ATHENS, Ga. — After Yante Maten’s season-high 30 points and suffocating defense in the first half led Georgia to an 84-66 win over Temple Friday, Temple coach Fran Dunphy still considered the Owls’ defense on Maten passable.
Maten made 12-of-17 free throws and finished with 12 rebounds in Georgia’s 84-66 win over Temple on Friday.
“Maten did a great job on a number of plays,” said Dunphy afterward. “I still thought we controlled Maten really well.”
Maten moved into the top 10 in career scoring at Georgia with 1,472 points, passing D.A. Layne and Sundiata Gaines. He is one of only four Bulldogs to rank in the top 10 in both points and rebounds, along with Alec Kessler, Bob Lienhard and Terry Fair.
Georgia (9-2) is off to its best start since winning 12 of 14 to start the 2010-11 season.
Freshman Nicolas Claxton came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points and William Jackson II scored 10.
“Yante has more game than he showed,” said Fox. “He is in great physical shape, and he lets the game come to him.”
Inevitably, Maten’s jump hook sets up the rest of his game.
“He has a hook over both shoulders,” Fox said. “He has learned that in practice in the gym, hours and hours of repetition.”
“It is one of the building blocks of my game,” said Maten. He credited assistant coach Jonas Hayes with helping him.
Obi Enechionyia led Temple (7-4) with 27 points. Quinton Rose scored 13.
After Temple took an early 7-2 lead, the Owls went stone cold, missing 10 of their next 11 shots as Georgia went on a 17-2 run, grabbing a 19-9 lead with seven minutes to go in the half after a pair of Maten free throws.
A tip-in at the halftime horn by Claxton put Georgia up 42-23.
Claxton’s father, Charles Claxton, scored 1,274 points for the Bulldogs. Nicholas Claxton said he is learning the college game.
“The biggest challenge has been knowing where I have to be on defense and offense,” he said. “It has been mental. I don’t feel lost.”
Temple shot 31 percent from the field and 43 percent from the free-throw line in the first half, while the Bulldogs shot 52 percent and 83, respectively. Georgia had a 25-11 rebounding advantage at the half, while Maten had 15 points and seven rebounds.
Back-to-back jump hooks by Derek Ogbeide and Maten gave the Bulldogs a 46-23 in the opening minute of the second half. But the Bulldogs went nearly seven minutes without a field goal while Temple closed the gap to 54-40 as Enechionyia heated up from beyond the arc. He hit 7-of-9 3-pointers for the game.
Jackson ended the drought for Georgia with a 3-pointer, followed by a short jumper, stretching Georgia’s lead to 62-43 with 9:11 remaining.
Three Owls fouled out — Josh Brown, De’Vondre Perry and Ernest Aflakpui — as they pressured the Bulldogs. Georgia shot 39 free throws, hitting 28.
Georgia’s 9-2 non-conference resume should help the Bulldogs when the NCAA selects its tournament teams.
“We have put ourselves in a really good spot,” said Maten. “Our team has developed nicely. Everyone has bought into what we have to do to win. Everyone trusts each other on the team.”
Georgia Coach Mark Fox speculated that Temple was weary from final exams. “They tried to do what we did last week, which is come back after exams. We defended well, but I am not sure they were as sharp as they usually are.”
Looking forward to a big Christmas meal, Georgia point guard Turtle Jackson has a message for his grandmother: “I am looking forward to any and everything she cooks. I want it all.”
In the last 20 years, a Georgia player has scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a game six times. Maten accounts for three of those. Jumaine Jones, Trey Thompkins and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did it once each.