Maten powers Georgia to runaway win over Georgia Tech
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Yante Maten began his career at Georgia when the Bulldogs were completing a streak of four straight losses to state rival Georgia Tech.
With Maten leading the way, Georgia has launched its own winning streak in the rivalry.
Maten scored 24 points, including two baskets in Georgia’s 13-3 run to open a dominant second half, and the Bulldogs beat Georgia Tech 80-59 on Tuesday night.
Georgia (8-2) has won three straight games in the annual state rivalry game against Georgia Tech (5-5).
“It means a lot,” Maten said, adding that Georgia coach Mark Fox puts an emphasis on the series “because that’s our rival.”
Freshman Rayshaun Hammonds added 11 points as Georgia’s only other scorer in double figures.
Maten made 9 of 13 shots from the field and had six rebounds.
Fox was encouraged because he saw Maten avoid forcing shots and instead setting up baskets for his teammates, including in the start of the second half when the Bulldogs took control of the game.
“What was important to us was that we played together,” Fox said. “We have a terrific player in Yante Maten and he doesn’t have to shoot every time. We now have guys who are playing off Yante and getting their own shot because Yante draws so much attention.”
Georgia outscored Georgia Tech 44-25 in the second half.
“You have to give Georgia credit,” said Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner. “They really just kicked our butt that second half. I felt like they punched us in the mouth and just kept punching us. We did not respond real well.”
Josh Okogie led the Yellow Jackets with 21 points before fouling out late in the game. Tadric Jackson had 17 points. Senior center Ben Lammers was held to four points, nine below his average, while making only 2 of 10 shots from the field.
There were five first-half ties, the last at 17-17, before a 3-pointer by Juwan Parker started Georgia’s 9-0 run. Still, the Bulldogs led only 36-34 at halftime.
Georgia opened the second half with three straight baskets and continued to stretch the lead. A jumper by Maten, followed by Hammonds’ 3-pointer, gave the Bulldogs their first double-digit lead at 49-37.
After making 50 percent of its shots from the field in the first half, Georgia Tech shot only 25 percent (8 of 32) in the final 20 minutes.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets took a 16-12 advantage in points in the paint in the first half, and 30-24 for the game, by consistently creating layup opportunities. That success was negated by unforced errors which led to nine first-half turnovers but only 11 for the game. With Lammers struggling, the Yellow Jackets had only five assists and too little scoring help for Okogie and Tadric Jackson.
Georgia: Maten, the senior forward and preseason SEC player of the year, was the Bulldogs’ nearly unstoppable go-to scorer. Derek Ogbeide, who had nine points and five rebounds, and Hammonds, a freshman, provided good balance on the front line that made Lammers ineffective. Georgia’s ball handling remains a problem with 17 assists and 16 turnovers.
In a series known for close games, the Bulldogs’ three straight wins over the Yellow Jackets have come by an average margin of 17.3 points. Georgia has three straight wins by double digits in the rivalry for the first time since 1912-14, according to the school’s records.
Despite students on Christmas break, the attendance of 10,048 in Georgia’s renovated Stegeman Coliseum was close to a sellout.
Georgia’s football team, headed for a Jan. 1 Rose Bowl playoff game against Oklahoma, took the court at halftime. The Bulldogs’ new Southeastern Conference championship trophy and Governor’s Cup trophy — from their win over Georgia Tech — also were on display as fans barked and cheered.
Georgia Tech: Hosts Wright State on Friday night.
Georgia: Hosts Temple on Friday night.
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