It is far too early to tell if Georgia will make it to the NCAA tournament in March, but the Bulldogs certainly have bolstered their case with a pair of signature victories entering Tuesday’s home contest against Winthrop. After knocking off then-ranked St. Mary’s on Nov. 26, the Bulldogs made the most of five days off and then defeated Marquette 73-66 Saturday, earning an impressive road triumph for their sixth victory in seven games.
“It is so hard to win on the road,” Georgia coach Mark Fox told the media after Georgia used a late 7-0 run and hit 11-of-13 free throws in the final 3:02. “It is so hard to beat a Big East team on the road, and a very good Big East team.” Forward Yante Maten, who scored 13 points in the victory, has scored in double figures in 57 of his previous 64 games dating back to last season, and leads the Bulldogs in scoring at 17.6 points per game. The emergence of guard William Jackson II also has helped spark Georgia in the early weeks as he has scored 10 or more points six times this season. The Eagles followed a 34-point loss at Auburn with three victories in a row, routing NAIA Reinhardt 107-76 on Saturday.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network
ABOUT WINTHROP (5-3): The Eagles rank in the top 15 nationally in scoring at 90.4 points per game, scoring 85 in the defeat at Auburn and topping 100 points three times. Anders Broman scored a career-high 29 points against Reinhardt and Xavier Cooks recorded a triple-double (11 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists). Cooks leads the Eagles in scoring at 15.4 points, 9.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists per contest.
ABOUT GEORGIA (6-1): Jackson, who averaged 2.8 points per game in his first two seasons, is 14-of-37 from 3-point range this season while averaging 12.3 points per game. Maten, one of the top players in the SEC, is averaging 9.1 rebounds per game and has seven or more boards in six games (seven in each of the past three). The Bulldogs are in the top 30 nationally in defending the 3-point shot, holding opponents to 28 percent from beyond the arc.
1. Georgia G Tyree Crump hit 7-of-13 from 3-point range in the victories over St. Mary’s and Marquette.
2. Bulldogs F Derek Ogbeide is 9-for-12 from the field in his past two games, averaging nine points and 5.5 rebounds.
3. The Bulldogs beat Winthrop 74-64 on Dec. 8, 2015 in Athens, as Maten scored 24 points to lead the Bulldogs and Cooks contributed seven points in 22 minutes for the Eagles.
PREDICTION: Georgia 78, Winthrop 71