Georgia and Texas A&M battled from start to finish but some suspect decision making at the end proved costly for the Bulldogs in a 61-60 loss.
The game featured an intriguing matchup of Yante Maten and Derek Ogbeide going up against the talented and big front line of Texas A&M. Neither team was able to take much of an advantage early with the lead sliding back and forth throughout most of the first half.
Yante Maten tied the game with a jumper with 7:16 mark of the first half before the Aggies finally put together a run. Texas A&M would close the half with a 16-7 spurt to take a 37-28 lead into the break.
The intensity seemed to ratchet up several notches in the second half and Georgia immediately began chipping away at the Aggies’ lead.
Tyree Crump tied the game with a 3-pointer at the 10:09 mark but A&M’s Tyler Davis answered with a lay up at the other end. After a free throw by Maten and a stop at the other end, the Bulldogs missed an opportunity to retake the lead as Juwan Parker missed a wide open look from the corner. DJ Hogg answered with a three of his own at the other end to push the deficit to 50-46 with 8:08 remaining.
Georgia wasn’t finished though as they tightened things up on the defensive end. Crump knocked down another three to cut the deficit to just one at 52-51 and Maten gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the second half with a pair of free throws with 6:08 mark.
The Bulldogs pushed the lead to as many as five with 3:05 remaining but that is when things started to go south for the home team. With Georgia leading by four, Maten missed a pair of opportunities inside to increase the lead. Stars found Admon Gilder on the wing for an open 3-pointer that cut the Bulldogs’ lead to just one with 1:16 left in the game.
After a timeout, the Aggies showed full court pressure. Georgia was able to inbound the ball to freshman Teshaun Hightower who had made some big plays down the stretch. However, this time he threw an errant pass that Maten couldn’t handle for a turnover giving A&M the ball back with 1:09 remaining.
Starks made Georgia pay getting loose inside for a floater that put the Aggies back in front 61-60. The Bulldogs next possession resulted in a good look for Rayshaun Hammonds for a 3-point attempt from the top of the key that he missed. It wasn’t a bad shot but Hammonds would finish 0-6 from the field.
Texas A&M rebounded the ball with 41 seconds. Georgia didn’t need to foul and only needed to get a stop. They played sound defense until Starks used a high screen that forced Ogbeide to switch out on to him. As Starks made his move, Ogbeide reached out and fouled him much to the chagrin of Mark Fox with under three seconds remaining on the shot clock.
However, Georgia would once again catch a break as Starks missed both free throws. Maten rebounded the ball with 12 seconds remaining and Hightower pushed it into the front court and made a pass to Parker on the wing. The possession was clearly going nowhere but Mark Fox elected not to call a time out and Parker had to force up a contested shot that never had a chance.
Georgia loses, 61-60, after Mark Fox elects not to use one of his three remaining timeouts during a frantic final possession.— Seth Emerson (@SethWEmerson) March 1, 2018
Maten logged his 13th double-double of the season and the 27th of his career with 16 points and 12 rebounds. He however had a difficult time inside against the length of the Aggies going 5-18 form the field and an uncharacteristic 4-8 at the free throw line. Georgia finished the game 10-16 from the charity stripe and each of those misses hurt in a one point loss.
The Bulldogs received a big lift from Hightower and Crump. Hightower finished with 11 points and four assists while Crump added nine. Parker finished with eight points, four rebounds and three assists in his final regular season game at Stegeman.
Starks led the Aggies with 15 points while Davis added 13 and seven rebounds.
Georgia will close out the regular season slate on Saturday in Knoxville against Tennessee.