Georgia 75, Missouri 68 (Final)
- Starters for Mizzou: Aidan Shaw, Nick Honor, Noah Carter, Sean East II, Tamar Bates
- Starters for Georgia: Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Noah Thomasson, RJ Sunahara, Silas Demary Jr, Russel Tchewa.
- Silas Demry Jr. goes quickly to the basket. 2-0 UGA.
- Sean East II quickly responds with a bucket underneath the basket, but Adbur-Rahim splashes a triple on the other end. 5-2 UGA.
- Noah Carter who has struggled a bit splashes a 3-pointer on the other end tying it at five. A Tamar Bates jumper following a steal gives Mizzou a 7-5 lead.
- Tchewa ties it up with a wide open bucket with Nick Honor behind him. Tie ballgame. Carter has three while Bates and East have two each. Connor Vanover checks into the game.
- Thomasson hits a jumper over Bates. 9-7 UGA.
- Thomasson again, this time a 3-pointer. 12-7 UGA.
- Noah Carter ends a 7-0 UGA run with a 3-pointer. His second of the afternoon.
- Carter comes out of the timeout with a dunk tying the ballgame up at 12.
- Abdur-Rahim splashes a 3-pointer in Anthony Robinson’s face. His sixth point so far.
- a quick 4-0 run by East and Bates closes the margin to within one. Mizzou has forced Georgia into four turnovers already.
- Georgia is shooting 80% from the field compared to Mizzou’s 58%.
- Nick Honor knocks down a pair of free throws for Mizzou, his first points of the game to cut Georgia’s lead back to one.
- Justin Hill splashes a 3-pointer for UGA. Georgia has now made triples.
- A Thomasson 3-pointer extends the lead to seven and Mizzou Arena is silent. Which is followed by another Thomasson 3-pointer. Six made triples for Georgia. When it rains it pours.
- It’s been almost a six-minute scoring drought for Mizzou. The Tigers are shooting 32% from the field.
- Another 3-pointer for UGA. The lead is now 15.
- Tchewa just bodied Noah Carter underneath the basket but hey, Tamar Bates ends Mizzou’s scoring drought with a 3-pointer, which is followed by another UGA triple.
- A 3-point play by Bates cuts it to 12.
- Sean East II cuts it to 10.
- A 7-0 run by Mizzou forces Georgia to call a timeout. Mizzou has hit 6 of its last 8 and has boosted its shooting percentage up to 42%.
- A monster block leads to a Carter 3-pointer. It’s now a 1-0 run for Mizzou.
- East missed a layup but Shaw was there to hammer down a dunk. There’s life in Mizzou Arena.
- Tchewa ends UGA’s drought with a pair of free throws.
- Noah Carter took a hard foul and was not happy with it. The refs will take a look at it.
- A deep 3-pointer by Nick Honor with the shot clock winding down has Mizzou within four.
- A floater by East cuts it to two.
- Demary Jr. opens up the second half scoring with a pair of free throws.
- Tamar Bates responds with a fadeaway with the shot clock ticking down.
- Demary Jr. with another free throw.
- Noah Carter adds two free throws and the lead is cut to one.
- Tchewa puts UGA back up three. On the next trip down, Tchewa again gets another bucket and Dennis Gates is furious at the refs.
- East with a short jumper following a miss. He has 10 points.
- Somehow East got matched up with Tchewa. No. 54 for UGA gets a three-point play and the Bulldogs are up six.
- East responds on the other end. And Bates on the next trip down in transition cuts it to two. A stop by Mizzou will be huge.
- A 3-pointer by Hill is not what they needed there.
- Jesus Carralero-Martin cuts it back to two with a 3-pointer.
- Noah Carter just dished a perfect pass to Aidan Shaw for a dunk. Shaw has six on the afternoon.
- Another dunk by Shaw and it cuts Georgia’s lead to one.
- Sean East II takes it to the cup and Mizzou has a lead for the first time in forever.
- After a hot start by Georgia and a cold one by Mizzou both teams are shooting around 50%.
- Jesus Carralero-Martin just forced a huge turnover. Opportunity to extend this lead for Mizzou.
- Aidan Shaw hammers down his third dunk putting him over double-digits and giving Mizzou a three-point lead which is followed by a UGA charge.
- Thomasson ends a scoring drought for UGA cutting it to one.
- Abdur-Rahim hits 3-pointer giving Georgia the lead back.
- UGA lead extended to four.
- But East trims it back to two with his 14th point.
- Aidan Shaw ties it back up. He’s up to 12 points.
- Adian Shaw!!!!! Mizzou has the lead with under five to play
- ...But UGA responds with a 3-pointer.
- 3-pointer by Demary Jr. makes it a four-point game.
- Tchewa extends it to six with two free throws.
- A rough sequence of events for Mizzou. The Tigers are unable to secure a rebound with the shot clock expiring leading to time ticking down. On the other end, Sean East II misses a floater. I don’t want to say its over but that seemed huge.
- Final: Georgia 74, Missouri 68. The Tigers begin SEC play with an 0-1 record and fall to 8-6 on the year. It doesn’t get any easier as they will travel to Kentucky on Tuesday.
No easy way out. The next 18 games for Missouri men’s basketball are going to all be a test and mediocrity can’t be accepted if this teams wants to keep it’s NCAA Tournament aspirations alive. There’s no more Arkansas Pine Bluff’s or Central Arkansas’ on the schedule it’s SEC Basketball conference play time for these Tigers.
Last Saturday, the Tigers took care a business and did what it needed to do in a 92-59 victory over a 3-win Central Arkansas team at home, which ended a three-game losing skid dating back to Dec. 9, 2023. Tamar Bates led the way with 25 points on a 90% shooting performance while Aidan Shaw and Connor Vanover came alive scoring in double figures each. Of course, Sean East II put up 16 points, while Noah Carter added 11 and eight. It was the perfect get right victory heading into conference play.
To open up SEC play, Missouri welcomes Georgia who hasn’t lost since November where the Bulldogs fell to both Miami-FL and Kim English’s Providence Friars. UGA also fell to Oregon as it sits at 10-3 but picked up victories over the likes of Florida State, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. The Bulldogs schedule hasn’t been as tough as Mizzou’s was in December as their last three games came against Mount St. Mary’s, North Florida and Alabama A&M, but an eight game winning streak fuels momentum coming into Mizzou Arena.
Time: 12:00 PM CT
Date: Jan. 6, 2024
Location: Mizzou Arena, Columbia, Mo.
TV: SEC Network
G: Nick Honor (Grad, 11.3 PPG)
G: Sean East II (Grad, 17.1 PPG)
F: Aidan Shaw (Soph, 3.4 PPG)
F: Noah Carter (Grad, 11.4 PPG)
F: Tamar Bates (Jr, 9.8 PPG)
Notable Sixth Man: Anthony Robinson II (Fr, 4.9 PPG)
G: Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Sr, 13.2 PPG)
G: Silas Demary Jr. (Fr, 8.5 PPG)
G: Noah Thomasson (Sr, 12.3 PPG)
F: RJ Sunahara (Grad, 3.8 PPG)
C: Russell Tchewa (Grad, 6.1 PPG)
Notable Sixth Man: RJ Melendez (Jr, 9.8 PPG)
*These are projected starters. Also, in today’s college basketball, positions rarely mean much. Those are included purely for perspective on what matchups on the court may look like.
Mike White is well familiar with the southeast part of the country. From 1995-1999, White played for Mississippi averaging just over five points a game. He still ranks sixth all-time in Ole Miss history in assists (370) and help bring the program’s first NCAA Tournament victory during his playing days. After a brief professional playing stint with the New Mexico Storm of the now defunct International Basketball League, he joined the coaching ranks in 2000 with Jacksonville State until 2004 before returning to Oxford for seven years with the same job title.
In 2011, he took his first head coaching job with Louisiana Tech that ended up including a trio of conference titles and NIT appearances. After going 101-40 in four seasons with the Bulldogs the success led him to Gainsville where Florida was a middle of the pack team in the SEC, but then things got weird. It’s not often that a head coach leaves for a rival institution but heading into the 2022-23 season White left Florida for Georgia. The Bulldogs got off a similar start last season, but ultimately finished with a .500 16-16 record.
KenPom likes the Bulldogs more than Mizzou as UGA comes in at 86th compared to 90th for the Tigers. The Bulldogs are good at getting to the free throw line ranking top 30 in the nation in free throws made and attempted. Defensively, Georgia ranks as a top 60 team in adjusted defensive efficiency while opponents field goal percentage against the Bulldogs is 39.3%.
On the offensive side of the court, 6-foot-8 guard Jabri Abdur-Rahim has led the way for the Bulldogs with 13.2 points per game while putting up double-digit figures in 10 of 13 games for Georgia. Alongside Adbur-Rahim is guard Noah Thomasson. After succeeding at Niagara for two seasons he transferred to Athens where’s averaging double-figures including a 21 and 24 points performance against Wake Forest and Winthrop.
Like Anthony Robinson II for Mizzou, Georgia has a sensational freshman on its roster in Silas Demary Jr. The 6-foot-5 guard is averaging a little over eight points per contest while also making his presence felt in the rebounding department with 4.6 boards per game. He also placed in the top 20 in the SEC in both assists and steals making him a player that contributes in all areas of the game. Blue Cain is another freshman for Georgia that has gotten off to a good start as against Alabama A&M he tallied a team high 18 points off the bench.
RJ Melendez did play against Mizzou last season with Illinois, but failed to register a single point in 11 minutes, but this year he is averaging 9.8 points per game including an 11-point performance in the Bulldogs most recent outing against Alabama A&M. RJ Sunahara and Russel Tchewa are two big men that’ll likely appear in the starting lineup for the Bulldogs. At 7-foot, Tchewa leads the Bulldogs with 6.3 rebound per contest after coming over from South Florida a season ago.
3 Keys to the Game
#1 Keep the Tamar Bates train going, but someone else is going to need to step up as well
Tamar Bates has been phenomenal for Mizzou the past three games. The Indiana transfer has tallied 55 points (18.3 PPG) between Seton Hall, Illinois, and Central Arkansas. Against the Bears, he went 9 of 10 from the field, 3 of 3 from behind the arc while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out a trio of assists. Gates is pleased with Bates being able to heavily contribute, but he still needs another guy to rise alongside him not named Sean East II.
“I need another guy in terms of our perimeter to be able to make plays. think Tamar Bates has done a good job,” Gates said. “We saw that last game with his production, his percentage, but also we need another guy to step up in that area.”
Who could that player be on the perimeter? Nick Honor tallied 29 minutes against Central Arkansas but shot just 2 of 8 from the field, Anthony Robinson II went 1 of 7, but in 10 minutes, Curt Lewis went 3 of 4. Any of those players stepping up against Georgia would definitely play dividends.
#2 Getting to the free throw line in a healthy way
On Friday, Dennis Gates expressed how he was disappointed in the fact that teams during the non-con were more successful at getting to the free throw than the Tigers. He also went on to mention how Georgia was good at getting to the free throw line (as mentioned above). With that being said, on Saturday and throughout these next 17-18 games, Missouri is going to have to find ways to get opportunities at the charity stripe. Bates also noted on Friday that while the team didn’t produce much from outside they attacked the paint violently leading to more free throw attempts against Central Arkansas.
#3 Win the transition battle
With a talented group of guards Georgia can get out and capitalize in the transition game. It’s something that the Tigers have taken note of and is an emphasis to key in on as they open up SEC play.
“On the defensive side of the ball, just continuing to see good things in transition,” Bates said. “I feel like that’s one of the ways that Georgia can beat us and that’s what we’ve really focused on these past few days in practice is just our transition defense and loading up and building the shell.”
Bates thought that Mizzou did that well against Central Arkansas, but of course Georgia is a different beast in terms of level of competition. But, Mizzou has the talent at the guard position to accomplish this it’s just going to come down to execution.
KenPom Prediction: Missouri 74, Georgia 71
My Prediction: Missouri 85, Georgia 80 (OT)
Georgia’s size and experience is going to present some challenges for Mizzou, but are they a better team than Illinois, Kansas, and Seton Hall? No. Missouri has had time to rest, get almost to 100% and will have an opportunity to start fresh in conference play with a 1-0 record. When know that East and Bates are bringing their A game, but could it be the time where Noah Carter and Connor Vanover find their strides? We’ll see. Vanover tallied double-digits in the previous game going alongside Aidan Shaw’s 10 points and five rebounds. As for Carter and Nick Honor, the shooting slumps can’t last forever. It’s a tough matchup for Mizzou, but it’s a winnable one.