J.J. Frazier came off the bench to spark the Bulldog attack with a career high 20 points as Georgia downed the Norfolk State Spartans 63-50 at Stegeman Coliseum Saturday afternoon.
When Charles Mann struggled early Mark Fox once again went to the Glennville sophomore who during the month of December has variously set new career highs in points, rebounds, and assists. While the Spartans scored the first points of the afternoon, they never led again. Georgia closed out the first half on an 18-6 run and enjoyed a 13 point margin at the half. Norfolk State did make a nice run coming out of the locker room, cutting the Bulldog lead to 38-34.
But the visitors would come no closer, as Kenny Gaines responded with a layup and Frazier dropped a layup and a 3 pointer in quick succession to stretch the lead back out to double figures.
Mann eventually got on track and finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, earning his first double/double of the year. His effort led the team in rebounding, which helps explain how Norfolk State enjoyed a slight 43-37 edge over the 'Dawgs on the boards. Georgia however took advantage of speed on the perimeter to create good (and occasionally easy) shot opportunities, rendering that advantage moot. The Red and Black's 42.9% shooting effort was among their best of the season.
The Spartans were also seriously hampered by the fact that they only got to the free throw line 8 times (sinking 5) compared to Georgia's 14 of 21 effort from the line. That's not terrible, and certainly better than a couple of recent games, but Georgia's going to lose at least one winnable game in conference play if that number doesn't come up. But for now the 'Dawgs have run their record to 9-3, the best tally coming out of the non conference slate since 2011. That was also the last time the Hoop Hounds put together a 6 game winning streak like their current one. Coach Fox's squad got more good news when the Seton Hall team they beat handily last month took down #6 Villanova today 66-61. Suddenly that win looks even better than it did before.
The Classic City hoopers will now open SEC play in Athens on Tuesday at 7:00p.m. against Mike Anderson's 11-2 Arkansas squad. The Razorbacks have played one of the easiest schedules in the conference so far, so that number's a little misleading. Their two defeats were to a solid Iowa State squad and to Clemson in overtime. In short, this game will go a long way toward separating the wheat from the chaff in the conference. Until then. . . .