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Yante Maten leads Georgia to upset of No. 18 Tennessee

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ATHENS, Ga. — Tennessee coach Rick Barnes says the homestretch of the regular season is a time to either improve or lose ground.

Barnes said Georgia is improving. He wasn’t as generous in his appraisal of his Volunteers.

Yante Maten scored 19 points and Georgia held off No. 18 Tennessee for a 73-62 victory Saturday night that denied the Volunteers an opportunity to pull within a game of the SEC lead.

“This time of year, if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse,” Barnes said. “Georgia is better than they were two weeks ago. The question is are we going to get better?”

Derek Ogbeide had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Georgia (15-11, 6-8 Southeastern Conference) won its second straight in a late attempt to return to NCAA Tournament consideration.

Tennessee (19-7, 9-5) remained two games behind No. 10 Auburn, the SEC leader, which lost to South Carolina 84-75 on Saturday. The Vols, who have lost two of their last three, were outrebounded 40-33.

“We were just out-toughed,” said Admiral Schofield, who had 11 points. “We went out there and competed tonight, but when it mattered, we weren’t there.”

Lamonte Turner led Tennessee with 14 points. Jordan Bowden had 13.

Georgia had been considered an NCAA bubble team before losing six of seven games, prompting coach Mark Fox to say some players had lost confidence. The Bulldogs still have more ground to make up in their final four regular season games, including a visit to Tennessee on March 3, but confidence should be restored following wins over Florida and Tennessee this week.

“This league is a monster,” Fox said. “You’re going to have ups and downs and we had a couple of games where we didn’t play well. They stuck together and just kept trying to get better and play the right way.”

Maten said players took an attitude of “We’re a good team, let’s go prove it. That’s what we focused on. We had to start a roll and try to get on a winning streak.”

Maten scored eight of his 19 points on free throws. Georgia outscored the Vols 27-10 at the free-throw line.

“Give them credit, they earned it, but at times we just didn’t play that smart,” Barnes said.

Tennessee’s last lead was 6-5. Georgia briefly led by double figures at 38-28 before a 3-pointer by Schofield started the Vols’ comeback.

A tip-in by Kyle Alexander cut the Georgia lead to 51-49, but the Vols couldn’t take advantage of repeated opportunities to pull even.

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee: Foul trouble helped to limit Tennessee’s Grant Williams to five points, 11 below his average. Williams made only one of eight shots from the field and was held to four rebounds.

Georgia: The Bulldogs continue to struggle with their backcourt play. Tennessee’s man-to-man pressure had an immediate effect on Georgia’s half-court offense as Georgia struggled to run plays. The Bulldogs’ best success came when the guards were able to quickly pass to Maten, even if he wasn’t near the basket.

POLL IMPLICATION

Losing two of its last three games could cause Tennessee to drop in the AP Top 25 .

HARD FALL

Schofield briefly left the game midway through the first half when he landed hard on the court after battling for a rebound. He appeared to hold his left arm to his chest when he walked to the bench, but he soon returned to the game.

CLOCKED

There were delays at the start of each half, each lasting several minutes, due to shot-clock malfunctions. The delays led to loud complaints from impatient fans.

TAKE A BOW

Two former Georgia standout guards were featured in promotions. J.J. Frazier bobblehead toys were given to fans, and Frazier was on hand to lead a pregame cheer. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, now with the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, attended the game and given a tribute during a timeout.

UP NEXT

Tennessee: Hosts Florida on Wednesday night.

Georgia: Visits South Carolina on Wednesday night.

Former LSU coach Johnny Jones hired by Texas Southern

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Johnny Jones is in charge of a college basketball program once again.

The former North Texas and LSU head coach will be the next head coach at Texas Southern, replacing Mike Davis, who left to take over at Detroit.

“I’m really excited about it,” Jones told Fox 26 in Houston. “This is a terrific opportunity with a great university in a great city.”

Jones went 90-72 in five seasons in Baton Rouge, but finished his final year, the 2016-17 season, with just a 10-21 record. He’s best-known for failing to get to the NCAA tournament with a team that featured Ben Simmons.

Coach K: ‘I have no plans to retire’

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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the greatest college basketball coach this side of John Wooden, said on Monday that he has given on thought to the idea of when he will call it quits.

“I have no plans to retire,” Krzyzewski said on the College Hoops Today Podcast. “I feel better than I have in a long time. I feel healthier than I have in a long time. There’s no end in sight.”

The question of whether or not Coach K will be around all that much longer has been something that has lingered over the sport given the numerous health issues that he has dealt with in recent years. He’s undergone surgery six times in the last two years and, at 71 years old, is at an age where most everyone is hoping to retire while working one of the most strenuous and time-consuming jobs imaginable.

Put another way, no one would blame Krzyzewski if he wanted to hang it up.

But instead, he is arguably at the top of his game. He’s churned out elite recruiting classes in each of the last four seasons, he’s won two National Titles in the last eight seasons and he has three of the nation’s top five prospects enrolling for the 2018-19 season.

He’s not slowing down.

So why would he thinking about leaving the game?

VIDEO: Mixtape for Duke commit R.J. Barrett, potential 2019 No. 1 pick

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Last week, after the NBA draft officially concluded, we posted a mock draft for the lottery in 2019.

At the top of that list was R.J. Barrett, a Duke-commit and Canadian-native that has NBA scouts wowed and intrigued. This mixtape should give you a good feel for why.

Trae Jefferson to transfer out of Texas Southern

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Texas Southern guard and NCAA tournament darling Trae Jefferson announced on Saturday that he’s leaving the school.

The 5-foot-7 Jefferson was sensational at times during his sophomore season with the Tigers as he put up 23.1 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game, helping lead Texas Southern to a victory in the 2018 NCAA Tournament’s First Four in Dayton over North Carolina Central. One of the most entertaining talents in college basketball, Jefferson is leaving Texas Southern in-part because former head coach Mike Davis took the job at Detroit this offseason.

While Detroit is going to be the favorite to land Jefferson, because of his connection to Davis, it’ll be interesting to see what his transfer market looks like. Jefferson also made it clear on his Twitter page that he would like to be closer to his hometown of Milwaukee so that he can be closer to his ailing grandfather.

Given NCAA transfer rules, Jefferson would likely have to sit out next season before getting two more years of eligibility. But he could be applying for a waiver if he’s trying to be closer to home to deal with his family situation.

Nevada’s Josh Hall transfers to Missouri State

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Nevada lost a talented player from last season’s team as rising junior Josh Hall opted to transfer to Missouri State on Friday night.

The 6-foot-7 Hall is a former top-150 recruit who played a key part in the Wolf Pack’s postseason run as he elevated his play to average 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Hall also made the game-winning bucket to lift Nevada past No. 2 seed Cincinnati in the second round.

Although Hall picked up his play late in the year, he was coming off the bench most of his sophomore campaign as he averaged 6.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season.

Since Nevada took in some talented transfers, while players like Jordan Caroline and the Martin twins opted not to turn pro, it left head coach Eric Musselman with too many scholarship players for the 2018-19 season. It looks like some of those issues are now going away as Hall is leaving for Missouri State and graduate transfer guard Ehab Amin opted to decommit from the school.

Nevada is expected to be a preseason top-10 team next season with all of the talent they have returning to the roster, along with the addition of some new pieces like McDonald’s All-American big man Jordan Brown.

Hall will likely have to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer rules as he still has two years of eligibility remaining.