The Georgia Bulldogs (3-4) have three glorified tune-ups remaining on their schedule – Lipscomb, Gardner-Webb and Western Carolina – before they enter the meat of the 2013-2014 season.
Before the start of SEC play, the Dawgs must play two very difficult out-of-conference opponents on the road. On December 28th, UGA visits #21 Colorado to take on a 9-1 Buffs team that took down #6 Kansas just last week.
Georgia’s first game of 2014 will come against another 9-1 team – George Washington – that has wins over Miami, Maryland, Rutgers and #20 Creighton.
UGA’s initial SEC slate has them away from Athens for two of the first three games, with match-ups at #24 Missouri and #19 Florida (and a home game against Alabama sandwiched in between).
Coach Mark Fox’s team should reach .500 tomorrow in Stegeman when they take on a 4-5 Lipscomb team that was projected to finish near the bottom of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Georgia should eclipse the .500 mark by beating both Gardner-Webb (“The other Bulldogs”) and Western Carolina later this month.
The question, however, is how long UGA can remain above .500 once late December/early January rolls around.
The Georgia Bulldogs continued their stampede through the Southern Conference, dismantling the UT-Chattanoonga Mocs in Athens on Monday night 87-56, marking the beginnings of UGA’s first win streak of the 2013-2014 season.
While tonight’s win does improve the Dawgs to 3-1 against the SoCon and 3-4 overall (yes, Georgia has yet to beat a team from outside the SoCon), anyone who watched this game could clearly see that Chattanooga did not offer up much resistance.
In the first half, the Mocs implemented a press that seemingly failed to cover anyone near the opposing basket, which Georgia attacked willingly. UTC cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 17-9 on an Eric Robertson three-pointer with 13:02 left before intermission, but this moment was as close as the Mocs would get to catching up.
Rather, UGA exploited the porous UTC press and scored on a flurry of wide-open dunks and lay-ups. After nearly 10 minutes of play, Georgia had reeled off a 25-8 run, taking a commanding 42-17 lead following a J.J. Frazier lay-in with 3:27 remaining in the half.
For the remaining 20-plus minutes, Coach Mark Fox played a slew of various lineups as his Bulldogs cruised to an 87-56 home victory.
Georgia had three players finish in double figures with Neme Djurisic, Juwan Parker and Kenny Gaines scoring 14, 11 and 10 points, respectively. UGA had a total of 13 players record points on the night, giving a lot of guys the opportunity to get some regular season minutes.
Offensively, Georgia shot over 50% from the floor en route to scoring a season-high 87 points as a team.
Coach Mark Fox got another solid defensive effort out of his team, limiting the Mocs to just 56 points on under 30% shooting from the field – though, one cannot help but wonder if the Dawgs improved defensive play over the past two games is a credit to this team’s effort or just a case of facing offensively-challenged opponents.
The Georgia Bulldogs used 13 second-half points by Charles Mann to pull away and topple the Appalachian State Mountaineers, snapping a four-game losing streak and pushing their record on the season to 2-4.
More importantly, though, the Dawgs are now 2-1 against the Southern Conference already this year. With games remaining against Chattanooga and Western Carolina, Coach Mark Fox has a legitimate opportunity to prove that his team could finish in the upper echelon of this season’s SoCon.
In regards to yesterday’s contest, Georgia looked fairly mediocre for the game’s first 20 minutes, allowing a 1-4 App State team to knock down 4 three-pointers before intermission – UGA took a narrow 33-32 advantage into the break.
The teams exchanged the lead a couple of times during the first minute out of the half, but then the Dawgs went on a 12-1 run that extended the UGA lead to 47-37 following a Neme Djurisic lay-up with 12:32 left.
The Mountaineers were never able to cut the lead by less than 8 points during the remainder of the game, and Georgia cruised to a 71-53 win.
Friday’s game was by far Georgia’s best defensive effort since the season-opener (against Wofford), limiting the Mountaineers to just 53 points on less than 33% shooting from the floor. After yielding the 4 three-pointers to App State in the first half, the Dawgs tightened up around the perimeter for the final 20 minutes and they did not permit another basket from beyond the arc.
UGA entered this game with the 255th worst defense in the country – allowing opponents more than 76 points per game – so Friday’s performance on the defensive side of the ball was much-needed for Coach Mark Fox’s team.
Georgia was led offensively by Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines, who scored 14 points apiece in this one. As mentioned, 13 of Mann’s 14 points came after the break, with the sophomore failing to notch a field goal until nearly 4 minutes had eclipsed in the game’s second half.
Mann did the majority of his damage on Friday from the free throw line, where he connected on 8 of his 10 attempts. Unfortunately his teammates were not as proficient from the line, making only 6 of their 13 shots from the charity stripe. As a team, UGA shot just under 61% on free throws, which is somewhat disappointing since Fox mentioned before the game that the coaching staff had really emphasized that segment of the game this week in practice.
In addition to Mann and Gaines’s scoring, Neme also chipped in 10 points, marking the fifth time this season that Georgia has had three or more players finish in double-figures.
Charles Mann continues to be a bright spot for the Dawgs – averaging 16.3 ppg on the year – and he has scored in double-digits in each of UGA’s first six contests. In addition, Mann is shooting nearly 8 free throws per game, which is the result of his ability to drive the ball to the rim on a consistent basis.
CMF may have the best point guard in the SEC on his team.
The Georgia Bulldogs failed to collect a win during this year’s Charleston Classic, losing 73-65 to Nebraska in the ultimate consolation game this afternoon, marking their fourth consecutive loss of the young season.
The Dawgs entered the game with the worst team defense in the SEC, yielding over 77 points per game to opponents in four contests this year. However, Coach Mark Fox’s team was not undone by its defense today; UGA’s shortcomings against the Cornhuskers came at the free throw line, where Georgia connected on just 16 of 30 attempts.
After trading leads for much of the second half, Nebraska coach Tim Miles shifted his team into a 2-3 zone in an attempt to better defend Georgia’s Charles Mann. This zone frustrated the Dawgs offensively, and Georgia managed to make just 5 field goals in the final 10 minutes of the game.
The Dawgs closed the Nebraska lead to 63-59 on a Nemanja Djurisic three-pointer with 3:27 remaining, but the Huskers responded with a 10-2 run that saw the lead balloon to 73-63 with only 18 ticks left on the clock.
Georgia was led offensively by Charles Man, who finished the game with 16 points to go along with 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Even though we are only 5 games into the season, Mann already looks extremely polished with the ball in his hands and I anticipate that he will go on to have a pretty big year.
Coach Fox also got scoring from forwards Brandon Morris and Marcus Thornton, who ended up with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Thornton looks like a completely new player so far, finishing near the basket on a fairly consistent basis.
Nebraska had four players score in double-figures with Terran Petteway leading the way with 15 points.
While Georgia did hold a team under 80 points for the first time in five games, much of that was due to the fact that Nebraska coach Tim Miles went into a zone, slowing down the tempo of the game.
At this point in time, UGA is not a very strong defensive team. Opponents routinely find cutters around the basket, and Coach Fox’s team struggles to close out around the perimeter, where team’s are making almost 36% of their shots from beyond the arc.
Georgia is scoring almost 16 points more per game through the first five games of this year compared to last season’s first five contests.
Coach Fox’s team does not seem to be missing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s offense.
They could use KCP’s defense, though.
I am going to assume that the final play of the game was not run exactly how Coach Mark Fox drew it up in the huddle during the last Bulldog timeout.
I cannot fathom a scenario in which Fox instructed senior Donte Williams to launch a deep three-pointer in the game’s waning seconds with Georgia trailing 83-81. However, that is exactly what transpired on the court in Charleston, and UGA fell to another team – Temple – fresh off of a three-game losing streak (two of which were to Kent and Towson).
Even if the final Bulldogs’ possession was not executed properly, one has to question why Coach Fox would select Donte Williams – a player who had never attempted a shot from beyond the arc in his four-year career – to be the recipient of an in-bounds pass with only 3.5 seconds remaining in the game. To me it would appear much more logical to have the ball in the hands of one of your team’s guards or three-point shooters, especially with the severe lack of time on the clock.
Regardless, Williams’ shot blasted off the glass and UGA just missed pulling off a nice come from behind win.
Georgia reclaimed lead in this game for the first time since the 10:32 mark in the first half on a driving lay-up by Charles Mann, putting the Dawgs up 81-80. But Temple junior Will Cummings, who finished the game with 17 points, answered immediately, nailing a three that turned out to be the game-winner.
The Bulldogs showed a lot of heart to even be in a position to win this game following an extremely lackadaisical first half. After surrendering 92 points to Davidson on Thursday, UGA looked ready to let Temple bust the 90-point barrier again this evening. Coach Mark Fox’s team lacked intensity in the game’s first 20 minutes, and the Owls tallied 45 points before the break.
Fortunately, the Bulldog defense tightened up after intermission, limiting Temple to just under 23% from the floor for the remaining 20 minutes.
Georgia was led offensively by Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann, who scored 21 and 19 points, respectively.
The Dawgs also enjoyed the return of sophomore Brandon Morris, who settled in and scored all 8 of his points in the game’s second half (all of which came via slashes to the basket). Morris replaced Cameron Forte after the break – it was unclear whether Forte was injured or just being punished by Fox for his poor first half defense.
Tonight’s loss means that UGA will play Nebraska Sunday afternoon in a game in which both teams will be attempting to avoid finishing dead-last in the Charleston Classic.
While the Dawgs do appear to be equipped to score some points this season, they haven’t looked as if they can stop anyone on defense – Georgia has allowed more than 80 points in each of its last three games.
The Davidson Wildcats will be looking to avoid their first 0-4 start since the 2009-2010 season on Thursday night in Charleston, South Carolina, where they will be taking on the Georgia Bulldogs – a team also trying to rebound from a recent loss to in-state rival Georgia Tech.
Davidson has been the flagship program of the Southern Conference for several years now, playing the role of “Cinderella” in numerous NCAA Tournaments. However, the Wildcats lost their top two scorers from last year’s team, a bunch that almost knocked off Marquette in the second-round of the Big Dance.
While this season’s Davidson team may not have quite the firepower of some of the 25-win teams of recent past, the Wildcats were still projected to finish second in the SoCon this year and they should no doubt provide a formidable challenge to Coach Mark Fox’s team.
If the Dawgs hope to remain competitive in Thursday night’s game, they will have to find way to contain preseason SoCon Player of the Year De’Mon Brooks, who is averaging 17 points and nearly 7 rebounds per game thus far. The senior forward shoots a very high percentage from both the floor and the free throw line, so Georgia’s bigs must keep tabs on him at all times.
Offensively, Coach Mark Fox needs to see production out of someone other than just sophomore point guard Charles Mann, who recorded a career-high 24 points in the loss to Georgia Tech. While Mann had a nice game, UGA will struggle to find much success this season if the scoring remains so unbalanced.
Any coach, player or fan knows that the most critical parts of a college basketball game are the last four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half. A team can either build or lose momentum heading into the break, and they can either set or lose the tone coming out of intermission.
On Friday night in Athens, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets dominated this 8-minute section of the game, resulting in their second straight win in the Classic City (something that hadn’t been done since the 1960-1961 seasons).
After playing slightly behind for the majority of the first half, Kenny Gaines actually gave UGA a 31-30 lead following a pair of made free throws. Juwan Parker scored on the ensuing possession, and Georgia held a 33-30 advantage with 4:11 remaining before the break.
Tech, however, used 5 points from point guard Trae Golden and two Georgia turnovers to go on a 13-5 run to close out the half, with the Yellow Jackets leading 43-38 after 20 minutes of play.
They Yellow Jackets opened up the second half with a 12-2 run, and after another Golden three-pointer Tech found itself holding a commanding 55-40 advantage with 16:46 left in the game.
The Dawgs were never able to cut much into this lead, and Tech cruised out of Athens with a 80-71 victory, their third of the season.
Georgia Tech was lead offensively by Trae Golden, who finished the game with a team-high 18 points.
As a team, UGA played fairly well defensively, limiting the Jackets to under 39% from the floor. Tech did get several easy baskets along the baseline due to some slow rotations by the Georgia bigs, but other than that Coach Fox had to be pleased with the defensive effort.
Offensively, Georgia looks too much like a one-man show. Sophomore Charles Mann shouldered the scoring load for the Dawgs, putting up a career-high 24 points (including a scorching 4 for 4 performance from beyond the arc). Unfortunately though, Mann also led UGA with 7 turnovers – however, some of those can be attributed to a lack of help around him (at times it looked as if Mann was just trying too hard to create offense).
After two scrimmages against UNC-Pembroke and Wofford, Georgia got its first taste of real Division I competition and Charles Mann appeared to be the only player ready to make something happen with the ball in his hands.
UGA’s lack of an inside presence (once again) allowed the Jackets to extend their defense to the perimeter, placing added pressure on Mann and fellow sophomore Kenny Gaines, who ended up with 13 points, but it was at the expense of a 3 for 10 shooting performance.
Coach Fox will need an inside player to step up and take some of the pressure off Mann and Gaines if this team hopes to find much success this season.