GAME NOTES: The Georgia Bulldogs continue a season-long, five-game homestand on Monday night, as they welcome the Chattanooga Mocs to Stegeman Coliseum for a non-conference clash.
Chattanooga's last four games have all come as part of the Las Vegas Invitational, and after losing three straight to Nevada (81-63), nationally- ranked UCLA (106-65) and Morehead State (88-75), it finally notched a win on Nov. 29 over IUPUI (87-76). It was just the Mocs' third win this season in eight tries, and it is 0-3 in true road games.
After losing four straight games, including three in a row in a last-place finish at the Charleston Classic, Georgia earned its first win in three weeks last Friday when it downed Appalachian State, 71-53. The Bulldogs are just 2-4 this season, although they have defended their home floor admirably (2-1).
Georgia has a comfortable 27-5 lead over Chattanooga in the all-time series, although the teams haven't met since the 1997 NCAA Tournament, when the 14th- seeded Mocs upset the third-seeded Bulldogs, 73-70.
The Mocs carried a 12-point lead into the half of their latest game and were able to hold on down the stretch to defeat IUPUI. They were scorching from the field on the day, making nearly 59 percent of their tries, and were also helped out by a 37-21 rebounding advantage. All five starters scored in double figures, led by a 27-point, nine-rebound effort by Z. Mason. Casey Jones and Gee McGhee each scored 14 points, while Greg Pryor and Lance Stokes netted 13 points apiece.
Chattanooga's problem this year certainly hasn't been its offensive production, as it shoots 48.4 percent from the floor, for 85.2 points per game. However, opponents (.499, 77.8 ppg) have also had little issue lighting up the scoreboard. Mason in the catalyst from the frontcourt with 17.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, while McGhee (14.9 ppg), Pryor (11.6 ppg) and Jones (10.3 ppg) have also been consistent.
After a tightly-contested first half against Appalachian State last week, Georgia pulled away late by outscoring its adversary in the second stanza, 38-21. Although its showing from 3-point range was forgettable (3-of-11), it made greater than 55 percent of its shots overall in the triumph and was paced by a pair of 14-point efforts by Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines. Nemanja Djurisic was also solid coming off the bench with 10 points.
Despite outshooting their opponents this season, 47.3 percent to 41.1 percent, the Bulldogs boast just a +1.2 scoring margin mostly due to their lackluster showings from 3-point range (.286) and the foul line (.683). Mann is the go-to option with 16.3 points on nearly 52 percent from the field. Gaines brings 13.0 points per game to the table, and Djurisic (11.2 ppg) is 8-of-17 from beyond the arc.
Georgia has not looked especially impressive this season, but playing at home against an equally underwhelming Mocs' squad, it should be able to inch closer to .500.
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