Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SEC Notebook; Georgia's Maten on a Tear

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

SEC Notebook; Georgia's Maten on a Tear

Article excerpt

Byline: Phillip Heilman

As Southeastern Conference play begins with three games Saturday, an early candidate for the league's player of the year is Georgia senior Yante Maten.

Georgia Tech can vouch for that.

Maten, a bruising 6-foot-8 forward who is capable of knocking down shots from behind the arc, scored 24 points to lead an 80-59 victory over the Yellow Jackets on Dec. 19, part of his recent stretch of dominant play.

Maten has scored at least 20 points in each of his past four games and is averaging 20.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Alabama point guard Collin Sexton (20.5) is the only other SEC player currently averaging more than 20 points per game.

"We have a terrific player in Yante Maten, and he doesn't have to shoot every time," Georgia coach Mark Fox said after the win against Georgia Tech. "We now have guys who are playing off Yante and getting their own shot because Yante draws so much attention."

Georgia's 21-point victory against Georgia Tech was its largest in the series since a 91-66 win during the 1964-65 season. The Bulldogs have won three straight over the Yellow Jackets for the first time since 1999-2001.

Behind Maten, UGA appears to be capable of bringing that success into SEC play. Maten is shooting 51.8 percent from the field this season, including 40.7 percent from behind the arc. He's also averaging 1.8 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

"It means a lot," Maten said of the win over Georgia Tech, "because that's our rival."


Alabama was bolstered by the return of sophomore forward Braxton Key during an 80-79 victory over Mercer on Dec. 19.

Key, who led the Crimson Tide in scoring at 12 points per game last season, missed the first 10 games while recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee.

Alabama could use him, too.

While Sexton continues to look like a future NBA lottery pick, the Crimson Tide would benefit from more playmakers around him and better energy overall.

Alabama has lost four of seven after a 5-0 start and looked particularly sluggish while losing 66-50 to Texas a week ago. …

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