College

Bulldogs and Pirates face off in NIT semifinals

Georgia Basketball NIT Semifinal Game Notes

Game 37: Georgia (20-16) vs. Seton Hall (23-12)

Date: Tuesday, April 2

Time: 9:30 p.m.

Venue: Hinkle Fieldhouse (9,100)

Location: Indianapolis, Ind.

Series History: Series tied, 1-1

Last Meeting: SHU, 69-62, on 11/28/15

TV: ESPN2 (Mike Corey, play-by-play; Fran Fraschilla, color analyst; Myron Medcalf, reporter)

UGA Radio: Georgia Bulldog Network - (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, color analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• Georgia ventures to Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis to take on Seton Hall in the semifinals of the NIT on Tuesday. The Bulldogs are making their third trip to the NIT semis (also in 1982 & 1998).

• With its NIT wins over Xavier and Ohio State both being decided at the final horn, Georgia upped its records to 10-8 in games that were one-possession contests in the final 5:00 and 8-5 in matchups that were separated by three points or less in the final 30 seconds of regulation.

• Mike White is now 16-8 (.667) in the postseason, 6-4 in NCAAs and 10-4 in NITs. He is 7-4 in NIT road games including wins at Ohio State (twice), Florida State, Texas A&M, Wake Forest and...Georgia.

• All 12 scholarship Bulldogs who have played this season have started at least two games, mixing and matching to comprise a dozen different starting quintets.

• April 2 matches the latest the Bulldogs have ever played and is the 41-year anniversary of Georgia’s loss to N.C. State – yes, that N.C. State team – in the 1983 Final Four. The Bulldogs bested top-seeded St. John’s and No. 2 seeded North Carolina to win the East Regional at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

The Opening Tip

Georgia and Seton Hall will face off at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Tuesday in the semifinal round of the NIT. The Bulldogs are appearing in the NIT semis for the third time after also doing so in 1982 and 1998.

Georgia enters the contest at 20-16, the Bulldogs’ first 20-win season since 2016.

Georgia advanced to Indianapolis by defeating Xavier in Athens and then notching back-to-back road wins at Wake Forest in three days. In the process, the Bulldogs handed:

• Xavier its first-ever NIT first-round loss. The Musketeers were 9-0 prior to this season.

• Wake Forest just is second home loss in 19 outings at LJVM Coliseum this season.

• Ohio State its first home loss in six contests under head coach Jake Diebler, a stretch which included wins over five postseason participants – NCAA teams No. 2 Purdue and Nebraska and three NIT qualifiers.

Keeping An Eye On…

Among UGA’s career leaders...

Jabri Abdur-Rahim is

• 3 3FGs from co No. 13s Ty Wilson and Ray Harrison

• 9 3FGs from No. 12 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

• 2 3FGAs from No. 14 Turtle Jackson

• 9 3FGAs from No. 13 Sundiata Gaines

Among UGA’s season leaders...

Noah Thomasson is

• 1 3FG from No. 9 J.J. Frazier

• 2 3FGs from No. 8 Ezra Williams

• 5 3FGs from No. 7 Bernard Davis

• 6 3FGs from No. 6 G.G .Smith

• 8 3FGAs from No. 5 Kenny Gaines

• 11 3FGAs from No. 3 D.A. Layne

• 20 3FGAs from No. 2 Anthony Edwards

Career statistics wise...

Noah Thomasson

• is 2 points from 1,500

Season’s Storylines Continue

Each of Georgia’s NIT outings continued common storylines for the Bulldogs this season.

Wins over Xavier and Ohio State were not decided until the final horn. All told, 18 of the Bulldogs’ 36 contests were one-possession games in the final 5:00. Georgia is 10-8 in those. Thirteen of those were still within three points in the final 30 seconds of regulation. The Bulldogs are 8-5 in those.

With the victory at Wake Forest, the Bulldogs improved to 15-1 this season in which they have held their opponents under 70 points...and 28-2 in Mike White’s two seasons in Athens.

A Little On The Bulldogs’ Personnel

Noah Thomasson is the Bulldogs’ leading scorer at 13.1 ppg and also paces Georgia with 26 double-digit and five 20-point performances. The only player to start all 36 games, Thomasson enters the Seton Hall game two points shy of 1,500 for his collegiate career.

Jabri Abdur-Rahim is scoring at a double-figure pace for the Bulldogs as well at 12.2 ppg, largely due to sporting team-high shooting percentages of .356 from 3-point range and .887 at the free throw line. However, Abdur-Rahim has missed the last seven games with an injury, the first DNPs of his career at Georgia. Prior to that, Abdur-Rahim had played in 93 straight contests.

A balanced offensive attack features three more Bulldogs contributing between just south of double figures, with Justin Hill and RJ Melendez both at 9.6 ppg and Silas Demary Jr. at 9.4 ppg.

UGA’s NIT History

The Bulldogs are making their 15th appearance in the NIT and now have a 16-14 all-time record in the tournament.

Georgia earned its first postseason bid of any kind to the 1981 NIT and also participated in 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

This matches the Bulldogs’ best NIT efforts. They advanced to the semifinal round in 1982 and 1998. Georgia lost to Purdue, 61-60, in the 1982 semis. The Bulldogs fell to Penn State, 66-60, in the 1998 but bounced back to defeat Fresno State, 95-79, in the third-place consolation contest.

Series History With Seton Hall

Georgia and Seton Hall split a two-game series contested during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns, with the home team winning each.

In the most recent meeting in Newark on Nov. 28, 2015, Yante Maten scored what was then a career-high 21 points; however, Georgia dropped a 69-62 road decision to Seton Hall at the Prudential Center.

Georgia led for most of the first half and, following a 30-30 tie at halftime, regained an edge for the first five-plus minutes of the second stanza. The Pirates took the lead with 14:41 left and gradually expanded that margin to 56-46 with less than eight minutes remaining.

Georgia rallied with a 13-4 surge that cut the lead to 60-59 with 2:23 left, but Seton Hall made several plays down the stretch. With 28 seconds on the clock, Isaiah Whitehead hit a big 3-pointer for the Pirates, the last of his game-high 22 points, to all but put the game out of reach.

The previous season on Dec. 21 at Stegeman Coliseum, Georgia topped Seton Hall, 65-47. Charles Mann, Georgia’s current Director of Player Personnel, and Kenny Gaines, now a graduate manager for the Bulldogs, played key roles in that victory.

Gaines and Mann, then both juniors, scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, to lead Georgia. J.J. Frazier added what were then career-high tallies of 11 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

The Bulldogs raced to a 41-22 halftime lead and maintained a relatively comfortable margin the rest of the way en route to a key rpi-boosting victory. Seton Hall’s 47-point output held up as the Pirates’ low offensive tally for the 2014-15 campaign.

Scouting The Pirates

Seton Hall arrives in Indianapolis at 23-12 overall. The Pirates wrapped up Big East play with a 13-7 record and in fourth place in the league standings.

Kadary Richmond paces a trio of Pirates scoring at a double-digit pace at 15.6 ppg, followed by Dre Davis at 14.8 ppg and Al-Amir Dawes at 14.6 ppg. Dawes, Dylan Addae-Wusu and Jaden Bediako have started all 35 games for Seton Hall. Bediako leads the Pirates in rebounding (6.9 rpg), blocks (1.69 bpg) and field goal percentage (.614).

Last Time Out

Noah Thomasson scored 21 points – his team leading 26th double-digit output and fifth 20-point performance – to pace Georgia in a 79-77 win at Ohio State on Tuesday.

Blue Cain added 17 points and Frank Anselem-Ibe notched his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 boards for the Bulldogs.

The back-and-forth matchup featuring no less than five ties and 13 lead changes. Georgia led 64-53 with 9:51 remaining before the Buckeyes embarked on a 17-0 run. A Cain 3-pointer ended that surge and opened a 15-7 spurt by the Bulldogs to close out the contest.

Ohio State missed a pair of 3-pointers in the final five seconds.

“We’re really proud of these guys – I mean really proud of these guys,” head coach Mike White said. “Our resiliency, our toughness, our willingness to want to continue to compete and keeping fighting to win was on full display. I’m just really proud of this group. To get to Indianapolis and be a part of this thing, I’m really proud of our guys.”

There is no Denying It, Bulldogs Are Better

Georgia wrapped up the regular season with the same records as a year ago – 16-15 overall and 6-12 in the SEC. However, most who have watched the Bulldogs this season would agree they have made considerable improvement.

For any doubters, there is quantifiable data.

Of note, the Bulldogs’ scoring differential in conference games went from -13.0 ppg in 2022-23 to -3.9 ppg this season. Georgia did so after – according to KenPom, not us – the Bulldogs played the fifth toughest SEC schedule this winter...as opposed to the ninth hardest in 2022-23.

Georgia’s improvement is validated even more within Ken Pomeroy’s and other increasingly popular metric assessments.

Entering the NIT, six of the most commonly utilized models had the Bulldogs up by an average of 53.9 spots. With the improvement since among the four that continue to update during postseason play – Torvik, KenPom, BPI and SOR – that average is up to 62.7 positions as outlined below.

22-23 23-24 Diff.

Overall 16-15 16-15 –

SEC 6-12 6-12 –

Torvik 159 64 +95

KenPom 154 79 +75

BPI 148 76 +72

NET 152 *100 +52

SOR 119 66 +53

KPI 121 *92 +29

Avg. 142.2 79.5 +62.7

* not updated since 3/17

White Adds To Strong Postseason Record

With Georgia’s win over Xavier, Mike White improved to 9-0 in opening-round games of the NCAA Tournament and NIT.

White enters the Seton Hall game a combined 16-8 in those tournaments – 6-4 in the NCAAs and 10-4 in the NIT.

While at Florida, White was the only SEC coach to lead his teams to NCAA bids in every tournament between 2017-21...and the Gators were a lock for “March Madness” in 2020.

Florida also was one of only six Division I programs to win a game in each of those four NCAA tourneys from 2017-21 along with Kansas, Gonzaga, Michigan, Villanova and Florida State. Headlining those bids was the Gators’ trip of the 2017 “Elite Eight.”

In the NIT, White has records of 5-3 at Louisiana Tech, 2-1 at Florida and 3-0 at Georgia. With apologies to Georgia radio network producer Adam “Road Dawg” Gillespie, White probably has a better claim to that nickname. White has led teams to NIT road wins at Ohio State (2016 and 2024), Florida State (2013), GEORGIA (2014), Texas A&M (2015) and Wake Forest (2024).

White’s postseason success dates back to his career as a four-year starter at Ole Miss. He helped the Rebels to their first back-to-back NCAA Tournament bids in 1997 and 1998 and added a third straight in 1999. White lists dribbling out the clock against Villanova for the first Ole Miss NCAA Tournament win ever as a senior as the most memorable moment of his playing career.

Thomasson Making Moves Among UGA’s 3-Point Leaders

Noah Thomasson has now connected on 79-of-225 3-point attempts this season, tallies that rank among the most ever by a Bulldog during a single season.

With 15 3-pointers in the last five games, Thomasson went from No. 19 to No. 8 among Georgia’s all-time season leaders.

The Houston native’s 225 shots from behind the arc is now No. 4 position among all Bulldogs.

Anselem-Ibe Answers The Call

Frank Anselem-Ibe has done a pretty good Strap Purl against Linton impression and certainly made the most of his first two starts of the season at Wake Forest and Ohio State.

Anselem-Ibe entered Sunday’s game against the Demon Deacons averaging 2.2 points and 1.5 rebounds in 7.4 minutes in the 26 games he played in this season. He notched season highs of eight rebounds, three assists and 28 minutes – twice his previous most of 14 MP – in Winston-Salem.

At Ohio State, Anselem-Ibe recorded season highs of 10 points and 10 rebounds in 27 minutes. The double-double against the Buckeyes was the first of his collegiate career and came in the 95th game played in his time at Syracuse and Georgia.

Anselem-Ibe joined a pretty stellar list of former Bulldogs to record a double-double in NIT following (chronologically) Dominique Wilkins, Terry Fair, Charles Claxton (Nic Claxton’s dad), Shandon Anderson, Jumaine Jones and Yante Maten.

Raising Cain’s Game Proves Beneficial For Bulldogs

Blue Cain’s freshman season has evolved from solid to stellar during the postseason.

After averaging 7.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 19.6 minutes during the regular season, Cain is contributing 10.8 points (third on the team) and 5.0 boards (second on the team) in 26.8 mpg in five games of the SEC Tournament and NIT.

Cain opened the SEC Tournament with a career- and game-high 19 points to lead Georgia against Missouri. He scored 14 second-half points against the Tigers, largely due to connected on 4-of-7 attempts from beyond the arc – and one from the SEC logo.

Cain also was key in the Bulldogs’ NIT quarterfinal win at Ohio State. He scored 17 points, including a 3-pointer that ended a 17-0 run by the Buckeyes.

Bulldog Freshmen Making Their Mark

Georgia’s freshmen have made a impressive impact this season, particularly in SEC play.

Blue Cain, Silas Demary Jr. and Dylan James have all got a starting nod in the Bulldogs’ last seven games – the first time a trio of freshmen started for Georgia since Anthony Edwards, Toumani Camara and Sahvir Wheeler did so in the 2020 SEC Tournament.

Cain and Demary are two of only SEC eight freshman who logged 20.0 mpg in conference outings this season. James has seen his playing time jump significantly of late, averaging 17.5 mpg in the last 14 games.

Demary, who was named to the league’s All-Freshman team in balloting of league coaches, leads all SEC freshman in games started, both overall (34) and in SEC action (17). The lone game he was not on the floor for the opening tip was against Texas A&M on “Senior Day.” Demary was one of only five freshmen in the SEC who averaged double figures in conference action at 10.5 ppg.

Cain was one of just 10 SEC freshmen who scored 6.5 ppg or more in league games. He has done much of his damage from 3-point range, with 49 of his 102 field goals (48.0 percent) coming from behind the arc.

In addition to his increased playing time, James is averaging 5.2 ppg and 3.4 rpg in Georgia’s last 14 contests, more than double the 2.1 ppg and 1.4 rpg he contributed in seven games played during the Bulldogs’ first 22 outings of the season.

Some Big Numbers for Bulldogs’ Seven “Seniors”

Georgia honored seven players on “Senior Day” against Texas A&M, even though the group features a trio of graduate transfers.

Those Bulldogs included first-year grad transfers RJ Sunahara, Russel Tchewa and Noah Thomasson; second-season seniors Frank Anselem-Ibe, Justin Hill and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe; and third-year senior Jabri Abdur-Rahim.

That septet – we googled it – of Bulldogs has combined to comprise some pretty massive statistics as NCAA basketball players. Those totals, with the D-I statistical leader, are listed below.

Seven “Seniors” Totals

Stat No. Leader

Games played 789 Tchewa 139

Games started 440 Thomasson 96

Minutes 17,210 Thomasson 3,387

Points 7,009 Thomasson 1,498

Rebounds 3,082 Tchewa 723

Assists 1,154 Hill 423

Blocks 375 Anselem-Ibe 57

Steals 484 Hill 111

Hill Continues Milestone Stretch

Justin Hill has notched a trio of significant statistical markers over the past nine games.

During his 17-point performance against Missouri in the SEC Tournament, Hill surpassed 1,300 points for his career. More significant than reaching the milestone was the setting. Hill’s jumper at the 3:36 mark to top 1,300 points also ignited the Bulldogs’ 12-0 run to end the game.

On Feb. 21 at Vanderbilt, Hill delivered the 400th assist of his career. He now has 423 which, as of March 29, ranked No. 88 on the NCAA’s career leaders ledger of Division I players.

On March 2 against Texas A&M, Hill collected the 400th rebound of his career.

Bulldogs’ Bench Providing Productivity

Georgia is now ranked No. 21 nationally in benching scoring at 28.4 ppg – 37.9 percent of the Bulldogs’ scoring average of 74.9 ppg.

The Bulldogs’ reserves have outscored their counterparts in 29 of 36 games, including 16 straight from the season opener against Oregon on Nov. 6 to a Jan. 20 trip to No. 8/10 Kentucky.

Georgia sports an impressive cumulative scoring margin of +372 in bench points – an advantage of +10.3 ppg.

Everyone Gets A Nod For the Bulldogs

All 12 scholarship Bulldogs who have played have started for Georgia this season. Those dozen Dogs have been used to comprise 12 different starting fives.

Georgia mixed and matched seven players to form three different starting quintets over the first 10 outings.

The Bulldogs then settled into the same starting unit for the next 10 contests.

Over the last 11 regular-season games, Georgia used eight different sets of starters.

The lineup shifted again at Wake Forest, when Frank Anselem-Ibe started with Russel Tchewa out with an illness.

That makes Noah Thomasson the only Bulldog to start every game...although freshman Silas Demary Jr. was on the floor for the opening tip of every contest other than “Senior Day.”

Georgia’s Magic Number Is On The “Other” End of The Floor

The 13th and final rule Dr. James Naismith listed when creating basketball was “The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner.” Quite simply, the team that scores the most points wins.

For Georgia, the number of points the opposing team scores has been an extremely strong indicator of success during Mike White’s two seasons with the Bulldogs.

Georgia is 28-2 when holding its opponents under 70 points during White’s tenure. The losses on that ledger were a 66-67 setback at LSU on Feb. 27 and a 61-55 decision at South Carolina in the 2022-23 regular-season finale.

More and More Nail-Biter For The Bulldogs

Georgia’s NIT victories over Xavier and Ohio State were not decided until the final horn, upping the number of “close games” for Georgia this season to 18.

Of the Bulldogs’ 36 games to date...

• 18 have been a one-possession game in the last five minutes. Georgia is 10-8 in those games.

• 16 have been a one-possession game in the last 90 seconds. Georgia is 8-8 in those games.

• 13 have been a one-possession game in the last 30 seconds. Georgia is 8-5 in those games.

Bulldogs Notch Sixth Road Win

Georgia’s victory at Ohio State represented the Bulldogs’ sixth road win of the season and upped the Bulldogs’ record to 6-6 in road contests.

Georgia was a combined 7-44 on the road over the previous five seasons. The six road Ws in 2023-24 are the most the Bulldogs have recorded in a season since the 2014-15 campaign.

Tchewa’s Numbers, Efficiency Increase Considerably In SEC play

Russel Tchewa increased his production and efficiency considerably during SEC action.

Nine of his 12 double-figure scoring outputs and all six of his double-digit rebound counts came during league play. Those produced all of Tchewa’s team-leading five double-doubles on the year.

After averaging 6.1 ppg in 13 non-conference games, Tchewa upped that to 9.3 ppg against SEC foes – an increase of 3.2 ppg.

After averaging 6.3 rpg in November and December, he grabbed 7.2 rpg in league outings – an increase of 0.9 rpg.

After shooting 49.1 percent from the field in non-conference action, Tchewa converted on 59.4 percent versus conference competition – an increase of 10.3 percent.

After logging 22.2 minutes of action in non-conference contests, he played 28.1 mpg in the SEC – an increase of 5.9 mpg.

Individual Scoring In SEC Action Up

Four Bulldogs boosted their point production from non-conference outings to SEC competition, led by Russel Tchewa’s increase of 3.2 ppg as outlined below.

SEC PPG Increases

Player Non SEC

Noah Thomasson 12.5 13.4

Silas Demary Jr. 8.5 10.5

Justin Hill 8.5 9.1

Russel Tchewa 6.1 9.3

Abdur-Rahim, Melendez Own Top-5 Season FT Percentage Marks

Jabri Abdur-Rahim and RJ Melendez now own two of the five best single-season free throw percentages in Georgia history. A minimum of 50 makes are required for inclusion on the Bulldogs’ all-time single-season free throw percentage leaders’ ledger.

Abdur-Rahim surpassed that standard during the Mount St. Mary’s game on Dec. 20, just the 11th outing of the season. He has now connected on 118-of-133 (.887) free throws, the third-best percentage in school history.

Melendez met the 50 makes standard versus No. 24/22 Alabama on Jan. 31. He is currently 59-of-67 at the line this season, an 88.1 percent conversion rate that is No. 5 all-time among Bulldogs.

Jabri Sets Game Mark, Joins Career Percentage Line Leaders too

In addition to his aforementioned season efforts, Jabri Abdur-Rahim shares Georgia’s best game free throw percentage and is among the best career converters too.

Minimums of nine and 125 made free throws are needed to be featured among those leaders.

Abdur-Rahim’s school-record 10-of-10 effort against Mount St. Mary’s tied Georgia’s single-game record, the 15th time a Bulldog converted on nine or more FTs in a single contest.

Abdur-Rahim has connected on 238-of-285 FTs while at Georgia, a sizzling 83.5 percent that currently has him at No. 2 all-time among Bulldogs.

A Lot Of Entertaining Outings During The Losing Streak

Georgia’s losing streak from Jan. 27-Feb. 17 featured six competitive and dramatic contests.

The Bulldogs rallied from 21 points down to force overtime at Florida before falling 102-98.

Georgia then owned double-digit leads over both No. 24/22 Alabama and South Carolina before the Tide and Gamecocks rallied. The Bulldogs led for a combined 56:55 of those contests – 33:49 against Alabama and 23:06 versus South Carolina.

Georgia trimmed a 13-point deficit to three before Mississippi State surged to victory.

The Bulldogs matchup at Arkansas on Feb. 10 featured three ties and five lead changes in the final 3:47 before the Razorbacks secured a three-point decision.

Georgia again led for more than half the game – 21:11 to be exact – and built an 11-point, first-half edge over Florida in Athens before the Gators rallied in the second stanza.

Melendez Has Bulldogs’ Biggest Game Ever Off Bench...We Think

RJ Melendez’s 35-point performance at Florida on Jan. 27 tied the 20th-highest single-game output ever by a Georgia Bulldog. It may be the most ever by a Bulldog off the bench.

Box scores determined the vast majority of the scoring efforts tied with and ahead of Melendez were done by starters. In fact, there are only four performances where research as yet to confirm were accomplished by starters as outlined below.

It’s hard to fathom that Alfred Scott did not start Georgia’s 122-2 – yes 122-2, that’s not a typo – win over Southeast Christian on Jan. 12, 1918. FYI, that performance stands as the largest margin of victory by any Division I team.

Jacky Dorsey was known to start throughout his career in Athens; however, box scores for the two games haven’t been located.

Zippy Morocco’s contest came during the same season when he set what was the SEC’s season scoring record, compiling 590 points.

Did He Get The Nod?

Pts. Player, Game

62 Alfred Scott vs. SE Christian (1/12/1918)

43 Jacky Dorsey vs. So. Miss (12/21/74)

41 Jacky Dorsey vs. LSU (1/20/75)

38 Zippy Morocco vs. Tennessee (2/25/53)

“Don’t Look, Ethel!”...On The Bulldogs’ Winning Streaks

Georgia’s 2023-24 season has been of the streaky nature.

Georgia put together a 10-game winning streak from Nov. 24-Jan. 10, tying the fourth-longest in program history and the longest in 75 years since the 1947-48 season as outlined below.

Within their 12-3 start to the year, the Bulldogs were a perfect 10-0 at Stegeman Coliseum, equaling the seventh-longest home winning streak and the fifth-longest home streak since moving into the arena in 1964.

Overall Winning Streaks

Rk. Season(s) No.

1. 1912-13 & 1913-14 16

2. 1930-31 13

3. 1947-48 11

4. 2023-24 10

1930-31 10

A Challenging Slate Out Of The Gate

Georgia was the only Power conference team to open the 2023-24 season with back-to-back outings against other Power conference programs.

The Bulldogs began the year against Oregon in a Naismith Hall of Fame Series date at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas before hosting Wake Forest.

The Power heavy schedule didn’t stop there.

Georgia played four of its first five, five of its first seven and six of its first nine games against Power conference foes. The Bulldogs faced Miami, a Final Four team in 2023, and Providence, another 2023 NCAA Tournament team, at the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship and earned wins at Florida State on Nov. 29 and over Georgia Tech on Dec. 5.

Cain, Demary Make Their Marks In Collegiate Debuts

Blue Cain and Silas Demary Jr. made key contributions for Georgia in their collegiate debuts against Oregon in the Naismith Hall of Fame Classic.

Demary became the first true freshman to get a starting nod for the Bulldogs in a season opener since Anthony Edwards in 2019. The Raleigh, N.C., native produced a thorough linescore of eight points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Cain became the first true freshman to notch a double-digit scoring output in the season opener since Edwards and Sahvir Wheeler did so in 2019. Cain posted 12 points off the bench by connecting on 5-of-11 shots from the field and matched Demary for the team high with two steals.

The “Other” Cinderella

Georgia’s NIT semifinal contest against Seton Hall represents just the second time UGA has played a game in April.

In fact, April 2 matches the latest the Bulldogs have ever played and is the 41-year anniversary of Georgia’s 67-60 loss to N.C. State at the 1983 Final Four in Albuquerque, N.M.

The Bulldogs were the No. 6 seed at the SEC Tournament that season but defeated Ole Miss, Tennessee and Alabama to secure Georgia’s first-ever NCAA Tournament bid.

After dispatching VCU, 56-54, in the second round, the fourth-seeded Bulldogs advanced to the East Regional in Syracuse, N.Y.

There Georgia knocked off top-seeded St. John’s – led by Chris Mullin – 70-67 in the “Sweet 16″ before topping second-seed North Carolina – and Michael Jordan – 82-77 in the “Elite Eight.”

The Bulldogs were the lesser-known Cinderella when they lost to N.C. State in Albuquerque. Most basketball fans believed the true national championship game was that Final Four’s other semifinal featuring Houston and Louisville. However, the Wolfpack captured the NCAA title on Lorenzo Charles’ improbable alley-oop. That shot and the celebration thereafter remains perhaps the most memorable moment of “March Madness,” although it ironically occurred in April.

Forza Dogs...Georgia’s Tour of Italy

Georgia got a jump on preparations for the 2023-24 season during the summer when the Bulldogs ventured to Italy for a three-game international tour from July 20-29.

On the the hardwood, Georgia defeated different teams from the Italian Club Orange Basket Bassano by 39.3 points per game. Each Bulldog dressed out for two of the three games, with nine different players recording one or more double-figure scoring outputs.

Away from basketball, Georgia spent four days in Rome, one day in Florence and two days in Sorrento. The team toured the traditional sites such as The Vatican City, The Colosseum, The Forum, Pompeii, Amalfi and Positano. The Bulldogs also enjoyed a cooking class where they prepared – and then dined on – their own pasta and tiramisu.

Designer Genes

We believe that Georgia Basketball’s family tree may be the most athletic in the country. Almost every Bulldog has immediate family who competed at the collegiate or professional levels, including:

Jabri Abdur-Rahim – his dad, Shareef, was a 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist, 2002 NBA All-Star and current president of the NBA’s G League; and five of his uncles (Amir, Muhammad, Tahir, Bilal and Malik) played college basketball.

Blue Cain – his mom, the former Myriah Lonergan, played basketball at George Washington and is in GWU’s Athletic Hall of Fame; his dad, Chris, played golf at Duke; and his sister, Sophie, is a senior setter on Appalachian State’s volleyball team.

Jalen DeLoach – his brother, Kalen, is in his third season as a starting linebacker at Florida State; and his sister, Taylor, was a Big Ten champion in the 400-meter relay at Ohio State.

Silas Demary Jr. – his dad, Silas Sr., played at Virginia State and was the 2005 Arena Football League Defensive Player of the Year for the L.A. Avengers.

Justin Hill – his dad, Keith, played basketball at Michigan State and New Mexico State, where he helped the Aggies reach the NCAA Tourney; his mom, the former Donna Holt, played basketball at Virginia, where she was 1988 ACC Player of the Year and was named to the ACC’s Silver Anniversary team in 2002;

Dylan James – his brother, Dorian, is a redshirt senior of North Florida’s basketball team; and two additional siblings – brother Darius and sister Charla – played basketball at Lynn University.

Markel Jennings – is distant cousins on his dad’s side with NFL players Vernon and Vontae Davis, who both were multiple Pro Bowl selections.

Brandon Klatsky – his dad, Brian, played college basketball at DIII Skidmore; and his brother, Alex, is a redshirt senior on Florida’s basketball team.

Jaden Newell – his brother, Asa, the No. 8 overall prospect in 247Sports.com Class of 2024 composite rankings, has signed to join him in Athens next season.

RJ Sunahara – his dad, Reed, was a two-time All-American in volleyball at UCLA and is the current women’s volleyball coach at West Virginia; his mom, the former Laura Rekstis, played volleyball at Cincinnati; his grandfather, Peter Rekstis, played football at Cincinnati; his uncle, Chet Moeller, played football at Navy and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

Noah Thomasson – his dad, Leon, played football at Texas Southern and for the Atlanta Falcons; and he’s distant cousins with Spud Webb on his mom’s side.

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