GAME NOTES: The Arkansas Razorbacks will try to continue their incredible run at Bud Walton Arena this season, as they host the Georgia Bulldogs in an SEC affair on Thursday night.
Georgia has slipped up in two straight games, falling at home to Alabama on Feb. 12 (52-46) and at Ole Miss last Saturday (84-74 in OT) to halt what had been a season-long, five-game win streak. With their recent slide, the Bulldogs have dipped below .500 overall (12-13) and to an even 6-6 in the SEC.
Arkansas captured yet another outstanding home win last Saturday afternoon with a come-from-behind 73-71 victory over Missouri, its fourth win in the past five games to improve to 16-9overall and 7-5 in conference. The Razorbacks have one of the best home court advantages in the nation, going 15-1 in Fayetteville, which includes an 80-69 win over then-No. 2 Florida on Feb. 5.
With regard to the all-time series, Arkansas holds a 16-13 advantage over Georgia, which includes a 6-3 record in Fayetteville.
Georgia had an eight-point lead over Ole Miss on the road over the weekend before allowing the Rebels to come back to tie the game at the end of regulation, and eventually claim the 10-point victory in the extra session. It was a stellar shooting night for the Bulldogs (.483), but they committed 18 turnovers and were plagued by foul trouble, getting outscored at the free- throw line, 30-13. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Kenny Gaines (13 points) and Donte Williams (10 points, six rebounds, two blocks) were also impressive.
The Bulldogs have found some success this season thanks to their stout defense, which allows just 61.3 ppg on 39.1 percent field goal efficiency, but they often shoot themselves in the foot with one of the most futile offenses in the SEC (59.6 ppg). The team's catalyst is undoubtedly Caldwell-Pope, who is among the league leaders in both scoring (17.7 ppg) and steals (2.2 spg), while also grabbing a team-best 6.6 rpg. Unfortunately for Georgia, it doesn't get much production elsewhere, with Nemanja Djurisic the next best scoring option at 7.8 ppg.
Arkansas trailed Missouri late, but BJ Young came up huge in the clutch, converting a pair of traditional 3-point plays in the final minute to lift his team to the thrilling two-point victory. Young poured in 18 points in the contest, while also adding five assists and five rebounds. Marshawn Powell led the team with 24 points in a performance that helped him earn SEC Player of the Week honors, and Coty Clarke was also a crucial component to the triumph with 13 points, seven boards and a pair of steals.
On the season, the Razorbacks boast one of the top offenses in the SEC, netting 44.8 percent of their field goal attempts for 76.0 ppg, and while their scoring defense is rather suspect (68.7 ppg), they are aided by one of the top turnover margins in the nation, forcing 6.6 miscues per game more than they commit. Young is a 46.5 percent field goal shooter from the backcourt, pouring in 16.5 ppg while dishing out 94 assists compared to only 47 turnovers. Powell (15.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg) rounds out a potent scoring duo for the Hogs, while seven others average between 4.0 and 6.8 ppg.
Georgia has surprised some people with its solid play in the SEC this season, and it has the defensive approach to slow down Arkansas, but the Razorbacks have been outstanding on their home floor and truth be told, they shouldn't have much of an issue dismissing the Bulldogs in this one.
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