Georgia basketball to get an early start to season

Georgia basketball player P.J. Horne (24) scored a career-high 21 points against Mississippi State Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens. (Tony Walsh/UGA)
Caption
Georgia basketball player P.J. Horne (24) scored a career-high 21 points against Mississippi State Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020, at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens. (Tony Walsh/UGA)

Credit: Tony Walsh

Credit: Tony Walsh

ATHENS – Turns out the Georgia men’s basketball season is getting underway much sooner than expected.

Charlotte announced Tuesday that the two teams will play an exhibition game in just 12 days at the 49ers’ Halton Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Oct. 24.

The Bulldogs actually played there a couple of years ago when freshman Anthony Edwards was a member of the team. Georgia confirmed the contest shortly after Charlotte released the news on its social-media channels and website.

The NCAA granted a waiver for Charlotte to be able to advertise and sell tickets to the exhibition since it will benefit a charity. Proceeds will go to the Jamil Niner Student Pantry on Charlotte’s campus. Tickets are $15 each and all seating is general admission.

“We’re extremely excited about the opportunity to play this exhibition,” coach Tom Crean said in a statement released by the school. “Playing a quality opponent in a true road environment is an invaluable opportunity for our basketball team as we prepare for the regular season. The ability to accomplish that, combined with doing so while benefitting such a worthy cause, makes this a great event on many levels, and we appreciate the NCAA granting us the waiver to play this game.”

The Jamil Niner Student Pantry provides food assistance to UNC Charlotte undergraduate and graduate students who struggle with food insecurity.

The Bulldogs topped the Niners 77-69 on Oct. 25, 2019. Tyree Crump scored a game-high 19 points, and Edwards added 15 points, five rebounds and three assists to lead Georgia in that game.

This is the third time in Crean’s four seasons in Athens that the Bulldogs have played a road exhibition. Georgia defeated UAB 56-54 before the 2018 season got started.

The Bulldogs already had another exhibition game scheduled. They’ll play host to Morehouse on Nov. 5 at Stegeman Coliseum.

The 2021-22 Bulldogs need all the experience they can possibly get this season. Senior P.J. Horne is the only returning starter from a team that had nine players exit via the NCAA transfer portal. Georgia was 14-12 last season and 7-11 in SEC play.

Georgia added seven transfers and three freshman signees for a total of 10 newcomers on this season’s squad. But the Bulldogs point out that their seven transfers have combined to score 4,782 points at their previous schools, the largest addition of career scoring for any Division I team.

The Bulldogs officially will begin their fourth season under Crean against Florida International on Nov. 9, at Stegeman Coliseum. That contest is the first of 19 home games for Georgia during the 2021-22 season.

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