Here are five observations following Georgia's 62-60 win over Missouri in the second round of the SEC Tournament.
Maten the magician
What else can be said about Yante Maten?
The Georgia big man was unstoppable against Missouri en route to scoring 21 points and posting 10 rebounds. Maten has been the one consistent presence for the Bulldogs this season. The Tigers, which held Maten to only nine points in the teams' regular-season meeting, had no answer for the AP's SEC Player of the Year down low.
But scoring, rebounding and defending weren't the only things Maten did. At one point in the second half, Maten actually drew up a play on head coach Mark Fox's whiteboard. After the game, Maten was asked if he has considered coaching during a post-game interview with SEC Network's Laura Rutledge.
"I haven't considered it but that's always an option," Maten said.
The 12th-seeded Bulldogs (18-14) will now face fourth-seeded Kentucky in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament Friday at 3 p.m.
It took a while but...
Fox has finally figured out this team. If he had been able to do so earlier in the season, perhaps the Bulldogs wouldn't be in the situation they are in.
But over the past couple of weeks, it has become apparent that whatever starting lineup he goes with, his best lineup on the floor is the following: Maten, Teshaun Hightower, Tyree Crump, Rayshaun Hammonds and Nicolas Claxton. With how Hightower has played of late, it makes you wonder why his minutes came in sporadic fashion during the middle of the year.
Yes, he had an illness at one point. But in the games following his three-game absence, he rarely played. Hightower has received 20 or more minutes in four of his past five games and has suddenly seen his offensive output jump in the right direction. That's good news for Georgia moving forward since it now knows it has a point guard budding with potential.
Hightower showed flashes throughout the year but never saw significant minutes to formulate a rhythm. Getting him involved now certainly made a difference in Georgia's production.
Benefiting from officiating
The officiating crew of Pat Adams, Todd Austin and Bart Lenox called a tight game from the opening tip.
With Missouri (20-12) being a solid but not deep team, this aided Georgia in a tremendous way. The officials called a lot of touch fouls, and some of those led to Missouri forward Kevin Puryear fouling out with over 11 minutes left to play in the game. And one of the reasons Puryear had to play was that the Tigers don't have the needed depth when foul trouble hits.
It wasn't like the foul discrepancy was that large either. Missouri was whistled for 25 fouls to Georgia's 17. But Georgia had the bodies to rotate when Missouri didn't.
The Porter effect
A lot of hype and buzz was built about the return of Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. Porter, one of the nation's elite high school prospects, hadn't played since the first game of the season due to injury. But while much was made about his return, Porter didn't look close to 100 percent on the floor.
And with the foul trouble mounting for Missouri, Porter wasn't able to keep his minutes to a limited number.
Porter, who played 23 minutes, scored 12 points and sure looked smooth at times offensively. But given his layoff, it never should have been expected that he would have a tremendous factor on the game's outcome.
The other Porter
Georgia, however, had a hard time defending Porter's brother, Jontay Porter.
The younger Porter who reclassified to play with his older brother at Missouri had a great game and helped bring the Tigers back into the contest. Jontay Porter scored 20 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Each time Georgia threatened to pull away, Jontay Porter usually helped with an answer of some sort.