Yante Maten figured the ball was going in.
With the clock winding down and Georgia holding a two-point lead, Texas forward Jarrett Allen got off a hook shot near the free-throw line with Maten contesting it. As the ball was being released, Maten noticed Allen got it off clean and with good rotation.
Once the ball touched the rim, it slowly appeared to be rolling through the hoop.
“I turned around and it looked like it was pretty much good,” Maten said. “And it bounced pretty much in the rim. I was like, ‘No, don’t do it.’”
Maten’s plea came true. It didn’t.
The ball rimmed out of the basket with the buzzer sounding. Georgia escaped with a 59-57 victory over Texas.
For Georgia (13-8), it was a fortunate turn of events after recent games against Florida and Texas A&M, where the end-result of a close contest went the other team’s way. On Georgia’s possession before Texas’ final shot, it initially seemed like forward Derek Ogbeide was able to give the Bulldogs a four-point cushion after putting in a missed shot from guard J.J. Frazier.
Upon review, however, officials determined a shot-clock violation occurred, which set up the Longhorns’ attempt to tie the game.
Georgia rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat the Longhorns (8-13) in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Georgia was paced by Maten’s 19 points.
Included in Maten’s total was a critical bucket to put Georgia up by three with less than a minute left to play in the game.
Three who mattered
Maten: Maten led the way for the Bulldogs with 21 points and seven rebounds. He made some tough baskets around the rim and proved to be the best big man on the floor when he was in the game. He connected on six of his 11 shots.
Frazier: Frazier struggled early, going without a field goal in the first 20 minutes. He found a rhythm in the second half and finished with 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
Texas guard Andrew Jones: Jones was a headache for Georgia to deal with at times. Jones dropped 16 points and dished out eight assists.
Freshman guard Jordan Harris’ two 3-pointers in the second half proved huge in the grand scheme of things. But really, the game turned at the beginning of the second half. Georgia opened up the second half on a 10-2 run and was more in sync on both ends of the floor. The Bulldogs out-scored the Longhorns by 11 in the final 20 minutes.
Locking down Allen: Georgia did a good job defending Texas’ freshman phenom Jarrett Allen, who was held to only four points throughout the game. Allen entered the game averaging 12.4 points per game. Texas head coach Shaka Smart said the Bulldogs kept Allen off-balanced by switching up its defensive looks. The trio of Yante Maten, Derek Ogbeide and Mike Edwards played physical with Allen and rotated to double team at times. Allen only made two of his seven field-goal attempts.
Getting to the line: Georgia won the free-throw battle by converting 17 of its 22 free-throw attempts in the win. Texas only shot 13 free throws and didn’t take advantage of its opportunities with only seven makes. A lot of it had to do with Maten getting to the line so often. Maten went 9-of-12 shooting from the free-throw line.
Wilkins returns: NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins returned to the school he played for from 1979-82. Wilkins was honored at halftime for his recent induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
Change in starting lineup: The Bulldogs made a tweak in their starting lineup for the first time in 12 games. Sophomore Turtle Jackson got the nod in place of Harris. Harris had been a starter since Georgia’s game against Charleston Southern.
Recruiting day: Also at halftime, Georgia football’s six early-enrollees were introduced to the home crowd. Hanging out with the early-enrollees were recruits, including American Heritage (Plantation, Florida) offensive line prospect Tedarrell Slaton and Clay-Chalkville (Pinson, Alabama) receiver Nico Collins among them. Numerous assistants were present for the game, including offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, special teams coordinator Shane Beamer, offensive line coach Sam Pittman, running backs coach Dell McGee, receivers coach James Coley, inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann and outside linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer.
They said it
Frazier on Texas’ missed final shot: “God heard our prayers. We were praying. That ball was halfway in. It just gives us a boost because we’ve been playing good basketball the past two weeks, minus the Alabama game.”
Georgia head coach Mark Fox on the win: “It really is a good win and we needed one. I thought that Texas was obviously a team that was young and they are very, very talented. It just hasn’t clicked for them. So we felt that if we could just calm down in the second half and stay the course, that we could earn a victory. We are really proud of our team that we were able to do that.”
Texas head coach Shaka Smart on Allen being held to four points: “Georgia did a really good job. They kind of mixed it up, sometimes helping off the guards and sometimes giving a full double team. I think it was effective to get him somewhat off balanced. So that even on the possessions it wasn’t as much help, he wasn’t able to be as aggressive.”
Georgia hits the road to take on Kentucky Tuesday at 9 p.m.