Frazier, Gaines power Georgia past Tennessee, 81-72
Jan. 14, 2016
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — When Georgia's version of the Splash Brothers took over the game, Tennessee was left with yet another road loss.
J.J. Frazier and Kenny Gaines handled almost all the scoring in Georgia's decisive second-half run after trailing by nine points and the Bulldogs beat Tennessee 81-72 on Wednesday night.
Tennessee led 43-34 early in the second half before Georgia used a 25-6 run to take a 59-49 lead. Frazier, who had 28 points and Gaines, who had 23, combined for the last 23 points in the run.
"At times we try to call ourselves the Splash Brothers," Gaines said with a smile, referring to the nickname made famous by the long-range shooters on the NBA Golden State Warriors.
Gaines made 6 of 10 3-pointers. Frazier made 4 of 5.
After the Vols answered with five straight points, yet another jumper from Gaines pushed the duo's streak to 25 straight points for Georgia. The two combined for 38 second-half points.
"I didn't know how many points it was for us," Gaines said. "I just wanted to make sure we won the game."
Georgia (9-5, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) committed 18 first-half turnovers but protected the ball better in the second half to finish with 20.
Kevin Punter and Detrick Mostella each had 16 points to lead Tennessee (8-8, 1-3). Tennessee, 8-1 in home games, fell to 0-7 away from Knoxville.
Vols coach Rick Barnes said his team didn't respond when the Bulldogs "raised the level of intensity, which you expect them to do."
"They played harder than us in the second half," Barnes said. "We can't let anyone play harder than us."
Barnes called Frazier "a terrific player" and said "he just got comfortable."
Punter said Georgia adjusted to Tennessee's pressure defense, which had been effective in building the first-half lead.
"Those guys that were getting pressed adjusted," Punter said. "They came out and most of all started hitting 3s. They started getting shots and created a rhythm."
Georgia's strong 3-point shooting in the first half wasn't enough to overcome the 16 turnovers. Tennessee caused Georgia problems as it extended its perimeter defense, sometimes trapping the ball and forcing bad passes.
The Vols' strong defense held the Bulldogs without a field goal for about seven minutes after a hook shot by Yante Maten gave Georgia a 19-18 lead. Tennessee took the lead during Georgia's field-goal drought and led 35-28 at halftime.
Tennessee stretched the lead to nine points at 43-34 before Georgia answered with an 18-4 run, including the last 16 points from Gaines and Frazier, for a 52-47 lead.
Tennessee: freshman Admiral Schofield, the younger brother of Atlanta Falcons linebacker O'Brien Schofield, had only two points to end his strong start to SEC play. He played only seven minutes in the first half after picking up an early foul. His only points came on two free throws with about three minutes remaining. After averaging 4.8 points in nonconference games, Schofield averaged 18.3 points in his first three SEC games. ... Mostella fouled out in the final minute.
Georgia: Maten had 10 points. ... Freshman F Derek Ogbeide had three points and seven rebounds in his first start. ... Georgia made its first three shots — all 3s. ... Gaines finished with six 3s. Frazier had four 3s. ... It was Georgia coach Mark Fox's 47th birthday.
BULLDOGS RULE BOARDS
Tennessee again had no starter taller than 6-foot-5. Before this game, the Vols looked bigger in the SEC statistics. Tennessee had a plus-6.3 rebounding margin in its first three SEC games to rank fourth in the league, but Georgia claimed a 43-28 advantage in rebounds and blocked five shots.
Maten and Frazier each had eight rebounds.
"We calmed down," Maten said. "We were playing overly excited in the first half. We were trying to make a lot of home-run plays but I think in the second half we just played like we play. We stopped trying to rush and the ball went in."
Tennessee: At Mississippi State on Saturday.
Georgia: Hosts No. 15 Texas A&M on Saturday.