By Ken Cross
Georgia is keeping a quiet presence in the pre-conference wars. Earlier this week, the Bulldogs had a resounding 80-59 win over Georgia Tech and then came back and dominated Temple 84-66 for the entire 40 minutes on Friday.
They held Temple to 8-of-26 from the floor and took a 42-23 lead after the first 20 minutes. Fox was pleased with the all-out defensive effort, but noted that Temple just came off exams and then made a tough road trip. He likened it to last week when his team finished exams and lost 72-62 to improving UMass.
“I felt like in the first half, we really defended well, but I am not sure they were as sharp as they had been playing,” Fox said of the 7-4 Owls who came in with an RPI of 15, “I don’t want to take anything away from what our kids did defensively.”
Fox changed his starting lineup to bring more defensive punch as Turtle Jackson started on the point with E’Torrian Wilridge who started instead of Juwan Parker in the back court. Fox was pleased as Wilridge gave more length which was a plus against Temple scorers Shizz Alston, Quinton Rose, and Alani Moore. The trio finished a combined 9-of-30 with only four triples.
Have yourself a week, Yante Maten.
✅ Join UGA's top-10 career scorers & rebounders
✅ Have 3rd career 30/10 game*
✅ Lead #Dawgs to wins over GT and Temple
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) December 22, 2017
In addition, the Bulldogs had the usual consistent inside game with Maten’s stellar play as he has averaged 20.2 points and 9.3 rebounds over his first 11 games. He came off a 24-point performance to score 30 points and grab 12 boards as the Owls have little post presence and no physicality inside.
Maten made 8-of-17 shots and got to the foul line against the smaller Owls where he made 12-of-17 shots. He had six of Georgia’s first nine points out of halftime, making sure Temple did not slice that lead.
“We have got great post players that we try to utilize every game,” said Jackson, who had 10 points, including a pair of triples, and four assists in 30 minutes, “We were able to get the defenders on there back and just throw it in.”
Freshman Nicholas Claxton had his break out game as well as he put up 14 points and nine boards in 18 minutes while getting to the line 10 times.
“We wanted to dominate inside-out and whenever I can get a chance to build my teammates up, I take advantage of it,” said Claxton.
Next for the 9-2 Bulldogs is SEC play as they get Christmas break and then prep for a trip to Kentucky at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.