Abdur-Rahim’s career night lifts Georgia over Mount St. Mary’s, 94-82
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Abdur-Rahim’s career night lifts Georgia over Mount St. Mary’s, 94-82

UGA Basketball
Photo: UGAAA

ATHENS, Ga. – Four Bulldogs scored in double-figures, led by Jabri Abdur-Rahim’s career-high of 23, as the team scored the most points of the Mike White era and defeated Mount St. Mary’s, 94-82, before 6,045 spectators inside Stegeman Coliseum on Wednesday evening.

Abdur-Rahim’s 23 points were the second-most scored by a Bulldog (8-3) this season, as he also added personal bests in made free throws (10) and steals (3). RJ Melendez tied his career-high in points with 18 and added six rebounds and four assists. Noah Thomasson contributed 17 points, which marks the fifth time this season he has scored at least 15, while Blue Cain reached double-digit scoring for the fourth time in his career with 10. Georgia’s 49 second half points against Mount St. Mary’s (4-7) were the most the team has scored in a half this season.

After a slow offensive start from the team, Abdur-Rahim helped create separation on the scoreboard towards the end of the opening half by making a pair of 3-pointers and five free throws to score 11-straight points for the Bulldogs. After taking a 23-20 lead with just over seven minutes to go in the first half, Georgia held on to the lead for the remainder of the contest. Abdur-Rahim tied his career-high in scoring in the first half alone with 21 points, giving Georgia a 43-32 lead over Mount St. Mary’s headed into the locker room. The Bulldogs offense began to come into form during the second half, led by Melendez’s 16 points over the final 20. Georgia led by as many as 15 in the final frame, scoring the program’s most points in a game since defeating Jacksonville, 98-65, on Dec. 4, 2020.

Georgia will return to action on Dec. 22 at 3 p.m. ET against North Florida. The game, which will mark the team’s fifth of a six-game homestand, will be streamed on the SEC Network+. This will be the first all-time meeting between the Bulldogs and Ospreys.

Five Fast Facts

• Jabri Abdur-Rahim tied his career high in points (21), made free throws (10) and steals (3) in the first half alone, as he finished with a personal best 23 points.

• Georgia’s win over Mount St. Mary’s, the first meeting between the programs in history, extends Coach White’s longest winning streak leading the Bulldogs to six games. Coach White is now 20-4 at home inside Stegeman Coliseum.

• For the 10th time in 11 games this season and the 33rd time under Coach White, Georgia outscored its opponent in bench points, 43-27.

• RJ Melendez finished with 18 points in the contest, marking the fifth time in the last seven games he’s reached double figures in scoring.

• Georgia’s 94 points is the program’s most in a game since the team’s 98-65 win over Jacksonville in 2020. The Bulldogs scored 49 in the second half, the most its scored in a half this season, and 45 in the first, the third most in a half so far this season.

Key Quote

Head Coach Mike White: “Good win for us. Mount St. Mary’s is playing really good basketball. They’ve won two in a row on the road, of course, and then three games ago they kept it very respectable at Ole Miss – who is really good obviously. They haven’t lost. Played well, adjusted well. They were terrific offensively and really defending better as of late. I think they are going to have a really good season, and we were very fortunate because we could not collect a bunch of stops in this one.”

Keep up with all the latest news and information on the Bulldogs by following UGA Men’s Basketball on social media on Facebook, Instagram and X @UGABasketball, and the web at GeorgiaDogs.com.

Postgame Notes and Quotes

Team Notes

  • The starting lineup was freshman Silas Demary Jr., senior Jabri Abdur-Rahim and graduates Noah Thomasson, RJ Sunahara and Russel Tchewa.
  • This is Georgia and Mount St. Mary’s first ever matchup.
  • Georgia’s 49 points in the closing half is the most the team has scored this season in a half. The 45 points scored in the first half is the third-most this season.
  • The Bulldogs shot 93.3 percent from the free-throw line in the first half.
  • This win extends the longest winning streak to six games under Coach White.
  • Georgia is now 7-0 this season at Stegman Colesium.
  • The Bulldogs set a season-high 17 assists.
  • Georgia set a new season-high points (94).
  • This is the second time this season the Bulldogs made more than 25 free throws.
  • This is the first time since Dec. 2020 that Georgia scored 90+ points on a non-conference opponent.
  • This is the most points Georgia has scored in a game since the team’s 98-65 win over Jacksonville in 2020.

Individual Notes

  • Jabri Abdur-Rahim shot 10-for-10 on free throws on the night, tying the highest single game free throw percentage in Georgia history (1.000).
  • Jabri Abdur-Rahim now owns Georgia’s single season free throw percentage record (.917), going 55-for-60 from the charity stripe this season.
  • Jabri Abdur-Rahim’s 10-for-10 free throws on the night marks the 15th time in program history where a player has gone 9-for-9 or better from the free throw line in a single game.
  • With Sunahara moving into the starting five, the Bulldogs have now used five different starting lineups this season. Silas Demary Jr., Russel Tchewa and Noah Thomasson have started every game.
  • Jabri Abdur-Rahim scored 21 points in the first half, tying his previous career-high scored against Vanderbilt last season. He also tied his career high of 10 free throws made.
  • RJ Sunahara earned his first points as a Bulldog (2).
  • Justin Hill set a new season high of eight assists.
  • Jabri Abdur-Rahim set a new career high of 23 points and three steals.
  • RJ Melendez set a new season-high four assists and tied his career high in points with 18.
  • Blue Cain reached double-digit points (10) for the fourth time this season.

GEORGIA HEAD COACH MIKE WHITE

Opening statement…

“Good win for us. Mount St. Mary’s is playing really good basketball. They’ve won two in a row on the road, of course, and then three games ago they kept it very respectable at Ole Miss – who is really good obviously. They haven’t lost. Played well, adjusted well. They were terrific offensively and really defending better as of late. I think they are going to have a really good season, and we were very fortunate because we could not collect a bunch of stops in this one.”

On defensive struggles in tonight’s game…

“Our transition defense, our sense of urgency needs to improve in league play, of course. It’s been pretty good. Our defensive numbers coming into this game were really good, and we were proud of them. Our numbers will take a hit after this one, but credit those guys for getting downhill, especially No.1 and No. 2, their guards, in space. Broken plays, transition – they just seemed to finish everything. Just a little bit of a step quicker than us getting to the rim. They were good. I thought they did a really good job, too, with adjustments in the second half as we just sold out to switching down the stretch in hopes of trying to get some stops.”

On having RJ Sunahara and Jalen DeLoach back in rotation together…

“It gives us more options, of course, but it also confuses a little bit overall. We have a bunch of different guys with different skillsets, of course, that work hard on a daily basis that are fighting to earn minutes. We have a couple guys out there who didn’t get opportunities tonight – M.A. Moncrieffe and Dylan James, who’s been really good at practice as of late. You wish you could give a bunch of guys opportunities, but you just do the best you can. It might be someone else’s night, or afternoon when we play North Florida. Who knows?”

On the bench points and free-throw percentage from tonight’s game…

“We’ll take those positives, the overall field-goal percentage, the 17-12 assist-turnover ratio, and then J. Hill – the impact he had on this game by only taking five shots, eight assists and one turnover. He was really good defensively. I thought he was really good. R.J. Melendez might have had his best game, too.”

On RJ Melendez tying his career-high in points…

“We were in transition a lot. He’s slithery. He’s fast. He made good decisions. He drew some fouls and then converted at the foul line – 7-of-7. He started some of those transition possessions because he got some of those loose balls, and he got rebounds. I just thought he played with a lot of energy.”

On the positives from the team’s offensive performance…

“You like to see some of those shots go in. And the way that our guys shot them with confidence down the stretch – Noah Thomasson comes to mind. The way he continued to get in there and make some of those shots that might be considered a higher degree of difficulty for some other guys. Kind of like [Mount St. Mary’s] Leffew, those tough twos just continued to go in for us. Fortunate that they did because again we struggled to get stops. But we’ll reference this game in the future, to a certain extent. But for the most part, we just have to be a lot better defensively to compete in our league.”

On how he feels about the team with conference play approaching…

“Honestly, it’s North Florida right now, and then it will be [Alabama] A&M. You know, with Alabama A&M, we’ll have a few days there. We will only prep for those guys for the last couple. Those first couple of days we’ll get after it when we come back. We’ll focus on us, and we’ll focus on the SEC and a lot of the little things we have to continue to get better – rebounding the ball with two hands, our close outs, our loading to the basketball, our transition defense, which really suffered tonight, of course. But right now, tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night, the next morning, it’s about North Florida. It’s about a team that’s won a lot of games for a long time. They’ve got a great program. I want to say leading the country in threes attempted and made. I got the run down, and it doesn’t surprise me, given to me from my support staff because they’re always up there. Of course, they run good stuff. They space you with a bunch of skill guys. And they’ll be prepared.”

#1 | JABRI ABDUR-RAHIM | SR. | G

On Georgia’s progression this season…

“I think we’ve done a good job. I think a lot of guys are stepping up. I think our depth is showing. Earlier you could see signs of different guys being able to play some roles, but now everyone’s getting comfortable and everybody’s sharing it. We had a season-high in assists tonight. That’s something we really value and it really shows that we’re sharing the ball and working together. I think if we continue to do that the sky is the limit.”

On RJ Sunahara and Jalen DeLoach’s returns…

“Those guys are two of our toughest guys. They added a bunch of toughness. JJ and RJ are really hard-nosed unselfish guys, so getting those back was really great. It took a lot of pressure off of us. They definitely helped us on both sides.”

On the depth of this team…

“I think tonight really spoke to our depth. We have a lot of good players. Tonight it was almost everybody’s night. It’s not going to be like that every game. I feel confident that every night we’ll have someone who’s going to step up and make good plays.

On what he contributes offensively to the team…

“I think we just have to do a better job defensively first of all. We can’t give up any two points, especially at home, but credit to them, they’re a good team. I think offensively, we need to remain confident. We need to try to give the younger guys confidence too. Even the guys that come off the bench, we try to give them confidence. I think that’s my job as a leader on this team. If I have it going offensively, I try to pour it into other people too, and not focus on it so much. Blue got it going, and RJ was able to get it going in the second half. I think just trying to stay positive and give other guys confidence helps me too.

#3 | NOAH THOMASSON | GR. | G

On having Jalen DeLoach and RJ Melendez back and healthy and playing…

“We can do different things with different guys. You saw it today. Jalen can come in and speed the game up for us which is a little different than when Russ is playing. Sunny [Sunahara] is just a vet and he’s done it at the highest level in the D-II ranks. He’s won a lot. He knows what it takes. I’m glad to have those guys back because we’re going to need them come SEC play.”

On what he has learned from this team over the last couple weeks…

“We can defend. Obviously we didn’t show that tonight and credit goes to Mount St. Mary’s but we play defense, we compete and we are going to play hard.”

On the 43 bench points tonight and the bench’s contributions…

“We have depth. We have a lot of guys who can start at other Power Five programs but they’ve sacrificed and they’ve identified their roles and they know who they are. For example, RJ Melendez is playing great. He had 18 points and six rebounds. He’s a Dawg. He’s a really good player.”

On Jabri Abdur-Rahim’s hot hand in the first half and Noah Thomasson’s second half performance…

“Strength in numbers. We had multiple guys in double figures. We need multiple guys getting plus 15 points you know. We had 17 assists tonight. That’s what we’re going to need all season long, especially against those good defenses.”

MOUNT ST. MARY’S HEAD COACH DAN ENGELSTAD

On tonight’s game versus Georgia…

“Credit to Georgia, I thought we did a really good job defensively for the first eight minutes of the game and then they figured a few things out, they were able to get going. Abdur-Rahim shot the ball terrifically in the first half and then they had other guys step up in the second half. For us, our defense is usually what we hang our hat on. I thought we were not as good on that end as we need to be. I thought our transition defense was tough and a team like this, they can get downhill and put a lot of heat on the rim, so we have to clean some things up. But it was good to see Dakota in front of his family really have a great shooting night and he got guys involved. Dallas was on the glass, Shane made some big-time plays, George was so active and it was good to see Jedy be aggressive around the rim too. So, there were some positives from an offensive standpoint. But for us we have to clean up the defense, we have a game on Saturday versus Long Island that we have to make the adjustments and get ready to go.”

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