The Georgia men’s basketball team takes its ascending show on the road again today with a visit to Rocky Top.
Georgia forward Nemanja Djurisic (42) is defended by Auburn guard Brian Greene Jr. (24) during a game on Jan. 30 at Stegeman Coliseum.
The Bulldogs go for their third consecutive win away from Athens, a reversal for a team that had lost seven true road games in a row dating back to last season before winning at Texas A&M and South Carolina the last week and a half.
“We’ve been showing signs of maturity,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said Tuesday. “We’ve had pretty good composure whether it be home or the road recently. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to have a lot of teachable moments that are still to come, but I think they just have been more poised at certain key times, which is good to see.”
The Bulldogs (10-11, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) have won just once at Thompson-Boling Arena in their last 11 trips. That came in 2011.
Georgia won at South Carolina 67-56 Saturday before a more-than-respectable crowd of 11,327.
Tennessee (11-9, 3-5 SEC) averages 16,850 per game at home, seventh in the nation.
The Volunteers are 9-2 at home this season, losing only to Memphis and Ole Miss.
Georgia began SEC play with an RPI rank of 205, but after winning three in a row and four of the last five is up to 130.
“They changed some lineups and now I think they have the right lineup more than anything,” second-year Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said this week.
“They have not changed what they do, their system and style is the same and their guys are playing with a level of confidence.”
Georgia has used 12 different starting lineups this season. Sophomore forward Nemanja Djurisic has come off the bench since the second SEC game.
Freshman Kenny Gaines came on against South Carolina with a career-high 11 points—all in the second half — after playing sparingly this season.
“We have a lot of guys chipping in right now,” Fox said. “In the last two or three games, we’ve had a lot of guys make a play or two plays and so we’ve kind of had some production outside Kentavious (Caldwell-Pope) by committee. That’s probably been the biggest reason we’ve been successful.”
Fox said his team is playing better, but he wants more.
“I still think there’s a lot of room for this team to improve and grow,” he said.
A CLOSER LOOK
GEORGIA AT TENNESSEE
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tenn.
TV: SEC Network (Peachtree-TV)
Radio: WRFC 960-AM.
Records: Georgia is 10-11, 4-4 SEC; Tennessee is 11-9, 3-5 SEC.
Season at a glance: Georgia has evened its SEC record after starting 0-3 and seeks its fourth straight win, something it hasn’t done in league play since 2003. The Bulldogs beat South Carolina 67-56 on Saturday. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 19, but the Bulldogs had more than two players reach double figures for the first time in SEC play. Tennessee is coming off a 73-60 loss at Arkansas on Saturday that followed one-point home wins over Alabama and Vanderbilt. The Volunteers started SEC play 1-3.
Probable starting lineups:
Georgia: G Vincent Williams (6-0, 165, Sr., 4.9 ppg, 2.2 apg); G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (6-5, 205, So., 17.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg ); F: Brandon Morris (6-7, 205, Fr., 4.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg); F Donte’ Williams (6-9, 225, Jr., 5.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg); C John Florveus (6-11, 240, Sr., 2.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg).
Tennessee: G Jordan McRae (6-5, 178, Jr., 13.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg); G Armani Moore (6-5, 203, Fr., 2.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg); G Josh Richardson (6-6, 188, S0, 8.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg.); F Jarnell Stokes (6-8, 270, So., 11.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg); F Kenny Hall (6-9, 230, Sr., 6.6 ppg. 5.3 rpg).
Series record: Tennessee leads 92-54, including 15 of the last 19. The Volunteers are 55-14 all-time in Knoxville against the Bulldogs.
Last meeting: Tennessee won 73-62 on Feb. 4, 2012. Marcus Thornton and Donte’ Williams fouled out and coach Mark Fox was ejected with 19 seconds left after drawing two technicals for arguing a no-call. Tennessee made 28 of 37 from the foul line.
Noteworthy: Georgia freshman point guard Charles Mann has practiced this week and will play against Tennessee after sustaining a minor right shoulder injury against South Carolina. “Really no major issue there,” Fox said. … Tennessee’s Hall was arrested last week for driving with a suspended license, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, but won’t be suspended and will be in uniform. … Guard Trae Golden is considered “day-to-day” for Tennessee with a hamstring injury. … Georgia is fourth in the SEC in scoring defense at 61.4 per game. … Stokes is fourth in the SEC in rebounding at 8.4. … Tennessee’s roster includes four Georgia natives: McRae, Moore, Hall and Golden.