Florida’s game against rival Georgia Tuesday night is an important game for the Gators. A win puts the team closer to taking first place in the SEC and could help them move up in the AP Poll. Kevarrius Hayes has an important role against Georgia: stopping Yante Maten.
How Big of a Threat is Yante Maten?
Maten is averaging 19.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Even though the Bulldogs are not a strong offensive team, having a 6’8″ power forward averaging 19.6 points per game will be dangerous.
Georgia is a defensive team and Maten is one of its most valuable players. The Bulldogs will try to run Florida off the court and stop them in the paint.
Hayes is prepared for this and knows how intense Georgia’s defense is.
In the last two match ups against the Bulldogs, Maten shut Hayes down. In the first meeting of 2017, Hayes had two points and three rebounds. Maten had 15 points and four rebounds. In the second meeting, Hayes had five points and three rebounds, compared to Maten’s 19 points and five rebounds.
What The Gators Need to Do to Pull Out a Win
In order for the Gators to stop Georiga and Maten, they must get the rebounds, especially on defense. Maten has 78 offensive rebounds, which turn into easy second-chance points.
Help defense will be huge in this game as well. The Gators have to talk on the court and listen to each other so they can stop Maten from scoring.
Hayes said the team has confidence in each other because they’ve been able to connect.
Florida also has to be ready to spread the floor to clear out the paint. It will be Hayes job to distract Maten so his teammates can drive the paint. He will also have to step up and not allow Maten to shut him down.
Playing Maten at home isn’t a concern for Hayes. He said his team relies on each other since they don’t have the fans to count on.
Tip off is set for 7 p.m. and will air on the SEC Network.