Bulldog basketball in the Bahamas: men lose, women play today

The Georgia Bulldogs basketball teams play in the Bahamas: the men were beaten 71-64 by Providence Sunday, while the Lady Dogs tip at 11 o’clock this morning against Columbia.

From Armando Yanez, UGA Sports Communications...

The Georgia men’s basketball team wrapped up competition at the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championships as it fell 71-64 against Providence at the Baha Mar Convention Center on Sunday.

Noah Thomasson led the Bulldogs (2-3) in scoring with 19 points, posting 14 in the first half paired with five rebounds on the day. RJ Melendez followed up on the scoring list with 15 points and five rebounds powered by nine second half points and three steals. Jalen DeLoach provided a solid effort off the bench as he led the team in rebounds with six boards while logging six points.

The Bulldogs established an early back-and-forth battle as both teams exchanged leads five times heading into the first media timeout. Trailing 30-25 with 3:15 remaining in the first half, Georgia responded with a 9-2 run to lead 34-32 heading into the locker room. A close game with under 10 minutes left in the second half, Georgia hit five quick points to level the score at 50-50 before Providence strung together a series of short runs to lead by five with 2:23 left in the game. Despite a late 6-2 run to cut the deficit to 65-64 with under a minute left to play, the Bulldogs’ comeback bid fell short as they fell 71-64.

The Bulldogs will return to Athens as their next game will see them face off against Winthrop on Friday, Nov. 24 at Stegeman Coliseum with tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.

Five Fast Facts

• Noah Thomasson reached double figures in scoring and tallied five rebounds for the third time this season.

• RJ Melendez marked his third career 15+ point performance after finishing with 15 points on the day.

• RJ Melendez recorded a season-high three steals on the day, matching his career high set against Maryland last season.

• Jabri-Abdur Rahim made three 3-pointers in a game for third time this season (vs Oregon, vs Wake Forest, vs Providence).

• Three players recorded 5+ rebounds for the fifth-consecutive game this season: DeLoach (6), Thomasson (5), Melendez (5).

Key Quote

Head Coach Mike White: “I liked our competitiveness here against two really good teams. Again, I thought Providence was terrific today being shorthanded with their resilience and toughness level. We did a lot of good things today. We’ve got to do a better job obviously with our offensive connection and role definition, and that starts with me. We’ve got to figure some things out, but we’re good at times and at times we look disconnected offensively.”

Keep up with all the latest news and information on the Bulldogs by following UGA Men’s Basketball on social media on Facebook, Instagram and X @UGABasketball, and the web at GeorgiaDogs.com.

From Tray Littlefield, UGA Sports Communications...

Georgia faces Columbia in the first game of the 2023 Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championship this Monday at 11 a.m. ET. The game will be televised on FloHoops.com.

» Columbia won the 2023 Ivy League Championship after boasting an impressive 28-6 record last season. Monday’s matchup will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

» Georgia’s first five opponents averaged 20.4 wins during last year’s campaign. Three of the five opponents won 20 or more games last season.

» The Lady Bulldogs have switched up the starting five in the last two games, with Destiny Thomas and Stefanie Ingram earning their first starts in a Georgia uniform. Javyn Nicholson and Zoesha Smith have been productive coming off the bench for Georgia.

» Georgia has had at least three players score in double figures in every game this season. De’Mauri Flournoy and Nicholson have been included in all four contributions.

» The Lady Bulldogs were the only SEC squad to not have a single player enter the transfer portal this past offseason.

» Georgia is in its second season under the leadership of Coach ABE. ABE’s successful first year included a NCAA tournament appearance, 22 wins, and a fifth-place finish in the final SEC standings.

»  With a 397-170 overall mark,  Coach ABE is just three wins shy of 400. Her teams have won 20 or more games in 11-straight seasons, while her 12 NCAA tournament appearances rank third among active SEC coaches, only behind Kim Mulkey (LSU) and Dawn Staley (South Carolina).

»  All-SEC candidate Javyn Nicholson returns to lead the Lady Bulldogs. Nicholson doubled her points per game and upped her rebound average by three in her first year playing for Coach ABE.

»  Joining six returning letterwinners and nine overall returning players is a quartet of newcomers. Transfers Asia Avinger and Taniyah Thompson were each All-Conference performers at previous schools, while Destiny Thomas led UCF with a double-double of 10.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game last year. Miyah Verse is Georgia’s lone true freshman this season.

» Georgia is in search of its 37th NCAA tournament appearance this season. The Lady Bulldogs’ 36 trips are tied for the second most among all programs.

» Georgia is one of three programs nationwide, joining Wisconsin Green Bay and Tennessee, to never have a losing record in a season.

Season Notebook

Four Top-100 the Most Since 2017

Georgia has already signed four top-100 players in the 2024 class. Indya and Summer Davis — twin sisters from Farmington Hills, Michigan — along with Mia Woolfolk (Midlothian, Virginia) and Trinity Turner (Orlando, Fla.) signed with the Lady Bulldogs earlier this week. All four players are four star prospects and ranked in the top-100 nationally, marking the first time since 2017 the program has signed four top-100 players.

At a Glance: What’s Back for the Bulldogs

Georgia was one of a handful of teams to not have a single player enter the transfer portal this offseason. Six letterwinners off last year’s team, as well as redshirt-freshmen Savannah Henderson, Stefanie Ingram and Fatima Diakhate, return to go along with three transfers (Asia Avinger, Taniyah Thompson and Destiny Thomas) and a freshman (Miyah Verse).

Nicholson Steps Up

Fifth-year senior forward Javyn Nicholson had a breakout season in her first year playing for Coach ABE. The Lawrenceville, Ga., native more than doubled per points per game average (from 4.5 to 9.5) and increased her rebounds by three (from 4.0 to 7.0) compared to her previous three college seasons. Nicholson is Georgia’s leading returning rebounder and scorer.

Familiar Face, New Name

Jordan Cole returned for her fifth year in the red and black. Formerly Jordan Isaacs, she changed her legal last name to Cole after her stepfather, Brian Cole, adopted her on Oct. 4, 2023.

“I’ve created an identity behind the last name Isaacs, who I am on the court and off the court and just me as a person. It’s very safe and familiar,” said Jordan, who started 25 games last season. “I hate to see it go, because it is a part of me, who I became and who I’m going to become, but I definitely think this is the next big step in my life. It’s going to open new doors for me, it’s going to help me put myself out there. Me and the coaching staff ... we made a joke that this is just a new version of me, like a new player, new person. There’s nothing wrong with Jordan Isaacs, but there’s always room for growth.”

Smith and Chapman Bring Experience

Senior forward Zoesha Smith and fifth-year guard Chloe Chapman also bring experience to the Lady Bulldogs’ roster this year. Smith set new career highs in four of her first five games last year, including a career-best 21-point effort against Georgia Tech. Chapman is an experienced point guard who drew 27 starts in 33 games a year ago.

Talented Transfers Boost Roster

Georgia welcomes a trio of transfers to this year’s roster in Asia Avinger (San Diego State), Taniyah Thompson (Penn State) and Destiny Thomas (UCF). Avinger was an All-Mountain West Team selection as one of just three players nationwide to average over 11 points, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game while shooting at least 45 percent from the field. Thompson was a first-team All-American Athletic Conference performer at East Carolina, before transferring to Penn State. She finished second in The American in scoring with 18.5 ppg during the 2021-22 season. Thomas averaged a double-double and led UCF in both scoring and rebounding last year. She averaged an impressive 11 boards per contest, including a school-record 24-rebound effort, to lead the Knights.

Thomas Sets Rebounding Marks

Destiny Thomas led the Knights in points, rebounds, blocks, and steals a season ago. She brought down double-digit rebounds in 18 games and 15 or more boards seven times. Thomas tied the UCF record with 24 rebounds in a game against Seton Hall, as she finished second nationally with 5.0 offensive rebounds per contest. In 36 career starts, Thomas has recorded double-digit rebound totals 13 times – a near 40 percent average.

Avinger Does It All

Asia Avinger, who transferred from San Diego State, was one of just three players nationally to average 11.0 points, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals while shooting at least 45 percent from the field. Avinger went to SDSU as the No. 16-ranked point guard in the class of 2020, earning her the honor of Preseason Mountain West Freshman of the Year. She led all conference freshmen in both scoring and assists with 12.9 points and 3.0 dimes per game, earning her a spot on the All-Freshman Team, before she put together an impressive sophomore campaign.

First Verse

Georgia welcomes one true freshman this year in Arizona product Miyah Verse. A member of ESPN’s Super 60 as one of the top 60 prospects nationally, Verse prepped at national powerhouse Arizona Elite Prep and Mountain Ridge High in Peoria, Ariz.

Verse was also a track star in high school, earning the state title in the discus throw. Her brother Jared is a defensive lineman on the Florida State football team.

Stealing the Show

Georgia led the SEC in steals last season with 10.5 per game. It marked the 10th time in the last 13 years that Coach ABE’s teams have led their respective conference in steals. It was also the first occasion since the 2005-06 season – a span of 17 years – that Georgia led the SEC in steals.

Before taking the head coaching job at Georgia, Coach ABE’s UCF squad led the nation in scoring defense for two straight years from 2020-22.

Not Just Defense, Georgia Can Score

While the defense garners a good bit of attention at Georgia, the Lady Bulldogs also saw success offensively last season. In the game at Vanderbilt, Georgia shot 67 percent from the field – the program’s best offensive output since 1998 and the second-best shooting percentage against an SEC team in school history. The Lady Bulldogs scored 80 or more points in five games last year – the second most for Georgia over the last five years.

A Tradition of Success

Georgia entered the 2023-24 season one of just three programs nationwide, joining Tennessee and Wisconsin-Green Bay, to have a winning season every year since 1981. The Lady Bulldogs have made appearances in 36 of 41 NCAA tournaments (second-most all time) with 20 Sweet 16s and 11 Elite Eights.

Create What You Can’t Have

Georgia guard Chloe Chapman is the founder and CEO of Create What You Can’t Have (CWUCH) -- a successful fashion merchandising company.

“CWUCH was created to represent originality. This is for people who aspire to be unique and have their own style. High quality clothing for streetwear lovers.” -- Chloe Chapman

All in the Family

Miyah Verse’s brother, Jared Verse, is a junior defensive lineman on the Florida State football team. The highly recruited prospect was a first-team All-American selection by The Athletic during the 2022 football season. Verse leads FSU with 4.5 sacks this year.

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant hosts Classic City Today, 6-10 weekday mornings on 98.7FM & AM 1340 WGAU in Athens.

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