Mizzou Hoops: Georgia defense downs Tigers 68-44

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By Joey Gjata, 23 Sports

Saturday, Feb. 28–

Despite having lost two straight home SEC games against struggling Auburn and South Carolina, the Georgia Bulldogs (18-9) comfortably defeated the Missouri Tigers basketball team (8-20) 68-44.

With tournament implications at hand, the Bulldogs dismantled the eager Mizzou offense less than a week after Kim Anderson’s side shocked Florida behind freshman Namon Wright’s career-high 28 points.

Unlike in their midweek matchup against the Gators, the Tigers failed to produce any offense, as they only managed 13 points through the under-eight minute media break. After two early threes by Wright, Georgia made it clear early that the sizzling freshman sharpshooter would not replicate his shooting inside Stegemen Coliseum. The Los Angeles native only managed a pair of layups the rest of the way finishing the game with 10 points and three steals.

On the other side of the ball, the Bulldogs looked poised to ensure their projected eight seed for the NCAA Tournament, according to Joe Lunardi’s latest bracket. After the Tigers cut the lead to just six, 22-16, the Bulldogs J.J. Frazier buried a three to halt the Mizzou run and ignite the home crowd.

Georgia closed out the final six minutes on an 11-5 run to give itself a comfortable 18-point advantage, 41-23, at the half. Led by the big Montenegrin Nemanja Djurisic and his nine points through 20 minutes, Georgia stretched the floor with shooters and penetrating guards in junior Charles Mann and Frazier.

The first few minutes of the second half saw the Tigers come out with a little intensity and although short-lived, it was an encouraging sign for Anderson’s young players. However, Georgia tightened its stranglehold against the tail end side of the SEC with some textbook team basketball to secure a dominating 68-44 victory.

Georgia outrebounded Missouri by a plus 17 margin and forced the Tigers to turn the ball over 14 times, thanks in large part to seven steals. Mark Fox’s men also played smothering defense as the Tigers only scored 14 points by the time substitutes for both sides entered the game for the final three minutes of garbage time. Despite not shooting particularly well on the day at just under 40 percent from the field, the Bulldogs did hit 32 percent of their three point attempts resulting in 21 points.

The most impressive offensive stat-line for Georgia in the contest was in assists as the hosts tallied 18 compared to Mizzou’s six, three of which came from senior guard Keith Shamburger. Consequently, the copious ball movement helped Georgia finish a number of easy baskets and score by committee with three players in double figures and two others with eight points.

Missouri’s Johnathan Williams III had a respectable performance as he dropped 10 points and tallied a team-high six rebounds on the day. In addition, Wright’s 50 percent shooting from beyond the arc has made the freshman look increasingly confident in his game over the last few weeks of this season.

For Georgia, Djurisic finished the day with 14 points and five rebounds, while fan-favorite Frazier was Mr. all-around with 10 points, five assists and three steals. Both players should have important roles for the Bulldogs in the SEC and NCAA tournaments.

With the loss, the Tigers dropped to 8-21 (2-14) on the season and will host Auburn on Tuesday at 8 p.m. in their final home game of the season.

It will be senior night at Mizzou Arena as Shamburger and Keanau Post will be honored by the Missouri faithful in what should be a close game.