UGA Basketball

Georgia routs Bryant in hoops season opener

Rayshaun Hammonds drives to the basket in Georgia’s win over Bryant.
Rayshaun Hammonds drives to the basket in Georgia’s win over Bryant.

Yante Maten picked up where he left off.

The SEC preseason co-player of the year went to work against Bryant, scoring 21 points in 23 minutes of action leading Georgia to a 79-54 victory. Bryant, a Rhode Island school that competes in the Northeast Conference, didn’t have an answer for Maten, who did his damage on 7-of-11 shooting from the field.

Bryant (0-1) briefly held a 2-0 lead before allowing Georgia to go on an 11-0 run. Georgia (1-0) ended up holding a 40-17 lead at the half.

Three who mattered

Maten: In addition to his 21 points, Maten notched a double-double by bringing down 12 rebounds. His performance came just a couple of days after ESPN analyst Jay Bilas put him his first-team preseason All-America team.

Turtle Jackson: Jackson scored Georgia’s first bucket of the game from behind the arc. He ended the game 4-of-11 shooting from the 3-point line and scored 11 points.

Rayshaun Hammonds: Smooth on the court, Hammonds scored in a multitude of ways. He also showed a knack for suddenly being around the rim for a rebound. He ended the game with 17 points and seven rebounds.

Observations

Replacing Frazier: In Georgia’s first official game without guard J.J. Frazier, it went with a tandem of Jackson and Teshaun Hightower at point guard. Both players did an admirable job replacing Georgia’s top scorer from a year ago. Jackson did a good job of facilitating the offense, hitting the 3 and defending the perimeter. Hightower showed his handle and ability to get to the rim. How Georgia rotates its point guards will be interesting to see at the early part of the season.

Too big: Georgia had too much size for Bryant with Maten, Hammonds and Derek Ogbeide. The fact that Hammonds is a 6-foot-8 small forward was a mismatch advantage for the Bulldogs. Georgia was able to clean up around the rim by posting a 58-35 rebound advantage over Bryant. Georgia was able to shoot 43 percent from the field against smaller opposition.

Block party: Sticking with the too big theme, Georgia played the role of rim protectors throughout the game. In total, Georgia produced 10 blocks. Of those blocked shots, Maten had four, Nicolas Claxton had three, Derek Ogbeide had two and Isaac Kante had one. With the kind of frontcourt Georgia has, it will hope to see the same results against better competition.

Worth mentioning

Crump from deep: Guard Tyree Crump showcased his range in Georgia’s season opener. Crump made two of his three 3-point attempts and finished the game with eight points. Crump mostly worked as the two guard with Jackson and Hightower running the point.

Edwards, Harris update: Forward Mike Edwards returned to the rotation after being disciplined for Georgia’s exhibition against Valdosta State. Guard Jordan Harris, who Fox said was also being disciplined, did not play. But Harris is also still dealing with a bone chip injury in his knee, which was suffered last season.

What’s next?

Georgia returns to action next Tuesday with a home game against South Carolina-Upstate. It will tip at 7 p.m.

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