By Adam Brown
Ole Miss men’s basketball hits the road to travel to Athens, Ga. to take on the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday. Tipoff is set for noon and can be seen on SEC Network.
Ole Miss (12-14, 3-10 SEC) looks to bounce back from a hard fought overtime 77-74 loss to South Carolina on Tuesday when the Gamecocks’ James Reese V hit a half court buzzer beater to win the game. Ole Miss’ Jarkel Joiner, Matthew Murrell and Nysier Brooks combined for 54 points after scoring 18 apiece.
This weekend marks the return to Athens for Ole Miss senior Tye Fagan, who spent his previous three seasons at Georgia. During his time with the Bulldogs, Fagan played in 89 games and scored 450 points while shooting 56.4 percent overall. Last season, Fagan started 25 of 26 games played for the Bulldogs, averaging 9.2 points, 4.3 rebounds with a team-high 58.7 field goal percentage. Fagan was the first SEC Player of the Week for the 2020-21 season following a then-career day of 21 points and 10 rebounds against Florida A&M, his first career double-double.
Georgia enters Saturday 6-20 overall and 1-12 in SEC play with the NCAA’s 32nd-best strength of schedule this season, and is currently on a six-game losing streak since beating Alabama, 82-76, on Jan. 25. The Bulldogs notched a ranked win over No. 18 Memphis on Dec. 1 (82-79) three days before Ole Miss would do the same in Oxford, and they nearly toppled No. 1 Auburn on Feb. 5, losing narrowly 74-72 in Athens.
The Bulldogs are the best free-throw-shooting team in the SEC, leading in overall percentage (74.7) and in SEC play (78.8), while making the NCAA’s sixth-most free throws at 416 (No. 2 SEC) on the 10th-most attempts at 557 (No. 2 SEC).
Georgia is led by Kario Oquendo at 14.4 points per game overall (No. 9 SEC) and 17.6 in conference play (No. 4 SEC). Graduate transfer Aaron Cook leads the team in assists at 5.7 per game, the second-most in the SEC and 18th-most in the NCAA this year.
Saturday marks the 122nd all-time meeting between the Rebels and Bulldogs, with Georgia leading 77-44 in the series that began with an Ole Miss victory in Athens on Feb. 13, 1928 (44-37). That would be one of just 14 Rebel victories at Georgia over the next 94 years, as the Bulldogs enjoy a 42-14 edge at home in the series.
Ole Miss has countered with a 28-24 series lead in Oxford, but Georgia holds the upper hand both in neutral sites (10-3) and in the postseason (8-2). The Rebels lead 4-2 in overtime contests against Georgia, with the last OT game in the series coming at the 2008 SEC Tournament (L, 97-95). In recent history, three-game winning streaks have been the name of the game. Georgia won three in a row from 2016-18 before a Rebel streak from 2019-20, but the Bulldogs have again won three in a row against Ole Miss in games across 2020-21.