Georgia has eased into this college basketball season, relatively speaking, playing only two games on its schedule since tipping off on Nov. 8.
Georgia guard Kenny Gaines (12) and UNC-Pembroke guard Keysheen Hinton (14) chase after a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA exhibition college basketball game Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, in Athens, Ga.
That pace quickens starting today at 5 p.m. on ESPNU when the Bulldogs have an opening-round matchup with Davidson in the Charleston Classic.
Georgia (1-1) will play three games in the next four days in the eight-team tournament, with a meeting with either Temple or Clemson on deck on Friday.
“That’s going to be a real test for us,” said forward Cameron Forte, a junior college transfer. “Those are three good schools and power six conferences besides Davidson (of the Southern Conference). We’ll figure out where we are and it’s a tournament so we’re playing games every day.”
All eight teams in the field for games at TD Arena are in the top 150 of the latest Sagarin Ratings, with New Mexico the highest at No. 16 and Davidson the lowest at No. 148.
Davidson made its second straight NCAA tournament last year, but is off to an 0-3 start, including a 111-77 loss to then No. 4 Duke and a 70-57 setback to then No. 25 Virginia.
New Mexico is the only team ranked in The Associated Press top 25 at No. 19. The Lobos are on the other side of the bracket from Georgia along with UAB, Nebraska and UMass.
“There’s a lot of great teams,” said Georgia point guard Charles Mann, coming off a career-high 24 point performance in an 80-71 home loss to Georgia Tech last Friday that include going 4-of-4 on 3-pointers. “We’ve just got to come ready to play and play our basketball and hopefully we win.”
Georgia should have the depth to withstand the grind of a tournament.
Coach Mark Fox used 11 players against the Yellow Jackets, including three freshmen who shot a combined 3 of 14 from the field.
Guard Juwan Parker logged 22 minutes and scored five points with six rebounds and three assists, guard J.J. Frazier hit a 3-pointer and forward Kenny Paul Geno missed in his only shot attempt
“I felt like our young kids came in and J.J. gave us a couple of good minutes,” Fox said. “He and Juwan and Kenny Paul Geno, all those freshmen, made some errors that freshmen are going to make.”
Another newcomer, the 6-foot-7 Forte, scored all eight of his points against Georgia Tech in the first half. He did not attempt a field goal in four second-half minutes,
“He’s got to understand that he’s got to be more consistent because we weren’t as good offensively without him,” Fox said.
Sophomore forward Brandon Morris, who started 20 games last year, hasn’t played yet this season for disciplinary reasons, but made the trip to South Carolina. Georgia hasn’t said if he will play in today’s game.
With or without Morris, Georgia needs to do a better job on the boards. The Bulldogs lost the battle on the glass to Georgia Tech 49-40 after outrebounding Wofford in a season-opening win by 25.
“We’ve got to rebound better and just play defense and execute better,” Mann said.
Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said he thinks Georgia “is going to be good. (Fox) has done a great job with those young guards. The big guys can play better than maybe they played (Friday), and I think they will. And then when Brandon Morris comes back it will add another dimension.”
DAVIDSON VS. GEORGIA AT CHARLESTON CLASSIC
WHEN/WHERE: 5 p.m. today/TD Arena, Charleston, S.C.
TV/RADIO: ESPNU/ WGAU 990-AM, WSB 750-AM, WBTS 95.5 FM
RECORDS: Davidson is 0-3; Georgia is 1-1
PROBABLE STARTERS: Davidson – G Brian Sullivan (So., 5-11, 14.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg); G Tyler Kalinoski (Jr., 6-4, 7.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg); G Tom Droney (Sr., 6-6, 15.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg); F De’Mon Brooks (Sr., 6-7, 17.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg); G Chris Czerapowicz (Sr., 6-7, 6.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg). Georgia – F Cameron Forte (So., 6-7, 8.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg); F Donte’ Williams (Sr., 6-9, 7.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg); F Nemanja Djurisic (Jr., 6-8, 10.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg); G Charles Mann (So., 6-5, 15.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg); G Kenny Gaines (So., 6-3, 11.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg).
SERIES: Davidson leads the all-time series, which began in 1908, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: Georgia and Davidson last played one another in the 1970-71 season, with the Bulldogs losing 77-75 in Athens and 63-55 at a neutral site.
SEASON AT A GLANCE: Davidson is 0-3 with losses to then-No. 4 Duke (111-77), Milwaukee (81-77) and Virginia (70-57). Georgia is 1-1 with a 72-52 victory over Presbyterian and an 80-71 loss to Georgia Tech.
NOTEWORTHY: This will be Georgia’s first road game of the season. … The Bulldogs will play either Clemson or Temple in the second round on Friday and will meet a to-be-determined opponent on Sunday; teams in the Charleston Classic include Clemson, Davidson, New Mexico, Nebraska, Temple, Alabama Birmingham and Massachusetts. … Davidson was 26-8 overall and 17-1 in the Southern Conference last season; the Wildcats reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, losing to Marquette 59-58. … Bob McKillop is in his 24th season at Davidson and has compiled a 452-279 won-loss record.