Tom Crean: "We Can't Rest"

January 28, 2019
1,587

Georgia Basketball Game Notes
Georgia (10-9, 1-5 SEC) vs. Arkansas (11-8, 2-4 SEC)
Tuesday, January 30 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Bud Walton Arena (19,200) in Fayetteville, Ark.
Watch: ESPNU (Roy Philpott, play-by-play; Daymeon Fishback, analyst)
Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta; XM: 392; Internet: 973. (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Tony Schiavone, producer)

 

The Starting 5…
• Georgia is averaging 8,762 fans over its 11 home dates, the highest tally since averaging a school-record 9,857 fans during 2002-03 season.
• Nicolas Claxton leads the SEC and ranks No. 6 nationally in blocked shots at 2.9 bpg. His 54 blocks is the No. 10 season total in UGA history.
• UGA’s percentages of 66.7 on FGs and 70.6 on 3FGs against Texas rank fourth and third, respectively, all-time for the Bulldogs.
• UGA’s bench has outscored it counterparts in 14 games, with 11 of those being by +10 or more. UGA’s  bench has a +187 scoring margin.
• UGA’s coaching staff sports a combined 80 seasons of D-I experience (Crean-28, Scott-27, Dollar-23, Abdur-Rahim-12) with 38 postseason bids


The Opening Tip
Georgia travels to Fayetteville on Tuesday to face Arkansas in the Bulldogs’ second of four consecutive SEC midweek road dates.

Georgia is coming off its most impressive outing of the season, a 98-88 win over Texas on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The Bulldogs posted the fourth-best single-game field goal percentage in school history (.667) and their third-highest 3-point percentage ever (.706) in the win.


Series History With The Hogs
Arkansas leads the all-time series between the Dogs and the Hogs, 22-15, including a 10-3 advantage in Fayetteville.


Up Next: Gamecocks On Saturday
Georgia will return to the friendly – and increasingly crowded – confines of Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday to host South Carolina. 

The game will be the Bulldogs’ fifth sellout of the season, with two more sellouts on the books for games against Ole Miss and LSU.


History In The Making
Tom Crean’s inaugural season as the Bulldogs’ head coach has carried historic ramifications for Georgia Basketball, both on and off the court. 
From an attendance standpoint...
• Georgia announced sellouts of the Florida and Kentucky game on Oct. 24, the earliest sellout(s) in program history.
• The Texas game became a sellout on Oct. 26. Before this season, UGA has never had more than one sellout prior to the season opener.
• In December, the LSU, South Carolina and Ole Miss games sold out. Six sellouts represented the most in school history before the calendar change.
• Georgia drew 9,018 fans for the season opener against Savannah State, UGA’s biggest crowd for a home opener in 37 seasons...since Dominique Wilkins’ sophomore year in Athens in 1981-82.
• The UMass game on Dec. 30 sold out on gameday, giving Georgia a minimum of seven sellouts for the 2018-19 season. That represents the Bulldogs’ most sellouts since having a school-record nine in 2002-03.
• Georgia is averaging 8,762 fans for its 11 home games to date. That’s the highest since averaging a school-record 9,857 fans during the 2002-03 season.
On the basketball court:
• Georgia defeated Savannah State, 110-76 in the season opener, the Bulldogs’ most points in the 2000s since defeating Grambling, 113-74, on Nov. 27, 1999, at the Great Alaska Shootout.
• Georgia’s 66.7 percent FG percentage against Texas equals the No. 4 best mark in school history.
• The Bulldogs’ 70.6 percent 3-point percentage against Texas is the No. 3 mark in program history.

Welcome To The League, Coach
Tom Crean’s initiation into the Southeastern Conference would probably be considered hazing by some.

Georgia began league play with six consecutive outings against teams that entered SEC competition ranked in the top-50 of the new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings.

In the Jan. 5 edition of the NET, the Bulldogs’ first half-dozen SEC foes were ranked, in succession, as No. 7 Tennessee, No. 45 Vanderbilt, No. 18 Auburn, No. 10 Kentucky, No. 33 Florida and No. 27 LSU.

Most of those NET rankings held relatively true through the first few weeks of SEC play. 

Following Saturday, those teams were in Sunday’s NET as No. 6 Tennessee, No. 93 Vanderbilt, No. 27 Auburn, No. 7 Kentucky, No. 37 Florida and No. 16 LSU.

Every SEC team has now played six league games. The Bulldogs’ opponents in that stretch averaged a NET ranking of 31.0. The next closest average was 42.0 for Alabama.


Dogs’ Sellout Count Climbs To 7
The Tom Crean regime has established impressive attendance records with seven sellouts already on the books. 

Four of those have been played – UMass, Kentucky, Florida and Texas. Georgia’s next three home outings – South Carolina, Ole Miss and LSU – also are sold out.

It should be noted that the 2,000 free seats reserved for UGA’s student body must be filled for those “sellouts” to have capacity crowds of 10,523.


Dogs To Face Hogs In Fayettville
Georgia treks to Fayetteville this week for a Tuesday evening matchup with Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena.

The Bulldogs are currently 10-9 on the season and 1-5 in SEC play. Georgia is coming off its best outing of the campaign, a 98-88 victory over Texas in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge last Saturday in which the Bulldogs shot 66.7 percent from the floor and 70.6 percent from 3-point range.

Sophomores Rayshaun Hammonds and Nicolas Claxton lead the Bulldogs. 

Hammonds averages a team-high 13.2 ppg, which ranks No. 18 in the SEC. Among league statistical leaders, he also is No. 7 in free throw percentage (.831) and No. 14 in rebounds (6.4 rpg).

Claxton has been a “do-it-all” contributor for the Bulldogs. He is scoring 12.8 ppg and leads the league in both rebounding (9.4 rpg) and blocks (2.9 bpg). Claxton also paces Georgia in assists (42) and steals (26).

Tyree Crump, who scored a game-high 21 points against Texas, provides a third double-digit scoring average at 10.4 ppg.

The Razorbacks are now 11-8 overall and 2-4 in SEC play. Arkansas dropped a 67-64 decision at No. 14 Texas Tech on Saturday.

Daniel Gafford tops a trio of double-figure scorers for the Razorbacks at 16.2 ppg and is second in the SEC in rebounding at 9.2 rpg.

Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones are scoring 14.4 ppg and 13.8 ppg, respectively.


Series History With The Hogs
Arkansas owns a 22-15 lead in the all-time series with the Bulldogs, including a 10-3 advantage in Fayetteville.

Last season in Athens, Arkansas outscored Georgia 11-8 in a second overtime to give the Razorbacks an 80-77 victory over the Bulldogs on Jan. 23 at Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia led for a majority of the game – 31:36 of 45 minutes to be exact – but the Razorbacks shot 57.1 percent from 3-point range in two overtime periods to seal the win.

Georgia raced to a 29-13 lead with 6:06 left in the first half. Arkansas trimmed that margin to five points at the half and then earned its first lead at 50-48 with 10:12 left in regulation.

Jordan Harris tied the game at 63-63 with five seconds left to force overtime. Harris made one of two free throws with 35 seconds left in the first extra period to tie the game at 69-69 before both the Hogs and Dogs both missed potential game winners thereafter.

Daryl Macon’s three 3-pointers in the second overtime proved to be the difference.

Arkansas defeated Georgia, 85-67, in the last matchup in Fayetteville on March 4, 2017.

J.J. Frazier led Georgia with 24 points, including knocking down all 13 of his free throw attempts on the day.

Arkansas quickly pushed a one-point halftime lead to nine with 17:30 remaining, and Georgia never pulled closer than seven points thereafter. Frazier picked up his fourth foul with 15:07 left in the game, and the Razorbacks expanded their advantage to 14 points over the next two minutes.

 

 

Georgia Basketball Pregame Quotes
Georgia vs. Arkansas
Quotes from Monday, January 28, 2019
 
Head Coach Tom Crean
 
Coach Tom Crean
On Arkansas...
"Arkansas is extremely quick and athletic. We’ve seen some presses obviously, but I don't think we've seen anything like this. They just keep coming at you. It's not a press that takes a break. It's not a press that stops once you get into the front court, and they keep bringing aggressive pressure. They'll run at the ball. They'll just leave their man and attack the ball. If we're not good with the dribble and if we're good on the drive and looking for the drive and kick and looking for the straight line drive, we'll play right into their hands. They can do a lot of things. They can take a lot of chances because they have such a good inside player shot-blocking presence, length presence in Daniel Gafford. And they have other players, Reggie Chaney, people like that who are really quick, aggressive and tough. Chaney might be one of the better defenders in our. There's not many things you look at and say we can get away with this. It's another one of these games where the margin for error is going to be extremely low. We can't go into an environment like that and give up live ball turnovers the way that we have. And at the same time we can't come down and fall down into some type of trap trying to create offense that's not there because there's too much length and there's too much physicality. They shoot the ball extremely well. I'd say [Isaiah] Joe is one of the better pure shooters we will have seen anywhere, certainly one of the best in our league. I have a lot of respect for Mike Anderson I've been coaching against him since I was at Marquette and he was at UAB. I haven't gone against him in a while but I know what level of intensity, what level of stick to it-ivness, and most importantly they're one of those teams when you talk about you have to play harder longer, they're they epitome of that. They play hard for s very long time. "
 
On coaching at Bud Walton Arena...
"Never have [been], another arena that I've never coached in, so no."
 
On the health Jordan Harris and Rayshaun Hammonds...
"Rayshaun is better. ‘Fine’ I wouldn't go with yet but better. I don't anticipate Jordan Harris tomorrow so hopefully that'll keep getting better. We're treating him for concussion symptoms. I think that's more than saying he's got a concussion; it’s more treating him for the symptoms he shows because he is improving. We'll just kind of wait as see as we go through that part of it.”
 
On Tye Fagan...
"He hurt his achilles the other day in the (LSU) game. Think about that, the three injuries we were fortunate enough to keep Nic [Claxton] but he was banged up in that. (Tye) tried a little bit Thursday tried a little bit Friday but if he couldn't do as much we were really hoping for a game time be better you know that morning on Saturday. And he wasn't so we didn't even risk it but we'll see today. I think he's better but as far as availability, I'm not sure yet. This is where the trainers and doctors come in. Our whole thing, not my whole thing, with any of those type of things, even when you're injured there's always something. We have to keep them engaged. We've had a lot of chair shooting over the years with guys because they might be in a boot. They might be coming off of a lower body injury, but they can still work on their form and technique. I think the most important thing is you never let somebody feel like they're off to the side. I don't want a player feeling that way. I don't coach that way and you want them engaged as much as they can possibly be because when they come back, you want to shorten up that window of what it's going to take for them to get in the game. Knowing that there is some but that's why, we just had a meeting about it a little bit ago, that day to day where are we at, where do we project it, what can we do today to help them be better? Not only medically but mentally."
 
On success against Texas...
"I think they played really well in that game. That game was a stat sheet eye popper. Not only on the offensive side but also the 26 turnovers. There's a lot of things you wouldn't put in the same stat sheet and see a win with but that's what you have to do you have to find a way to win. The most important thing for us right now is to make sure we're correcting the biggest mistakes. We don't attack the press like that. We don't run up and run to the corners. Again, some of the press offense was without Rayshaun and we've had some tough endings when he's not there. He is a really good passer, receiver, decision maker, free throw shooter, and he is a stabilizing presence along with Nic [Claxton]. It really hurts when you lose a guy like that, but we're not running up into the corner and allowing ourselves to be trapped. We don't practice that, but some times the pressure of the game makes the happen. There's no room for us to look at it and say ‘It’s a great feeling’ and I didn't look at it at all like it was a relief. They absolutely earned the victory and wanted to win. They put a lot into it like they have every game, and they were rewarded with it. We played consistently better longer, not great but better longer. There's no reason for anybody here right now when you're in this league to rest on anything. We have to get better on our press offense. We've got to get better with our defense certainly, with our being up into the ball, with our communication on screening. They caught us sometimes coming out of timeouts, where it was not as complex a play as it was just poor communication together. We have to keep building on what we're doing well, making sure we're cutting and doing those types of things."
 
On how the team has matured...
"Well it’s all part of the process and again there's the experience of the games, the experience of what you go through, but it's much more about what you start to understand. No matter what we do in this program every body is new to it. I've said that 100 times. The experience of playing together is not going to be an overriding factor for us. The understanding of what you go through in the games, what the game is giving you, what you have to stay committed to, what you have to get away from, those are the things you want to continue to work on constantly. That's where maturity comes from. There's a natural level of maturity that comes because you get older, you play longer, you go through more games, but that real time maturity is how you understand the game better, how you understand decision making better and how you don't try to do things that aren't there. That's the part where we've had some lack of maturity and sometimes there's been areas of omission and sometimes there's been areas of co-mission. Both can get you and you can get paused and you can freeze a little bit or you can try to do too much. It doesn't mean that you're selfish or not trying to win. It just means that you're decision making mode is not where its supposed to be. That's where the understanding of the game has to continue to improve for us."
 
On any fears looking ahead...
"No we don't think like that. I don't ever think in those terms, those are hypotheticals. Just like I never overreacted to 1-for-20 or four 3s. We're going to shoot every day. You make it part of who you are every day and you just coach the technique and the shots and those type of things. I don't deal in terms of pressure like that, and I'm certainly not going to bring it to them that way."
 
On Tyree Crump...
"He's not unlike a lot of the guards, he has to defend better. That's a bigger thing and the on-ball defense of our guards has to improve, and he's right there. Now first and foremost, inch for inch, pound for pound day and by day, he's as hard of a worker as we have here. There's no doubt about that. He might have some bad moments in practice or not so good and he gets down on himself, but everyday he brings a high, high level of work ethic. It’s not about that. The biggest thing for him is getting lost in the game offensively. Not seeking, hunting, looking, but playing, right? Playing, not pre-determining. But defensively he's got to get better on the ball. He's got to get more engaged and active off the ball. And like all of them become a better communicator so that's the biggest thing. Sometimes the screening, sometimes the on-ball defense those type of things. When he's moving freely and when he's moving the ball at a really high rate and the ball's coming back. When he starts putting too much pressure on himself to make shots is when it affects him most and us second. That's what we don't need, He's not just a one-trick guy. He's a very good shooter, but we need him to be a play maker, a scorer, a decision maker. Like I said it sounds kind of loose but it's true…get lost in the game, right? That's where the constant movement, the spacing, the cutting, all of those things help you do that and that's what's taken us a while to understand. I've said this so many times but the commitment to the spacing, the commitment to how far back you have to be, the commitment to the corner not five feet away from the corner, the cutting out of a slot not waiting for a pass, the making the pass one dribble early not one dribble late, all of those things over a period of time become one of those things that you grow into and he's no different than anybody else with that."
 
On Rayshaun with turnovers...
"Too much dribbling. In Rayshaun's case trying to make plays. If you look at him the last two games, and this is exactly what we've shown him. What I did the other night at LSU I went through all of his shots in the league with him. There were a couple of key components. There was footwork and was moving without the ball. So now let’s move without the ball even better and let’s stay locked into our footwork and watch what happens. All of a sudden with LSU it started to get better because he was moving better without the ball, he was cutting better without the ball. Nic and Ray are really in the same position I know I said this the other day but the number one key offensively right now for us is their movement. They're the tougher match-ups; they're the unique match-ups so the more they move without the ball. The more they move the ball. and they're both good passers its not that but its more the movement without the ball. It's not natural to be seven foot and ask you to move the way we're asking you to move. It's not natural to be in Ray's case but what's what the game is. If you want to have a future in it you have to be able to do that too. That's the biggest thing…when Ray starts trying to make a play predetermined or when Ray wants to hold the ball too long because he thinks he sees an opening rather than trust the next pass and the fact that he's probably going to get it back maybe a pass or another two passes away. It's just reading the game quicker, giving it up quicker and not looking because people scout in this league and he's one of the best players obviously on our team. So they know if he's going to go into a certain move. They know if he's going to do this and it becomes the quicker you give it up, the lower you stay, the more you move away, suddenly you're playing in space. And the more we can get a guy like Ray or I could say anybody else to understand that the space is the key, no matter how they're guarding us the space is the key, everything good happens from that. You might not score it but we will and it comes back to you and that's how we'll continue to coach these guys."
 
On Rayshaun playing tomorrow...
"I'm not sure yet. He was better. I don't anticipate that he's not [playing] but we weren't in a full mode yesterday. I would expect he's going to play but maybe tomorrow. We had my mother's funeral yesterday so we didn't do anything in the sense of live. But we did more in the sense of film, Arkansas, stuff like that. So it wasn't a challenging or physical day, nothing like that. We're hopeful that he's as close to 100 percent as he can be it's just too early to really totally know."
 
Senior Forward E’Torrion Wilridge 
 
On how the win Saturday motivates you all going on the road to Arkansas… 
“It definitely was a confidence booster for us because Texas was a good team with a lot of talent. They were ranked early in the season, so that was a good confidence booster for us to beat a good team like that.” 
 
On Coach saying its difficult for this team dealing with success at times and why you think that is… 
“Coach always says that and we have a lot of young guys. We just have to stay focused and keep the main the main thing.” 
 
On what allowed you guys to carry the success from the second half at LSU into a complete game against Texas… 
“That was all Coach Crean. In the second half at LSU, we played really fast and cut a lot on offense, and he really wanted to translate that into the Texas game. They scouted Texas to a T on defense, so they wanted us to implement our movement and our cutting game.” 
 
On how much the seniors, like you and Turtle, have been helping the younger guys… 
“As much as we can. Those young guys are our core right now so we really need those guys to mature and take that next step. We are doing as much as we can with them.” 
 
On what about Crean’s style makes the team fired up and excited to play… 
“That is just him. It is not an act or anything. He has so much natural energy and that is easy to feed off of, easy to get behind and easy to play behind.” 
 
On how far along the team is into Crean’s system right now… 
“I feel like we are just starting to get the grasp of it. Earlier in the season we really struggled with all the moving parts of the offense and the dynamics that it brings. People like Nick and Rayshaun are really starting to fit into their roles and how much attention they bring from the defense and how much their movement and cutting opens up the game for the rest of us.” 
 
On what aspects of Crean’s system you think are effective and helping Georgia right now… 
“We have a lot of versatile players.,,Rayshaun, Nic, I would put myself in that category. I feel with how we play, we put a lot of people in different positions and really puts the defense on their heels.” 
 
On if the win over Texas gives the team some momentum to get a win over an SEC opponent in Arkansas after starting 1-5 in the SEC…
“For sure. To open up the SEC with that schedule, might have been the toughest schedule possible, in my opinion. I feel like our best basketball is ahead of us and we really needed those tests early in the conference to see where we are at.” 
 
On how those games prepared you all for the upcoming slate of conference games… 
“They let us know how much more physical we needed to be, how much rebounding plays a part in the games. Testing ourselves against talented teams is always a good measuring stick.” 
 
On if you think the team can reduce the number of turnovers per game… 
“I think we can definitely get that down. Most of them are simple mistakes like over-dribbling and trying to make a pass that is not there. Those are all correctable and I think we will definitely get the turnovers under control.” 
 
On how hostile of an environment Arkansas is… 
“I have played there once, I think it was their senior night actually so it was pretty loud to say the least. Arkansas is always tough to play because of how they play and the crowd is always going to bring it so it will definitely be tough.” 
 
On if the team is more prepared now to handle the tempo… 
“I feel like it is going to be an exciting game. Like I said, they play fast, we are trying to play fast. Whoever takes care of the ball the best will come out victorious.” 

 
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