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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / June 29.
  • Scuffle Between Assistant Coaches Mars Missouri-Georgia Game

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    ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — A tussle between assistant coaches that took place as the first half ended Saturday appeared to be a big factor in Georgia’s strong second-half performance as the Bulldogs defeated Missouri 71-66 in Southeastern Conference play.

    Georgia trailed the Tigers 26-20 at halftime, but had runs of 11-2 and 12-0 to outscore Missouri by 11 points in the final 20 minutes.

    Neither Georgia coach Mark Fox nor Missouri coach Kim Anderson had a lot to say about the brief scuffle under the Missouri basket, although Anderson said the Bulldogs’ fans played a key role in Georgia’s resurgence.

    “I didn’t see what started it and I tried to get in and . calm people down,” Anderson said. “In the second half, we knew they’d make a run, which they did. I’m sure the run was fueled by what happened at the end of the first half. The crowd was great, but we withstood it and fought back. It tells me a lot about these guys.”

     

    All Fox would offer was praise for the crowd of 8,600 at Stegeman Coliseum.

    “Guys got tied up with the ball, but until I see the tape I won’t (say anything),” he said. “. Our crowd certainly lifted our team today.”

    Yante Maten scored 17 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead the Bulldogs (10-5, 2-1), who also got 16 points and four assists from J.J. Frazier, 12 points and five rebounds from Pape Diatta, and 11 points and six rebounds from Juwan Parker.

    “There was a lot of energy in the building, on our team, the coaching staff, everywhere,” Maten said. “It wasn’t hard to really find energy to play the game. Sometimes you got to get yourself riled up, but everybody was really riled up at that point during the second half.”

    Frazier, who averages 16 points a game for Georgia, tallied 14 points in the second half.

    Terrence Phillips scored 20 points, Jordan Barnett had 15, and K.J. Walton added 13 for Missouri (5-9, 0-2).

    Georgia made 21 of 46 field goals (46 percent) while the Tigers made 25 of 72 shot attempts (35 percent), and won the rebound battle 44-35, the 12th time in 15 games the Bulldogs have owned the glass this season.

    Georgia won for the fifth time in its last seven games. Missouri has lost six straight and six in a row to Georgia. Their last victory over the Bulldogs came on Jan. 15, 2013, when they won 79-62 in Columbia.

    Georgia’s disappointing first half included 12 turnovers (which Missouri turned into 14 points) but the Bulldogs — especially Frazier — came out energized for the final 20 minutes. Frazier blamed himself for Georgia’s 67-61 loss on Wednesday against South Carolina and took only two shots in the first half.

    “I took care of the ball better,” said Frazier, who had four turnovers against South Carolina but only two against Missouri. “I don’t really care about how many shots I make or miss, but I have to be able to get our team in position to make plays, and if I turn the ball over that’s less possessions for my teammates to possibly score or make a play. Against South Carolina I turned the ball over at crucial times and that’s what hurt us.”

    Georgia scored first in the game at the 18:50 mark on a free throw by Maten and the Bulldogs didn’t regain the lead until the 17:33 mark of the second half when Frazier connected on two free throws to go ahead 29-28.

    Missouri fought back and took a 52-51 advantage with 7:20 remaining on a free throw by Walton, but the Bulldogs outscored the Tigers 20-41 in the final minutes of play as Diatta hit three free throws in the final seconds to ice the game.

     

    Photo: @littlebirds44

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.