(KSDK Sports) -- The Georgia Bulldogs return home to Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday night, as they are set to take on the Missouri Tigers in an SEC showdown.
Missouri had won three straight games prior to its most recent contest at Alabama on Saturday, which it dropped, 80-73, as it slid to just 3-5 on the road. The Tigers' season as a whole has been rather impressive, as they sit with a 19-8 record, but they have been up and down in the SEC with a 7-7 league ledger.
While Georgia's season hasn't been as successful as Missouri's overall (15-11), it has fared better in the SEC, as its 9-5 conference record puts it alone in third place behind only Florida and Kentucky. The Bulldogs are winners of five of their last six, including a 73-56 triumph at South Carolina on Saturday, and now they return home where they've gone an outstanding 12-2.
Missouri leads the all-time series with Georgia, 4-1, with the Bulldogs' only win coming earlier this season, 70-64 in overtime on Jan. 8 in Columbia.
The Tigers fell behind Alabama by seven at the half of their most recent game and could never overtake the lead in the second stanza, falling behind by as many as 12 down the stretch. Although they shot a solid 47.9 percent from the field, they could not keep pace with the red-hot Crimson Tide (.574), and they were also hindered by a game-high 16 turnovers. Earnest Ross knocked down 4- of-7 from 3-point range on his way to a team-high 25 points to go with eight rebounds. Jabari Brown made 10-of-12 at the free-throw line and finished with 23 points and five assists, while Jordan Clarkson added 14 points.
Missouri's offensive attack has been impressive this season, as it shoots 46.5 percent from the field (including 36.8 percent from 3-point range) for 74.9 ppg, and the defense has been good enough to support it, allowing 69.4 ppg on just 40.7 percent shooting. It also owns a strong +5.5 rebounding margin but gives up some of those extra possessions with a -1.8 turnover margin. Brown leads the way with 20.2 ppg and has knocked down 71 3-pointers at a lofty 44.4 percent efficiency. Clarkson is hot on Brown's heels with 18.6 ppg and has drained 82.9 percent of his free-throw tries. Ross (14.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg) rounds out one of the nation's best scoring trios.
After heading into intermission locked up with South Carolina, 34-34, Georgia surged ahead in the second half to capture the easy 17-point victory. They shot a solid 44.2 percent from the field on the afternoon but were catapulted to victory by an outstanding defensive effort, which held the Gamecocks to a meager 26.3 percent shooting. Kenny Gaines poured in a career-high 27 points while connecting on 5-of-9 from beyond the arc. Marcus Thornton and Brandon Morris netted 12 points apiece, with Thornton making his performance a double- double with 10 rebounds.
Georgia may not wow anyone with its season statistics but it is still able to successfully outpace its opponents, shooting 43.8 percent from the field for 69.0 ppg while allowing 67.1 ppg on just 39.7 percent shooting. The modest scoring attack is paced by Charles Mann, who scores 13.2 ppg but on less-than- stellar percentages from the field (.404) and the free-throw line (.679). Gaines' latest explosion allowed his scoring average to jump up to 12.7 ppg, while Nemanja Djurisic and Morris both bring 9.2 ppg to the mix.
While Missouri may have a more talented roster than Georgia, the Bulldogs have executed better in league play and have been excellent on their home floor, which should give it the advantage.