Maten, Parker help Georgia knock off Vanderbilt
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Yante Maten scored 21 points, Juwan Parker added 17 points and Georgia beat struggling Vanderbilt 76-68 on Tuesday night.
J.J. Frazier finished with 15 points, five assists and six rebounds for the Bulldogs (12-6, 4-2 Southeastern Conference), who have won three of four.
Vanderbilt, which trailed nearly the entire game, has lost four straight — its longest skid since January 2015 when it dropped seven in a row.
Matthew Fisher-Davis, Vanderbilt’s leading scorer this season, did not start for the first time this season and finished with nine points on 4-for-13 shooting. First-year coach Bryce Drew held him out until the 13:38 mark of the first half and until the 14:06 mark of the second half.
Luke Kornet scored 19 points and Riley LaChance had 13 for the Commodores (8-10, 2-4).
Vanderbilt struggled all night on 3-pointers, missing 10 of its first 11 beyond the arc and finishing 10 for 31. The Commodores were outscored by 18 points on free throws as Georgia took the ball to the rim all night and drew 34 fouls. Vanderbilt drew six.
Fisher-Davis’ benching might have stemmed from a home loss to Tennessee on Saturday, when he argued with an official about a charging call and was whistled for a technical. Drew put him on the bench for eight minutes against the Volunteers. He also was benched for the whole second half when the Commodores lost to Butler on Nov. 24.
Vanderbilt began the second with a turnover, an air-ball 3 and an air-ball runner on three of its four possessions, but Jeff Roberson hit consecutive 3s to pull within three. That was the closest the Commodores had been since the game’s first three minutes.
Their momentum didn’t last long. Georgia was back up by 10 with 4 minutes remaining. Vanderbilt cut the lead to five in the final 2 minutes before Maten hit a pair of free throws and Fisher-Davis committed a turnover with 1:25 to go.
Parker hit both free throws to make it a nine-point lead.
Vanderbilt: Fisher-Davis’ behavior is causing a distraction the team doesn’t need from its leading scorer. The junior guard ranks second in the SEC in 3s made, so his absence in the early parts of both halves hurt the Commodores beyond the arc.
Joe Toye started in Fisher-Davis’ spot and scored one point in 21 minutes.
Roberson, a junior forward, lost his cool when he coughed up the ball to E’Torrion Wilridge at the 7-minute mark of the first half. Roberson retaliated with a flagrant foul, and the Bulldogs soon took their first double-digit lead on 3s by Parker and Maten. Parker followed with a layup to make it 30-17.
Georgia: Maten has struggled with foul trouble this season, getting sent to the bench early in three games, but he stayed whistle-free until the 3:08 mark of the second half. Maten most recently fouled out late in regulation at Florida and the Bulldogs lost in overtime.
Maten will need to find a better balance of using his physicality. He had just four rebounds against Vanderbilt, most of them in the closing minutes. Maten will need to find a better balance. He began the game ranked fourth in the SEC with an 8.4 average.
Vanderbilt: Visit No. 19 Florida on Saturday.
Georgia: Visit Texas A&M on Saturday.