Hoop Dawgs

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Georgia improves to 4-7 with an afternoon win over the other USC

with 10 comments

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played maybe his best 4 minutes and 35 seconds of offense as a Georgia Bulldog coming out of the intermission against Southern California on Saturday. KCP lit up the Trojans for 12 points during this time span, erasing USC’s 28-27 lead before Southern Cal even had time to let Coach O’Neill’s halftime speech sink in. Following Pope’s offensive barrage, the Dawgs held a 41-32 advantage with 15:25 remaining.

The Bulldogs took the lead after a KCP lay-up 20 seconds into the second half, a lead they would not relinquish. The Trojans cut the Georgia advantage to 3 points with 10 minutes left following a pair of free throws from Omar “The Pharaoh” Oraby. However, UGA quickly responded on the other end, sending the ball inside to John Cannon who was fouled and converted both free throws.

The game became a little dicey towards the end when Georgia began to lose its touch from the free throw line. The Dawgs, who had made 16 of 20 from the stripe in the game’s first 36 minutes, hit only 2 of 6 in the last 4 minutes of play. Fortunately for Georgia, the Trojan offense fell apart during the same stretch as USC missed both of its field goal attempts and committed 3 turnovers.

Strangely, Southern Cal elected not to foul during the last 35 seconds of the game, even though it was still a two-possession contest. The Dawgs obliged, ran the clock out and walked out of Stegeman with a 64-56 win.

This victory was a nice one for Georgia as a momentum-builder heading into the holiday, and it marks the team’s first winning streak of the season.

KCP was sensational in the game’s second half, scoring 19 of his game-high 25 points (on 10 of 14 shooting from the floor).

The Dawgs’ freshman starters – Brandon Morris and Charles Mann – both turned in solid performances, finishing with 10 and 9 points, respectively. Morris is looking more and more comfortable with the ball in his hands away from the basket, and he has the unique ability for a guy his size to be able to create off the dribble – Morris got 6 of his 10 points from the free throw line, due to the fact that he took the ball right at the rim for most of the afternoon.

Charles Mann peppered the stat sheet, adding 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals to his final tallies. Aside from a shot he took late in the game (when he probably should have dribbled it out), Mann once again appeared cool and in total control of the UGA offense.

And last but certainly not least, I have to mention the workman’s effort put in today by big John Cannon, who netted 10 points and hauled in 7 boards against a huge USC frontline. For whatever reason, Cannon saw limited minutes in the second half, making his numbers even more impressive over just 20 minutes of play.

Other than Oraby, the Trojan offense struggled to find the basket in Athens today, hitting only 40% of their field goal attempts and just 26% from beyond the arc.

In merely a week ,this younger-looking Georgia lineup has won two of its three games, with the lone loss coming in overtime. Charles Mann and Brandon Morris have injected life into a UGA team that appeared hopeless a little over two weeks ago following a loss at Georgia Tech on December 4th.

If the law firm of Morris, Mann and Pope can continue to click offensively, this season has the potential to get interesting.

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Written by hoopdawg

December 22, 2012 at 4:51 pm

10 Responses

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  1. Agree, good win. Much more interesting to watch. Freshmen are fearless driving to the basket. Cannon looks like he is improving with every game and gaining confidence. Really puzzled by Nemi. Looks like he never played before. He has become a liability.I am beginning to have some hope for the season with the freshmen getting better. Fox is playing the right guys, especially at the end. I didn’t feel that we would lose with 3-4 minutes left as we have done in the past.

    Jerry

    December 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    • You are right – Neme has become a liability. He’s turning the ball over at an incredible rate (3 in 6 min yesterday) and leads the team with 26 turnovers overall on the season.

      He looks like he’s pressing on offense, maybe because he is coming off the bench and feels the need to make an impact to impress Fox. Either way, he’s shooting 30% from the floor this year, so his shot attempts are basically turnovers as well.

      Let’s all just cross our fingers and hope that Fox sticks with this lineup from here on out, regardless of the condition of Marcus Thornton’s knees.

      hoopdawg

      December 23, 2012 at 7:55 am

  2. Great win! The young guns give us hope. Nemi seems to have lost all confidence. But balancing that are the solid supporting minutes put in by Brantley, Williams, and even Florveus – who while still sloppy with his hands, did much to tire Oraby down. More and more it appears that a young starting lineup supported by an older bench will be the way to go. Two more wins and I might even look forward to the trip to Florida. Go Dawgs!

    Harlem Bill

    December 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    • Nice call on Sherrard Brantley – he is having a much better season than last year. He’s making almost 35% of his threes, and he has 14 assists to just 5 turnovers. Finally, Brantley has assumed the position of “role player”!

      hoopdawg

      December 23, 2012 at 7:58 am

  3. Mercer went into Tuscaloosa yesterday and beat Alabama 66-59, making Georgia’s home win over the Bears last Tuesday all the more impressive.

    hoopdawg

    December 23, 2012 at 8:01 am

  4. It is difficult not to be down on Neme at this point, although I think that he has to come around for this team to make any real noise once conference play starts. Like many of you, I am becoming more and more impressed with Cannon, who could become a force if he begins to move his feet better on defense. I have to admit that I had thought his slot was a totally wasted scholarship (now if only Dixon could make me feel that way). Maybe Cannon will become our 21st century version of Alec Kessler–another lightly regarded prospec who became a mainstay (and an SEC champion). And thanks to CMF for seeing the obvious, namely that Charles Mann should be running this team.

    Hoops Dawg

    December 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

  5. P.S. If a Georgia coach had ever given up with 35-40 seconds left in a two possession game, I’d be on McGarity’s doorstep demanding that he find out why this happened!

    Hoops Dawg

    December 23, 2012 at 11:32 am

    • Wasn’t that unbelievable? I don’t think I have ever seen anything like that in basketball….just allowing the opposing team to run out the clock with nearly 40 seconds left down by 6.

      hoopdawg

      December 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm

  6. I didn’t get to see this game but it sounds like we are making real progress. The SEC looks weak this season. The Dawgs could be middle of the pack as predicted or maybe even better if the freshmen keep improving.

    Decatur Dawg

    December 23, 2012 at 3:53 pm

  7. I can’t help but wondering: What our record would be if the present lineup had been used earlier in the year and suppose Marcus had not been hurt. CMF did not want to play the freshmen and said that was not the lineup he wanted after being forced to play Morris, Mann and Gaines.Would he have stuck with the earlier losing lineup/ We’ll find out when Marcus is better.

    Jerry

    December 24, 2012 at 9:16 am


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