ATHENS, Ga. — Juwan Parker’s teammates do not call him Dr. J yet, but the graduate student set new a career high Wednesday night in Georgia’s 71-60 Southeastern Conference win over Ole Miss.
Parker scored a career-high 18 points and equaled his career-best 11 rebounds, coming off the bench. Parker got extra minutes because freshman starter Rayshaun Hammonds fouled out in just eight minutes.
Parker is a fifth-year senior who already has a master’s degree in sports management and is enrolled in another master’s program in real estate and finance. The double-double was the first of his career.
“It is exciting,” Parker said with a broad smile. “I’m happy.”
“He probably has every (degree) you can get in college by now,” said senior Yante Maten, who scored 15 points for Georgia (10-3, 1-1). “Juwan has always been a good rebounder.”
Derek Ogbeide added 14 for Georgia, and sub Jordan Harris chipped in a season-high 12 points.
Parker was 4-for-4 from the 3-point line, twice as many as he had ever made in a game.
“I was not surprised by his shooting at all,” said Coach Mark Fox. “In practice he shoots just like he did tonight. He just needed to see a couple go in to relax.”
Ole Miss (8-6, 1-1) had averaged 10 3-pointers per game over the last five games. Only reserve Breein Tyree shot well, hitting three of four 3s in tallying a game-high 17 points. Devontae Shulere scored 11 points.
The Rebels hit just six of 26 from long range.
“We were pleased with our 3-point defense for the most part,” Fox said.
Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy said his team took the wrong approach.
“We were not getting any ball movement,” he said. “When you go 6 for 26 on 3s, you can’t win doing that.”
Ole Miss struggled in the first half from beyond the arc, hitting four of 13 long-range attempts as Georgia pushed to a 39-31 halftime margin.
The Bulldogs outscored the Rebels 18-10 in the paint in the first half. During a 13-3 run midway in the half, Georgia got consecutive back-door dunks by Maten and Ogbeide and a putback by Maten, giving the Bulldogs a 17-11 lead.
Ole Miss responded with a 9-0 run, mostly scoring inside to tie it at 26 with 3:45 to go after a driving layup by Tyree.
But Georgia closed out the half with a 10-3 advantage. Maten scored the last seven points on a dunk, two free throws, and layup and free throw. He had 14 points at intermission. Harris scored 10 of his 12 in the first half.
The Rebels’ long-range shooting did not improve in the second half as they missed their first 11 from beyond the arc as Georgia built a double-digit lead. Emblematic of their frustration was a desperate 3-point heave by Georgia’s Parker as the shot clock was winding down. He missed, but was fouled and made all three free throws to put the Bulldogs up 51-40 with 13:26 to go.
Parker hit back-to-back 3s to boost Georgia to a 62-48 lead with 5:50 to go. His 3s ended an 0-for-7 drought by the Bulldogs.
Treen tried to rally Ole Miss single-handedly, hitting two 3s and a driving layup, cutting the margin to 68-60 with 1:39 to play. But after he missed another layup off a Georgia turnover, Parker hit another long-range bomb to ice the game.
Georgia’s success defending the 3-point shot was critical. Aside from Breein Tyree, the rest of the team was 3 for 22 from beyond the arc.
DID SOMEONE MENTION ALABAMA?
Coach Mark Fox preached to the choir, urging Georgia fans to come out in force to fill Mercedes Benz Stadium Monday night in the college football championship. “If we are going to beat Alabama, we need the Bulldog nation to help us,” he said. “I’ve gotten naked and painted myself red to support this team. We will need the Bulldog nation to beat them in basketball Saturday.”
Fox has painted his body and worn the spiked shoulder pads at Georgia games in a show of support for the football team.
HOME SWEET HOME
Georgia remains unbeaten at home with a 7-0 record in Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia: In a bit of ironic scheduling, Georgia hosts Alabama Saturday afternoon. Of course, their football teams play for the NCAA Championship Monday night.
Mississippi: Ole Miss hosts rival Mississippi State Saturday.