Roman Legends Classic presented by Old Trapper
Georgia (2-3) vs. Northwestern (4-1)
Date: Monday, November 22, 2021
Tipoff: 5:00 p.m. ET
Location:Prudential Center (18,711) in Newark, N.J.
Watch: ESNP2 (Kevin Brown, pbp; Jon Crispin, analyst)
Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network – 960 the Ref-AM, 103.7-FM (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)
The Opening Tip
The Georgia Bulldogs will take on Northwestern’s Wildcats in the consolation game of the Roman Legends Classic on Tuesday at the Prudential Center.
Georgia dropped a 65-55 decision to Virginia on Monday, while Northwestern suffered its first loss of the season in the form of a 77-72 setback to Providence.
Georgia is appearing in the Legends Classic for the second time. In 2012, the Bulldogs lost four contests in the event.
Tuesday’s game will be the Bulldogs’ 2,798th 117 seasons of competition. It will be their first against Northwestern.
The Starting 5…
• Tom Crean is one win shy of his his 400th career W, with 190 at Marquette, 166 at Indiana and 43 at Georgia.
• UGA’s Jabri Abdur-Rahim is from South Orange, N.J., and was the 2019 N.J. Player of the Year at Blair Academy.
• Jailyn Ingram notched his first double-double as a Bulldog with 10 points and 12 rebounds against Virginia.
• Aaron Cook’s 22-point outburst against S.C. State last Tuesday pushed him over 1,000 career points.
• UGA’s seven first-year transfers combined to score 4,782 points at their previous schools.
Scouting The Wildcats
Northwestern raced to a 4-0 start before suffering its first loss to Providence.
The Wildcats still sport some eye-catching team statists, most notably a +21.2 scoring margin, averages of 9.0 3-pointers and 20.2 assists per game and a 2.40 assist-to-TO ratio.
Pete Nance leads Northwestern in both scoring and rebounding with averages of 18.4 ppg and 7.8 rpg. Boo Buie is chipping in 16.6 points and a team-high 6.2 assists per game, and Ryan Young is contributing 12.2 ppg off the bench.
Last Time Out
Braelin Bridges scored a team-high 14 points and Jailyn Ingram recorded his first double-double as a Bulldog but Georgia still dropped a 65-55 decision to Virginia in Monday’s opening round matchup of the Roman Legends Classic.
Bridges scored 12 first-half points to help the Bulldogs build a 34-31 lead at the intermission. Virginia opened the second stanza with a 7-0 surge and remained on top most of the rest of the way.
Georgia pulled within 53-51 with 4:11 remaining and gained possession with a chance to tie or take the lead but could not convert. The Cavaliers then outscored the Bulldogs 12-4 down the stretch.
A Homecoming For Jabri
Georgia’s Jabri Abdur-Rahim is from South Orange, N.J., and played his high school basketball at Blair Academy about an hour away from the Prudential Center...depending on traffic.
Abdur-Rahim was named the 2019 Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year after leading Blair’s Buccaneers to the Prep A state title. A two-time high school All-American, he missed all but two games of his senior season due to a foot injury. Abdur-Rahim was a consensus top-50 prospect in the Class of 2020, including being listed at No. 38 by ESPN.com.
Abdur-Rahim will be facing his former team on Monday. He played at Virginia as a freshman before transferring to Georgia in the offseason.
Jabri’s uncle, Amir, was an assistant coach on the Georgia staff during Tom Crean’s first season in Athens before being named head coach at Kennesaw State.
Crean Closing In On 400 Wins
Georgia head coach Tom Crean is now just one win shy of his 400th career victory. He compiled 397 W’s in his first 21 campaigns as a collegiate head coach, an impressive average of 18.9 wins.
Prior to arriving in Athens, Crean was 190-96 in nine seasons Marquette’s coach from 1998-2008 and the recorded a 166-135 mark in nine campaigns at Indiana between 2008-17.
Tom Crean’s Milestone Wins
No. 1 – Nov. 20, 1999 – Marquette defeats Chicago State, 62-43, in Tom Crean’s first game as a collegiate head coach.
No. 100 – March 6, 2004 – Freshman Dameon Mason’s three-point play with eight-tenths of a second left lifts Marquette over No. 25 Louisville, 81-80.
No. 200 – Dec. 8, 2009 – Indiana knocks off Pittsburgh, 74-64, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
No. 250 – Nov. 20, 2012 – A day after beating Georgia, 66-53, in the first round, IU tops Georgetown, 82-72, to win the Progressive Legends Classic at Barclays Center.
No. 300 – Dec. 20, 2014 – Indiana tops No. 23 Butler, 82-73, as Yogi Ferrell became IU’s 48th 1,000-point scorer.
Experience Has Traveled
The phrase “defense travels” is a well-known sports phrase.
For Georgia, “experience has traveled” may become a more appropriate catch phrase for 2021-22.
Georgia’s lineup this season is anchored by five Division I transfers, sixth-year “super seniors” Aaron Cook and Jailyn Ingram, graduate transfer seniors Noah Baumann and Braelen Bridges and sophomore Jabri Abdur-Rahim.
That quintet of Bulldogs has accounted for 80 percent of Georgia’s starts to date as well as the large majority of its production in virtually every statistic as outlined below.
D-I Transfer Contributions
Stat Team D-I Ts Pct.
Minutes 1000 614 61.4
Scoring 335 232 69.3
Rebounds 161 107 66.6
Assists 75 61 81.3
Blocks 11 5 45.5
Steals 32 17 53.1
Shooting His Shot
Noah Baumann had an eventual Sunday, November 14. The graduate transfer from Southern Cal proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Mackenzie Moore, beside Lake Herrick at the intramural fields on the UGA campus.
Baumann and Moore have known each other since they were 7th graders at Akimel (pronounced ah-kee-mull) Middle School and started dating during their senior year at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix.
They have endured a long-distance relationship for the past four years.
Moore was a four-year starter on the Miami (Ohio) softball team, batting .279 with seven homers and 66 RBI. She was named second-team All-MAC as a senior, leading the RedHawks to a 46-10 finish, the MAC Championship and an NCAA Tournament bid.
Within The Win Streak Over GT
The Bulldogs’ five-game winning streak over Georgia Tech marked only the fifth time in 196 meetings that Georgia captured five consecutive victories over the Yellow Jackets.
The Bulldogs’ longest winning streak in the series covers seven games twice, in spans from 1909-21 and 1980-84. Georgia also won five straight between from 1929-31 and 1939-41.
No. 3 At No. 3 on #SCTop10
Kario Oquendo delivered a trio of breakaway dunks against South Carolina State that wowed the crowd.
The third on the night, a steal followed by a windmill finish, earned its way onto the opening of ESPN’s SportsCenter and the No. 3 spot on the Nov. 16 edition of the show’s top-10 plays.
Although they totally butchered his name on SportsCenter, you can see the dunk at: gado.gs/kariosctop10.
Cook Tops Millennium Mark
Aaron Cook blew past the 1,000-point career scoring mark on Nov. 16 against South Carolina State.
The “super senior” from St. Louis was eight points shy of that plateau entering the game. He inched past the milestone in the first half on a jumper with 2:21 left in the period. Cook scored 13 points following the intermission to come within three points of his career high of 25 versus Indiana State on Jan. 24, 2018.
Cook scored 845 points in 103 games played at Southern Illinois from 2016-20. He competed for four seasons at SIU, including a redshirt campaign in 2019-20 due to a broken hand.
Cook transferred to Gonzaga and played in 30 of 32 contests for the Bulldogs en route to their NCAA runner-up finish last season. He scored 127 points in during the 2020-21 season.
Cook scored 10 points in each of his first two outings at UGA, pushing him to 992 prior to the S.C. State matchup.
Dalen, Kario Draw Attention
Kario Oquendo and Dalen Ridgnal have been ranked among the top junior college transfers expected to make the biggest marks at the Division-I level this season.
On August 25, bustingbrackets.com ranked the top-25 junior college players moving to the “high-major” level. Ridgnal was tabbed No. 2 on that ledger, while Oquendo was ranked No. 23.
On Nov. 1, college basketball guru Jon Rothstein tabbed his top-10 “JUCOs to watch,” an unranked ledger that also included Ridgnal.
Cook Among Most Experienced
Aaron Cook arrived in Athens having already participated in 133 games. Cook logged action in 103 contests in four seasons at Southern Illinois, including six in a 2019-20 redshirt campaign. He then played in 30 contests last season at Gonzaga.
Cook’s was the third-most experienced player – game wise – in Division I entering this season as outlined below.
As a point of reference for Georgia’s record for career games played is 133 contests by Marcus Thornton from 2011-15. Thornton’s tally covers five seasons, including a redshirt season with nine GPs.
In addition, Jailyn Cook ranked among D-I’s top-50 players in career outings entering 2021-22, having played in 122 contests at FAU prior to joining the Bulldogs.
D-I’s Career GPs Leaders
Rk. Player, School Games
1. Jordan Bohannon, Iowa 142
2. Chevez Goodwin, USC 138
3. Aaron Cook, Georgia 133
Garrison Brooks, Miss. St. 133
Jalen Coleman-Lands, Kansas 133
Justin Kier, Arizona 133
The Hoops Version of The CFP
Anyone who knows anything about college athletics is well aware that Georgia and Cincinnati, which met on the hardwood on Nov. 13, are undefeated in football.
In fact, there were only four FBS football programs that entered last weekend with unblemished records.
In an almost unfathomable coincidence, the other two unbeatens – Oklahoma and UTSA – also played basketball against each the day before Bulldogs and the Bearcats did so.
Georgia In Season Openers
With their win over FIU, the Bulldogs improved to 84-33 in the opening contests of 117 seasons of basketball.
That tally includes an even more impressive 38-6 mark in openers contested at Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia’s most significant win in an opener at the Coliseum also was its first. In the Bulldogs’ initial season opener in their current arena on Dec. 3 1964, Georgia bested No. 13 North Carolina, 64-61.
Welcoming A Slew Of Scoring
Of the 10 newcomers on the Bulldogs’ roster seven are transfers – five from the Division I level (Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Noah Baumann, Braelen Bridges, Aaron Cook and Jailyn Ingram) and a pair from the junior college ranks (Kario Oquendo and Dalen Ridgnal).
Those players arrived in Athens having already scored 4,782 points at their previous schools. That represents the largest addition of scoring by any Division I program for the 2021-22 season as outlined below.
In their previous stops, the D-I quintet of the group also logged 8813 minutes in 404 games played, while grabbing 1283 rebounds, dishing 643 assists, swatting 116 blocks and collecting 304 steals.
Top Scoring Influx’s In D-I hoops
Rk. School Players Points
1. Georgia 7 4782
2. Duquesne 5 4695
3. Florida 5 4144
4. Arkansas 6 4125
5. Penn State 7 5183
6. Washington St. 4 3785
7. SMU 4 3733
8. Kentucky 4 3538
9. Utah 6 3175
10. Arizona St. 3 3132
On The Flip Side...
While Georgia welcomed a huge influx of college scoring from its newcomers, the Bulldogs returned a minuscule portion of their scoring from last season.
P.J. Horne was Georgia’s only returning starter and top scorer back but was lost for the season after suffering a knee injury during preseason practices. The Tifton, Ga., native put up 222 points – 8.5 ppg – last season, largely due to connecting on a team-high 46 3-pointers.
“This is such a major blow to us because P.J. was playing so well and showing great leadership as our leading returning player, but more so because he is such a great person and one of the finest people I’ve ever coached,” head coach Tom Crean tweeted on Oct. 20. “He cares about his teammates deeply.”
With that, the four returning Bulldogs accounted for only 1110 of Georgia’s 2014 points a year ago, or 5.5 percent. Walk-on Jaxon Etter is the top returning point producer with 47 points.
Putting Up Points Under Crean
Georgia has certainly been keeping scoreboard operators busy since Tom Crean arrived in Athens in 2018.
The Bulldogs reached the 90-point plateau 15 times in 90 games during Crean’s first three seasons. That’s a relatively healthy 16.7 percent of the team’s total contests.
By comparison, Georgia scored 90 or more points just 15 times in 387 games before Crean’s arrival, or .038 percent of the outings in a span that dates back a dozen seasons to the 2006-07 campaign.
The big numbers by the Bulldogs aren’t just a single-game thing.
In three seasons under Crean, the Bulldogs have averaged two of their top-5 scoring outputs of the 2000s as outlined below.
Top Scoring Averages In 2000s
Rk. Season Points Games Avg.
1. 2002-03 2138 27 79.2
2. 2020-21 1944 25 77.8
3. 2001-02 2444 32 76.4
4. 2019-20 2428 32 75.9
5. 2006-07 2477 33 75.1
“B” Is For Basketball Player
You may notice on Georgia’s roster that the Bulldogs have gone away from listing traditional positions – guard, forward and center. All 15 players are now simply listed as “B” for “Basketball Player.”
Tom Crean is a proponent for “position-less basketball.”
“That’s what they are,” Crean said. “It’s not valid to call them centers and power forwards and things like that as much with the way that we’re trying to play. They’re being trained as basketball players, every day... in the sense of how we train with the ball handling, the driving, the shooting – all those type of things. That’s big to me.”
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