GAME NOTES: The Georgia Bulldogs will tip off a two-game homestand at Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday afternoon when they square off against the Arkansas Razorbacks in an SEC clash.
After losing its first two SEC matchups of the season to Texas A&M (53-69) and Florida (84-82), Arkansas got in the league win column in a big way on Tuesday night with a thrilling, last-second 84-82 home victory over nationally-ranked Kentucky. The Razorbacks are now a stellar 12-4 overall this season but have lost their only road game.
Georgia opened up conference action with back-to-back wins over Missouri (70-64 in OT) and Alabama (66-58) before losing to nationally-ranked Florida on Tuesday, 72-50. The Bulldogs are a modest 8-7 overall but have found plenty of success on their home floor (7-1).
Arkansas leads the all-time series with Georgia by a 17-13 count, which includes a 62-60 win last season in Fayetteville.
The Razorbacks battled back-and-forth with Kentucky earlier in the week and held a lead in the waning seconds of regulation before the Wildcats sent the contest to overtime with a 3-pointer. After the 18th tie of the game in the final minute of the extra session, Rashad Madden's 3-pointer was off the mark but the offensive rebound was dunked home by Michael Qualls just before the buzzer sounded. Madden and Qualls paced the thrilling effort with 18 points apiece. Alandise Harris scored 12 points off the bench, and Bobby Portis made his mark in the frontcourt with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Arkansas has grown accustomed to high-scoring outputs, as it shoots 47 percent from the field for an SEC-best 84.7 ppg. It also plays strong defense (69.0 ppg) and has one of the nation's best turnover margins (+6.6). No one scores more than Qualls' 13.0 ppg, but the deep squad has a total of 12 players who net at least 2.8 ppg. Portis (12.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Madden (11.7 ppg) both shoot greater than 53 percent from the field, while Harris (10.5 ppg) rounds out the double-digit scorers.
The Bulldogs were simply no match for the Gators on the road, as they were outshot from the field, 46.3 percent to 33.3 percent, and committed a game- high 15 turnovers in the 22-point setback. Juwan Parker paced the losing effort with 13 points, shooting 3-of-5 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line off the bench, while Marcus Thornton contributed 11 points and seven rebounds.
On the season, Georgia shoots 46 percent from the field for 69.8 ppg, but those numbers have plummeted during SEC action (.370, 62.0). Georgia is able to make up for its offensive shortcomings by playing well on the other end of the floor, allowing just 68.6 ppg on 40.6 percent shooting. Charles Mann is the spark plug, putting up 13.6 ppg on 46.3 percent from the floor, although his free-throw percentage (.651) leaves a lot to be desired. Kenny Gaines (11.7 ppg) and Nemanja Djurisic (10.1 ppg) are regular contributors as well.
Arkansas' upset over Kentucky earlier in the week was certainly an outstanding win, but the squad has been a completely different team away from home in recent seasons. If Georgia can keep the Razorbacks' shooting in check, it should be in line for a solid victory.
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