NASHVILE, Tenn. – It was a constant game of two-on-one and it didn’t matter all too much.
Georgia sophomore forward Yante Maten dealt with double teams in the post throughout the entirety of Thursday night’s 79-69 victory over Mississippi State. From the beginning of the game, a second defender would crash down and help forward Gavin Ware take on Maten in the post.
But a steady blend of patience and timing helped Maten once again do a ton of damage against Mississippi State, to help Georgia advance to the quarterfinals.
"I didn’t know it was going to be every possession but I did have an idea that they would probably double-team me considering the previous game when we played against them – I had a pretty good performance," Maten said. "So I kind of figured there would be a little more attention to me. So I was ready to pass the ball if I got double-teamed and whatnot."
Maten finished the game with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting. He anticipated what to do with the ball well, whether it was to shoot it or to pass it back out. His quick-thinking skills came into good use for the second time against Mississippi State as he scored 25 points in the first meeting between the teams.
Sixth-seeded Georgia will face third-seeded South Carolina for the third time this year Friday night, with Maten having gone off for 18 and 13 points, respectively, in the first two games. The Gamecocks may try to employ the same strategy against Maten that Mississippi State did.
But you can bet Maten will do his part to make him pay if they do.
"You really have to read it because if I’m on the right block and the double team is coming from my left, I can still make a left-handed hook because it doesn’t matter," Maten said.