Archive for November 2011
The Georgia Bulldogs (4-3) fought and clawed all the way to the final horn before coming up short in their second straight loss, losing 70-68 to the Colorado Buffaloes.
In his post-game interview, Coach Mark Fox cited “critical errors” – like missing a block-out assignment or not covering an in-bounds play down the stretch – as some of the reasons his young Bulldog team lost to the Buffs on Monday night.
The Bulldogs took a 38-34 lead into the intermission, only to come out flat (once again) for the first four minutes of the second half. Colorado went on an 11-1 run after the break, holding the Dawgs without a field goal until nearly eight minutes had passed in the second half. Georgia played from behind for the remainder of the game, unable to cut into the Colorado lead (until it was too late).
After shooting nearly 50% from the floor in the first half, the Dawgs went ice-cold after the intermission, connecting on just 34.5% of their field goals.
Georgia was unable to slow down Colorado big Andre Roberson, who carried the Buffs with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Roberson’s biggest board came at a critical juncture in the game, with his team leading the Dawgs 63-56 and running out of shot clock time. He beat Marcus Thornton to the ball off of a miss, drawing a foul on Thornton in the process. After making one of two from the free throw line, Johnson’s team was now up 64-56 with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Thornton had another tough night offensively, going 0 for 5 from the floor en route to zero points. He did bring down 5 rebounds, but also managed to commit 2 turnovers.
Coach Mark Fox did get some nice production off the bench from a couple of his frontcourt reserves. Sophomore center John Florveus had his best night as a Bulldog yet, hauling down 7 rebounds and chipping in 4 points in 22 minutes of play. Freshman Nemanja Djurisic scored 6 points and grabbed 6 boards in only 14 minutes on the court.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Dawgs in scoring with 15 points, but he shot a dismal 6 of 17 from the floor. After a strong first half that included 10 points on 4 of 7 shooting, Pope couldn’t find the basket after the break.
The biggest bright spot for Coach Mark Fox’s team was the improved play of senior guard Gerald Robinson, Jr. GR2 was once again not in the starting line up, but he responded by pouring in 14 points and dishing out 3 assists (on 6 of 9 shooting). Robinson looked in control when he was on the court, and most importantly, he committed just one turnover.
After a four-game stretch away from Athens, the Bulldogs return to Stegeman this Friday night as they take on the Cincinnati Bearcats at 7:00pm. This game is probably being looked at by most Dawgs fans as more of an appetizer before Saturday’s main course that is the SEC Football Championship in Atlanta.
For a UGA basketball team that has dropped 3 of its last 4 games, however, the contest on Friday represents an opportunity to get a quality win over another Big East opponent.
Life on the road continues for Coach Mark Fox’s Georgia Bulldogs (4-2) on Monday night as they travel to Boulder, Colorado to take on the Colorado Buffaloes (3-2). at 8:30pm EST. The Buffaloes are a relatively inexperienced team that is trying to find offense after losing their dynamic guard duo of Alec Burks and Corey Higgins from last season’s team – Burks and Higgins combined to average nearly 37 points per game for the Buffaloes a year ago.
These two teams met in Athens last season, where the Bulldogs topped Colorado 84-74 behind 21 points and 6 assists from Gerald Robinson, Jr.
The Buffaloes start a four-guard lineup that is connecting on 47% of their field goals and nearly 40% of their three-point attempts. Technically, Andre Robertson is listed as a guard – but the 6’7″ sophomore leads the team in rebounding with 11.4 per contest, to go along with 10.4 ppg.
The Buffs’ other leading scorers are seniors Carlon Brown and Austin Default. Brown is a tall guard that is netting a team high 16.2 ppg, and Default is the lone starting forward on Colorado, averaging 13.8 ppg and 6.6 rpg.
The game against Colorado marks the Dawgs’ second true road contest of the young season, with the first one coming last Friday night in a 70-56 loss at #12 Xavier. Coach Mark Fox’s team has been struggling to find an identity so far this year, but poor shooting and rebounding have been hallmarks throughout the first six games (except for the Notre Dame game).
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came into the season with the reputation of being a phenomenal outside shooter, but his 38.6% field goal shooting tells a slightly different story. I realize that KCP is still learning and adjusting to the speed of the college game, but if he could start knocking down a few more shots and free throws his 13.3 ppg would jump to 17 or 18 (he’s making only 55% of his FT attempts).
Coach Fox has clearly been disappointed with Gerald Robinson’s slow start to the season, limiting his senior guard to just 20 minutes per game over the past three contests. In that same span of games, GR2 has committed an unsightly 13 turnovers. Robinson has looked out of control and careless with the basketball, which makes life hard on a Georgia team that was expecting to lean heavily on GR2 for his scoring and play-making ability coming into this season.
I am not sure how I expect this basketball season to unfold for the Georgia Bulldogs – I am optimistically hopeful that they improve as the year progresses. For the Dawgs to show improvement though, they have to start playing to their strengths, which is their guard play. Georgia guards GR2, KCP and Dustin Ware are shooting a combined 37.1% from the floor, and they have more turnovers than assists after 6 games.
If Coach Fox can start getting more consistent play from his backcourt, this Bulldog team could be competitive in most of its games this season.
The Xavier Musketeers (4-0) opened up the second half with a 35-8 run to send the Georgia Bulldogs (4-2) back to Athens with their second loss of the season. Don’t let the 70-56 final score fool you – Xavier led the Dawgs 68-44 with just 3:19 remaining before pulling their starters from the game, allowing the Bulldogs to narrow the gap.
Georgia was only down 28-19 at the half, despite opening the game falling behind 10-0 to the Musketeers after 5 turnovers and 0 for 11 shooting from the floor. The Dawgs were able to overcome the horrible beginning to keep the game within reach using a combination of good defense and bad Xavier offense.
After the intermission though, it was apparent that the X-Men were tired of toying around with Georgia as they used their superior athleticism and experience to sink the Dawgs in the half’s first five minutes.
Xavier was efficient on offense for most the night, knocking down 49% of their field goals and getting double-digit scoring from four different players (with center Kenny Freese leading the way with 12).
Georgia on the other hand was atrocious on offense, connecting on just 32.1% of their field goals and only 7 of 26 thee-point attempts. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led all Bulldog scorers with 14 points, but it took him making just 4 of 13 field goals to get that number.
The Bulldogs’ big men were unbelievably ineffectual on Friday night, combining for 13 points while going only 4 of 18 from the floor – with Donte Williams, Marcus Thornton, Nemanja Djurisic, John Florveus, John Cannon, Connor Nolte and Tim Dixon being the culprits. Adding insult to injury, the Dawgs were out-rebounded by a 38-28 margin.
Georgia has lost to both of the ranked opponents they have faced so far this season (Cal and Xavier), and in both games the Bulldogs were relatively close until halftime. Unfortunately though, both Cal and Xavier were able to go on unbelievable runs after the intermission to close out the Dawgs in each game.
Coach Mark Fox must find a way to keep this team more competitive for the full 40 minutes, especially when they are up against tougher competition.
The Georgia Bulldogs (4-1) continue their road trip tonight, making a stop in Ohio to take on the #12 Xavier Musketeers (3-0). The Musketeers may be the toughest road assignment that the Dawgs have on their schedule (Kentucky included). Xavier returns its top three scorers from a team that went 15-1 in the Atlantic 10 a year ago, earning them a trip to the NCAA Tournament (where they fell to Marquette in the first round).
The Musketeers’ backcourt is one of the best in the country, featuring senior Tu Holloway and junior Mark Lyons. Tu Holloway was named to the 2011-12 John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 List, and he’s living up to the hype so far this season averaging 16.5 points, 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Holloway is an NBA-type guard that can create shots for himself off the dribble, and he’s definitely not afraid to drive the ball into the paint. Joining Holloway at the guard position is Mark Lyons, a prolific three-point shooter who is currently leading the Musketeers in scoring with 20.3 ppg, while knocking down an uncanny 53.8% of his shots from behind the arc.
On the inside, Xavier is led by mammoth senior center Kenny Freese, who is averaging 9.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 3.7 bpg. For those of you that don’t remember Freese from the game a year ago, he stands at 7′ tall and weighs nearly 270 pounds. Despite his tremendous size, Freese does move around the court pretty well, and he has a nice touch from about fifteen feet in. Georgia‘s bigs are going to have their hands full trying to corral the Xavier center.
In the Bulldogs victory over Notre Dame, they rebounded well and knocked down shots from the perimeter. If the Dawgs hope to stay close tonight in Cincinnati, they better plan on doing more of the same.
Georgia’s Gerald Robinson, Jr. and Vincent Williams will be given the daunting task of trying to slow down “Mr. All-Everything” Tu Holloway. Actually, GR2 did an amazing job defending Holloway last year in Athens, holding him without a field goal until there were less than 14 minutes remaining in the game. Holloway ended up with 18 points, but most of them came on free throws towards the end of the game when the Bulldogs were forced to foul.
Coach Mark Fox’s team took a nice step forward on Tuesday night, beating a decent Notre Dame squad after being handled the previous night by Cal. This young group of Bulldogs is being forced to grow up quickly, and tonight they will face an extremely difficult test against an experienced, polished Musketeer team.
With the game locked up at 53-53 and less than 5 minutes remaining, Georgia was set to inbound the ball with only 4 seconds left on the shot clock. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Notre Dame’s Scott Martin fouled Georgia’s Gerald Robinson with just one tick left on the shot clock, giving the Dawgs a fresh 35 and a chance to inbound the ball from the sidelines. On the ensuing play, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope buried a three-pointer from the wing off of a Dustin Ware assist, putting his team up 56-53 with just 3:45 left in the game.
Georgia played strong man defense in game’s final minutes, holding the Irish to just one field goal in the last 4 minutes – which came on an uncontested three-pointer with only 4 seconds remaining in the game. The Bulldogs were only 5 of 9 from the free throw line down the stretch, but the points were enough to help Georgia secure a much-needed 61-57 win over Notre Dame on Tuesday night.
After a first half that featured several lead changes, the teams went into the break with UGA leading 31-29. The Dawgs came out hot out of the intermission though, and they were able to open up a 49-40 advantage. Notre Dame answered with a 13-4 run that knotted the game up at 53-apiece before KCP’s big three-point field goal.
KCP, who scored 5 points in the final 4 minutes, led the Bulldogs in scoring with career-high 16 points to go along with 4 rebounds.
The Dawgs put on their best shooting display of the season, knocking down 12 three-pointers on 26 attempts. Georgia was also able to out-rebound the bigger Notre Dame squad by a count of 30 to 25. KCP was the only Bulldog to finish in double-figures, but Coach Mark Fox did get 7+ points from six different players.
The Bulldogs’ bigs frustrated Notre Dame’s star player Tim Abramaitus to only 6 points (16 below his season average), limiting him to just 1 field goal on 12 tries. The Georgia defense as a whole was pretty stifling on Tuesday night, holding the Irish to below 35% from the field and just 19% from beyond the arc.
Notre Dame spent much of the night on the charity stripe, hitting 21 of their 28 attempts. Georgia, however, didn’t even get to the line until there were just 5 minutes remaining in the game. The Bulldogs ended up going 5 of 11 from the line, overcoming a rather lopsided margin of free throw attempts.
Coach Mark Fox shook up the starting lineup prior to the game, inserting Vincent Williams and John Florveus into the starting five. Williams responded by turning in a solid performance at the guard position, scoring 8 points (on 2 threes) and dishing out a pair of assists.
The Dawgs improved to 4-1 on the season after tonight’s win, and Coach Mark Fox’s team should enjoy a hard-earned victory over a Big East team. After getting shelled by Cal on Monday 70-46, Georgia was still searching for a win over a quality opponent after underwhelming victories against Wofford, Bowling Green and South Dakota State. This win over the Irish should give the Dawgs confidence moving forward as they prepare for a road trip to #12 Xavier this Friday night.
Happy Thanksgiving and Go Dawgs!
Any fans who happen to show up for the undercard game tonight between the Georgia Bulldogs (3-1) and the Notre Dame (4-1) Fighting Irish will be treated to a matchup of two teams coming off sound drubbings from Monday night’s opening round. The Bulldogs were smacked by Cal 70-46, while the Irish got run off the court 87-58 by the #21 Missouri Tigers.
The Dawgs actually played Notre Dame early last season in the Old Spice Classic, losing a heart-breaker in double overtime.
Since that game last year, UGA has lost its best two players to the NBA, while the Irish return preseason All-Big East Second Team power forward Tim Abromaitis. Abromaitis leads Notre Dame in scoring with 22 points per contest, and he’s bringing down 8 boards a game as well. The versatile 6’8″ big scored 25 points in last season’s win over the Dawgs, knocking down 4 of his 5 three-point attempts.
As a team, the Irish are very strong from beyond the perimeter, where they are hitting over 40% of their three-point shots. Notre Dame coach Mike Brey has been getting extremely balanced scoring so far this year, with five players averaging in double-figures. The Irish play with a rather big lineup, starting four players that stand at 6’5″ or taller (two 6’8″ and one 6’9″).
All of Notre Dame’s strengths – shooting, rebounding, experience – have been major weaknesses for the Bulldogs so far this season. The Dawgs are hitting only 38.4% of their field goal attempts, and the picture doesn’t get any prettier for Georgia from the three-point line where they have made below 24% of their shots. The Bulldogs’ rebounding margin, which has been historically positive in the Mark Fox era, sits at -4.2 through four games this year.
Even though the back-up guard position at Georgia does not garner much attention nationally, I’d like to take a look at the current situation in regards to the Dawgs’ backcourt reserves. I realize that Sherrard Brantley transferred to UGA with the reputation of being a “sharp shooter”, but at this point I think it’s safe to say that the young man has completely lost his touch. Brantley is making less than 18% of his shots from beyond the arc so far this year, connecting on just 3 of 17 attempts – he has taken one less three-pointer than starter Dustin Ware, who is averaging more than 10 minutes per game than Brantley.
At this point, I’d much rather see Vincent Williams playing more minutes than Brantley in the reserve guard role. Williams isn’t a great shooter, knocking down only 20% of his field goals. But guess what? Neither is Brantley, who sports a field goal percentage that resides in the mid-teens. Williams at least gives Coach Mark Fox an intense defensive effort, and he’s averaging 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals in just 9.5 minutes of play.
Georgia is beginning to establish itself as a team that struggles from both the inside and outside, which leaves one to wonder how they might possibly beat a team from a major conference.
Prior to the Cal game, I let foolish UGA optimism lead me to predict that Georgia might actually be able to hang with the Bears for 40 minutes.
After last night shellacking, I am not as confident about Georgia’s chances against a bigger, more experienced Notre Dame team. Even though the Irish were handled by Missouri on Monday, something tells me that they have the personnel to correct their mistakes and respond with a much better performance tonight.
Georgia‘s (3-1) rebounding and shooting woes continued on Tuesday night in Kansas City, as the Bulldogs were blown out 70-46 by a superior California Bear team.
Believe it or not, the Dawgs actually held a 25-22 lead over Cal with 5:16 remaining in the half following a lay-in by Nemanja Djurisic. However, Georgia proceeded to miss their last six shots before the break, allowing the Bears to open up a 36-25 lead after a 14-0 Cal run.
As if that weren’t enough, the Bears continued to throttle the Dawgs by pushing their lead up to 53-29 with only 10 minutes left in the game. That’s right folks – Cal went on a 31-4 run over 14 minutes to bury the Bulldogs quickly in the second half.
Georgia’s Donte Williams and Gerald Robinson sat out most of the first half due to foul trouble, which is upsetting considering that Williams is definitely establishing himself as the Dawgs’ only inside presence. For what its worth, Williams did have 6 points and 3 rebounds in limited time, and he’s really starting to improve in the paint.
The Dawgs’ shooting so far this season has been nothing short of horrific, and Tuesday night was no different. Georgia shot just 33.3% from the floor and connected on only 4 of their 19 attempts from beyond the arc. This game marked the second time this year that the Bulldogs have made less than 40% of their field goals, a trend that will surely result in an awful season for this team if it continues.
Cal out-rebounded UGA by a tally of 35-25, another trend that is slowly becoming a trademark of this Bulldog team.
Gerald Robinson looked out of control from the start, picking up two quick fouls and finishing the game with just 9 points before fouling out. He struggled to stay in front of Cal’s Jorge Gutierrez defensively, allowing the senior to finish the game with 14 points and 7 rebounds.
It’s hard to take away anything positive from a 24-point drubbing, but for the game’s first 15 minutes Georgia looked like a real basketball team. The Dawgs were trading buckets with the Bears, and they didn’t appear to be intimidated by going up against a more experienced, ranked opponent. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope started off the game red-hot, canning two threes en route to a quick six points. Unfortunately, he immediately cooled off, finishing the game with 10 points to lead the Dawgs in scoring.
In the end however, Cal looked like a team that deserved its ranking, and this team will most likely be accepting an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament come March.
Georgia, on the other hand, looked more like Wofford, Bowling Green or South Dakota State – take your pick.