plenty of shot opportunities as well. He ended the game 4-of-9 shooting for eight points.
Georgia forward Nicolas Claxton: Claxton drew a loud applause after throwing down a thunderous jam late in the second half. Claxton scored 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting.
While Temple managed to jump out to a 7-5 lead, it was clear from the start it didn't have much of a shot. The Owls were cold from the perimeter and had no answer for Maten inside.
Dominating in rebounds: Georgia made it a point to limit second-chance opportunities for Temple. The Bulldogs were in full control from the start of the game when it came to the rebounding battle. Rarely did a Temple player come up with an offensive rebound. And on occasion, the Owls, which boasted two players at 6-foot-10, failed to adhere to fundamentals and not box out. This allowed for Maten and Ogbeide to clean up on missed shots. Georgia out-rebounded Temple 47-30
Tough defense:Georgia played a spectacular game on the defensive end, especially in the first half. Georgia prevented the Owls from getting any good looks inside, forcing them to rely on perimeter shots. And in those first 20 minutes, Temple was dreadful from behind the arc. In total, Temple shot only 30.8 percent from the field in the opening period, and that followed a 4-of-17 start. By holding Temple to such a low shooting percentage early, it helped in the second half as the Owls saw improvement from the field.
Getting to the line: Georgia's presence inside on offense allowed it to get to the line repeatedly. By relying on the outside shot, Temple did not get many freebies to shoot. The Bulldogs did a good job converting their opportunities too as they made 28 of the 39 free throws it took. Conversely, Temple made only four of its 13 free-throw attempts. Considering Temple made 12 of 26 shots behind the 3-point line, the large difference in scoring turned out to be from the free-throw line.
Good win for the RPI: This is obviously subject to change since the season is still young. But Temple entered the day as the No. 12 team according to the RPI rankings. In the same rankings, Georgia was No. 67. The Bulldogs figure to move up with the victory.
Back to the original: Head coach Mark Fox elected to turn back to the original starting lineup he began the season with. E'Torrion Wilridge earned his first start since the Saint Mary's game, replacing Juwan Parker at the tip. Wilridge played 16 minutes, which was 4.3 more than his season average of 11.7.
Crump sits: Fox elected not to play sophomore guard Tyree Crump against Temple. Crump was previously used as a sixth man in most of Georgia's games this season. Fox said it had to do with the flow of the game and that Crump was fine with the decision.
They said it
Fox on attacking the paint: “One of the things we have the luxury of is we have a lot of inside players. We only took five or six 3-point shots in the first half because we wanted to go inside. Their big guy foiled out so they didn’t have a lot of inside presence so we had the advantage in that situation and we were able to turn it into free-throw opportunities.”
Maten on scoring a season-high 30 points: “I tried to find my sweet spots. I started out kind of slow but then I ended up finding my rhythm offensively and made sure I made the most of my opportunities and put my teammates in a better spot.”
Claxton on scoring 14 points off the bench: “It felt great, it built my confidence up. Every game I feel like I’m going to have a big role and I feel like I can use my length to affect the game. We just tried to dominate the game inside and out and it obviously worked out pretty good for us.”
Following an eight-day layoff, Georgia will open SEC play on the road at No. 7 Kentucky on Dec. 31.