Missouri freshman Jakeenan Gant is the reigning Mr. Georgia Basketball, so Saturday’s game was something of a homecoming.
He said Thursday that he wrangled tickets for roughly 20 family and friends for the Tigers’ 68-44 loss against Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum.
“It was a great learning experience, and I’m glad he got to come home and play in front of his family,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “I think he was a positive in the game other than the fact that he missed some shots he normally would make.”
Gant finished with eight points on two-of-six shooting with a rebound, an assist, a block and a steal in a career-high 27 minutes.
“I thought he played really well …,” Anderson said. “I think it’s neat he got to come and played a lot of minutes. The only thing he didn’t do was make baskets. I thought he was pretty good defensively and … may have gotten some hands on some balls.”
Gant said the only time he was nervous came when the Bulldogs’ fans chanted “Are you homesick?” when he was shooting free throws.
▪ Key play: Georgia sophomore J.J. Frazier drove the baseline near the 7-minute mark and tossed a floater over the rim. It should have been an air ball, but freshman Yante Maten caught the “rebound” and effectively turned the miss into an alley-oop for a dunk.
▪ Key stat: Pick from either Georgia’s 25-18 rebounding edge or Missouri’s woeful eight-of-31 performance from the field, a meager 25.8 percent.
▪ Key play: Missouri sophomore Johnathan Williams III won a scramble for a loose ball only to have Frazier pick his pocket as he drove through the lane, triggering a Georgia fast break that was capped by junior Cameron Forte’s jam off a 40-foot, one-handed bounce pass from Frazier for a 55-27 lead.
▪ Key stat: Missouri’s 44 points, 24-point margin of defeat and 28.6 field-goal percentage were the second-worst of the season behind only the 86-37 defeat at Kentucky.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @todpalmer.