Georgia defeats High Point, 66-58
ATHENS, Ga. – The Georgia men’s basketball team used a balanced offensive attack with four players scoring in double figures to pick up a 66-58 win against High Point before 6,523 spectators inside Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday evening.
Silas Demary Jr. led the Bulldogs (7-3) in scoring for the second time in his career with 12 points along with six rebounds, four assists and two steals. RJ Melendez, Russel Tchewa, and Noah Thomasson all contributed with 11 points each. Melendez added seven rebounds and a pair of steals, Tchewa had six boards and a career-high three blocks while Thomasson recorded six rebounds and three assists. Georgia held High Point (8-4), who ranks top-10 in Division I in scoring offense, to a season-low 58 points and 23.3 percent shooting from the field.
The Panthers came out hot, using their size to create a 15-1 advantage on the offensive glass in the first half and lead for almost the entire opening frame. Georgia trailed, 33-30, heading into the locker room. High Point continued to control the flow of the game, managing to respond each time the Bulldogs made a run to close the gap. Georgia regained its first lead since 17:56 in the first half at 45-43 following five-straight points from Frank Anselem-Ibe and a 3-pointer from Melendez with 11:02 remaining. The Bulldogs would go on to hold the lead for the remainder of the contest, picking up its seventh win of the season.
Georgia will return to action on Dec. 20 at 5:30 p.m. ET against Mount Saint Mary’s. The game, which will mark the team’s fourth of a six-game homestand, will be streamed on the SEC Network+. This will be the first all-time meeting between the Bulldogs and Mountaineers.
Five Fast Facts
• The Bulldogs held High Point, who ranks top-10 nationally in scoring offense in Division-I, to a season low of 58 points. Its previous low was 72 points against Queens College on Nov. 14.
• Georgia held High Point to 23.3 percent shooting from the field, which is the lowest opponent field goal percentage the Bulldogs have allowed this season and the first time an opposing team shot under 30 percent since Mississippi State did so on Jan. 11, 2023.
• For the ninth time in 10 games this season and the 32nd time under Coach White, Georgia outscored its opponent in bench points, 25-8.
• RJ Melendez finished with 11 points in the contest, marking the fourth time in the last six games he’s reached double figures in scoring.
• Russel Tchewa set a new career-best in blocks with three, all in the first half, after previously recording a personal-best of one block in 31 different games throughout his career.
Head Coach Mike White: “Really good win for us. Long stretch of not playing. Exams. And a team that is a dangerous schedule for a lot of reasons. And they just showed all of us. They shot the ball, 73 shots, 25 offensive rebounds. They had 15 offensive rebounds at the half. They really move it. They do a great job. They’re going to win a bunch of games this season, and we were very fortunate.”
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- The starting lineup was freshman Silas Demary Jr., seniors Jabri Abdur-Rahim and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe and graduates Noah Thomasson and Russel Tchewa.
- Georgia is now 3-0 all-time versus High Point.
- This game is the third of a six-game homestand for Georgia.
- Georgia outscored the Panthers 36-25 in the second half.
- The Bulldogs shot 66.7% from the free-throw line in the first half.
- Georgia held the Panthers to 23.3% field goal percentage on 73 attempts, which is the lowest opponent field goal percentage the Bulldogs have allowed this season and the first time an opposing team shot under 30 percent since Mississippi State did so on Jan. 11, 2023.
- This win marks the longest winning streak (five games) under Coach White.
- Georgia scored 34 of its points in the paint, more than half of the total 66 points scored.
- Georgia scored 17 field goals in the paint while holding High Point to just 17 made shots.
- For the ninth time in 10 games this season and the 32nd time under Coach White, Georgia outscored its opponent in bench points, 25-8.
- The Bulldogs held High Point, who ranks top-10 nationally in scoring offense in Division-I, to a season-low of 58 points. Its previous low was 72 points against Queens College on Nov. 14.
- RJ Sunahara played his first minutes of the season (9) and grabbed two rebounds in his return from a knee injury sustained in the exhibition game Oct. 30.
- Frank Anselem-Ibe tied his season high of two blocks and three rebounds in a single game.
- Frank Anselem-Ibe recorded three dunks in his highest-scoring game of the season (seven points).
- RJ Melendez finished with 11 points in the contest, marking the fourth time in the last six games he’s reached double figures in scoring.
- Russel Tchewa set a new career high of three blocks in a single game, tying the season record for most blocks by a Bulldog in a game.
- Russel Tchewa tied his season-high score of 11 points.
GEORGIA HEAD COACH MIKE WHITE
“Really good win for us. Long stretch of not playing. Exams. And a team that is a dangerous schedule for a lot of reasons. And they just showed all of us. They shot the ball, 73 shots, 25 offensive rebounds. They had 15 offensive rebounds at the half. They really move it. They do a great job. They’re going to win a bunch of games this season, and we were very fortunate.”
On what made the difference for Georgia at the end of the game…
“I thought Jabri [Abdur-Rahim] hit a big shot – an ‘and-one.’ And Justin Hill made a big floater in the paint. Nothing came easy really for either team offensively. We collected a few shots; I thought our defensive rebounding in the last 10 or 12 minutes, compared to the first 30, was a big factor.”
On having an 11-day lay-off between games…
“It probably affected both teams. They had a lay-off, too. I just thought they came in here hungry, aggressive and confident. [Trae] Benham got after it from the jump. Just hitting shots from deep, again with confidence and with hardly any room. We fouled two threes, got them to the line. They beat us to a lot of their offensive rebounds where we could’ve had them. They were just quicker to the ball. They played harder than us in the first 20, I thought. And offensively, they had us in rotations, a lot. They really moved it, shared it and attacked close outs, as well. Their guards do a good job on the offensive glass in addition. They’re a balanced team.”
On his halftime message to the team…
“They’re offensive rebounds were 15 to our one. That’s not a real good recipe in the SEC, so our guys, I thought, did a really good job of embracing it, owning it. Again, I thought down the stretch, Noah Thomasson, Silas Demary Jr, Jabri, RJ Melendez, they were all in their flying with less regard for their bodies down the stretch. We were getting stops with defensive rebounds.”
On the key to defending High Point successfully…
“Our first shot at defense was terrific against again a top-60, 70 offense, the numbers fluctuate every day, in the country. Changing up coverages, I thought, helped a little bit – ball screen coverages. Russel Tchewa continues to evolve on the perimeter. defensively for us. I thought Frank Anselem did a pretty good job there, too. R.J. Sunahara moved his feet pretty well for us. It was good to see him back out there healthy. Melendez did a good job defensively. They do a lot of stuff, too, where they make you communicate. They do a lot of stuff where the get a couple guards running at each other, and there are certain things we try to switch, which we tried not to switch. I thought vocally we were pretty sharp in the second half, especially.”
On his coaching decision to play with a lot of depth…
“We’ve got quality depth, and on different nights there has been different guys. We have a lot of parity on this roster. We have talked about this a lot in the past, and it’s no different now. And it’s going to be different guys on different nights, but collectively, pretty consistently we’ve been at least decent defensively. We got to continue to get better offensively. We played many guys, sometimes you’re a little bit more sporadic offensively. You’re not leaning on the same six or seven guys and roles are a little bit harder to define. You have to like the effort some of these guys are getting in for a few minutes and getting back out. I thought Blue Kane was really good defensively, as were some other guys. I am pleased with the defensive effort.”
On if he looks at the plus/minus…
“Yeah, I don’t know whether that’s right or wrong, but I do. One of the first things I looked at when RJ Melendez was in the game tonight, we were pretty good. It’s something that we talked about in front of his teammates right after the game.”
#4 | SILAS DEMARY JR. | FR. | G
On what it took to have offensive success…
“Just, you know, just play together, man. I mean, we’ve been working on it all week, you know, especially on this 11-day break. Coach has been adamant about us playing together, you know, playing off of each other. And I feel like when we do that early, it makes it easier for guys like me, J Hill, and Melendez to get down to get our shoes on. So I feel like just playing together. It just makes everything easier for everybody else.”
On how tough it was to play a team of High Point’s caliber after an 11-day break…
“Coming in, we knew they were an aggressive team, know they play hard the whole game and everyone’s going to be there. I mean, we just knew coming in was going to be a little rusty coming off finals, but we didn’t want that to be an excuse. You know, I feel like the first half we just had to get our legs back under us. I think that’s what it mainly was. And just get back in that game flow. You know, just understanding that we’re still us at the end of the day. No matter who’s in front of us and just be Georgia Bulldogs.”
On how the team’s attitude towards rebounding affected the comeback…
“Yeah, I mean, offensively, we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. I think it was 15 at the half, which is something we’re never like, used to doing. So, I mean, we went into half, coaches adamant about boxing out, we got to finish plays, so we kind of like it was a pride thing. You know, we got to show that we’re tough, strong, and I feel like the numbers are probably lower in the second half because we took pride you know, we finished possession. So, I think definitely after that, have we turned it up a little bit.”
#5 | FRANK ANSELEM-IBE | SR. | F
On how defense contributed to the comeback victory…
“We know we’re a very good defensive team, and that’s what we hang our hat on. So, we start something defensively. You get stops, then push it, want to play tempo, you want to play fast. When we got a stop, it’s only beneficial to us. High Point is a very good offensive team but it’s like that sometimes.”
On High Point’s vast number of rebounds…
“They had more than 50 rebounds today. That’s never happened. It’s crazy. Like they won all this stuff. The rebounds, I guess, bounced their way but at the end of the day, what really matters is the win and we got it.”
On how several of his big momentum plays kept Georgia in the game…
“It’s just all about staying ready, like, I know, I’m going to go back in the game. So, it’s like, you know, when you go back in the game, what can you do to impact winning. You know, last year we were one of the only teams in the country that played 10 guys, they played double digit minutes, so you know you’re going to get in the game. When you when you do get in the game, you know, what are you going to do? And fortunately, tonight, I was able to go in and contribute to win it.”
On his takeaways from the game…
“It’s victories like these you actually learn from. Like, it’s not about coming out here and winning by 20, 25 like you really might not learn a lot from that. If a team comes in your home gyms punches you in the face, out rebounds you — I think their big man like 15, 16 rebound like that’s crazy. You know, but it just goes to show that you got to play hard from the tip if you don’t like anything can happen. Luckily, we got the win. And I keep saying that, but that’s really all that matters.”
HIGHT POINT HEAD COACH ALAN HUSS
On Georgia’s performance against his High Point squad…
“Credit to Coach White and a really talented and disciplined judge of defense. Their ability to change defensive looks and keep us off-balance offensively was really the difference in the game. Their team’s ability to switch looks on the fly and execute each of those looks was impressive. They’re truly an elite defensive team. They’re a team that I’m sure we’ll see playing in March.”