ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia's Yante Maten, the Southeastern Conference's leading scorer, tallied 30 points to lead the Bulldogs to an 84-64 win over Charleston Southern Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum.
Maten posted 19 first half points on perfect 7-of-7 shooting to help Georgia (7-3) build a 20-point lead. CSU (4-6) cut its deficit to 12 early in the second half and was still within 15 at the 7:26 mark before UGA pulled away. The Bucs played very well offensively after intermission, shooting 52 percent from the floor.
Maten and the efficient Bulldogs proved difficult to stop. UGA assisted 22 of its 28 made field goals while shooting nearly 54 percent. Guard J.J. Frazier, a second-team All-SEC pick along with Maten a year ago, added 14 points. Eleven players scored for a Georgia club coming off three consecutive 20-win seasons. The Bulldogs also posted a 41-23 rebounding advantage, paced by Juwan Parker's nine.
Freshman Christian Keeling returned to the starting lineup for CSU and notched 13 of his team-high 19 points in the second half. Cortez Mitchel sparked the Bucs' offense in the opening half en route to 15 points. Antwan Maxwell gave CSU a boost off the bench with a career-high nine markers. Maxwell knocked down his first four shots of the afternoon.
CSU will wrap up its non-conference schedule Tuesday, concluding a challenging three-game road swing at Virginia Tech. Bucs' head coach Barclay Radebaugh is eager to see his team continue to make more strides with the Big South Conference opener against Winthrop approaching.
"We're a work in progress," Radebaugh said. "We're growing together. We've got an inexperienced young team. It's a great learning experience for us to play a team as good as Georgia. They're a very veteran team that knows how to play and Coach Fox has them very well prepared. We can only grow from this experience."
Radebaugh was encouraged to see CSU execute consistently offensively in the second stanza. A pair of jumpers by Maxwell and a driving bucket by Armel Potter sliced Georgia's lead to 48-36 with 18:22 remaining. Potter, Keeling and Mitchell were very aggressive as the Bucs' ball movement and motion picked up significantly after a cold start.
"I think we were playing well offensively," Radebaugh said. "We were getting some stops and then moving the ball well and hitting some shots. We're a very capable team. We have mental lapses at times. We have yet to put together a good, solid 40 minutes. That's often the symptom of a young, inexperienced team. We'll keep fighting to get there."
CSU hung around for much of the second half, with a Raemond Robinson three-pointer closing the gap to 70-55 with 7:26 left. Georgia countered with a 12-2 run to make the final minutes comfortable. Mike Edwards' tip-in capped the stretch that saw four different Bulldogs score.
Maten was a force early, recording three three-point plays to help UGA set the tone. Georgia led 14-2 following a Williams Jackson II triple, and padded the cushion to 23-7 by the 10:12 mark on a pair of Frazier free throws. The Bucs settled in after a rough opening stretch, with a Mitchell trey and a Maxwell steal and coast-to-coast layup putting the deficit at just 12 with 6:31 left until halftime. Four triples by Georgia over the next four-plus minutes then pushed the edge to 20, with Kenny Paul Geno's bomb accounting for the biggest cushion of the opening half.
Next up for CSU is a trip to Virginia Tech. The Hokies are 9-1 and receiving votes in the Top-25. Tipoff at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va., is slated for 9 p.m. and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.