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Dawgs get second road win of season

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Georgia got what it needed on Saturday night in Starkville: a win.

For just the second time this season, UGA won a game away from Athens, boosting its overall record to 14-9 overall, 7-5 in the SEC.  More importantly, the Dawgs avoided what could have been their worst loss of the season as the Maroon Dogs entered tonight’s game with an ugly RPI of 164.

Coach Fox’s team won tonight’s game with defense.  The Dawgs played matchup zone for  a majority of the night, limiting Mississippi State to just 31% from the floor.  Missy State entered this contest with the 3rd best shooting percentage in the conference in SEC games at over 45%; yet, Georgia managed to hold them in check, contesting shot after shot.  UGA also did an excellent job of securing their opponent’s misses, out rebounding State by a tally of 45-35.  The Dawgs have the best defensive rebounding percentage in the SEC in league games, and tonight was no different as Georgia hauled in 75% of the Missy State misses.

The Maroon Dogs were led offensively by Quinndary Weatherspoon, who netted 17 points. The team’s leading scorer, Gavin Ware, finished with only 6 points, nearly 10 below his SEC average.

UGA closed out the first half with an 11-4 run, capped off by a Yante Maten jumper that sent the score to 32-21 going into the break.  Maten, who finished with a game-high 25 points, scored 15 of them prior to the intermission. He was unstoppable this evening, scoring on an array of layups, hook shots, and midrange jumpers.

Georgia began the second half with an 11-2 run, and after a pair of free throws from none other than Yante Maten, the Dawgs’ lead had blossomed to 43-23 with a little over 17 minutes remaining in the game.  From this point on UGA coasted, leaving Starkville with the 66-57 victory.

Charles Mann played arguably his best game of the season, scoring a season-high 21 points, six of which came on a pair of three-pointers.

Freshman Derek Ogbeide got the start tonight at the five spot, a position that has been somewhat of a revolving door for the Dawgs this season. While Ogbeide only netted 4 points, he did grab a team-high 13 rebounds.

The Dawgs have two days off before they returning to action on Tuesday night in Athens for a big time showdown with the Florida Gators.  Both Florida and Texas A&M lost today, putting UGA in a four-way tie for 4th place in the conference (with Vanderbilt being the other 7-5 team).

The contest with the Gators could have huge SEC and NCAA tournament ramifications.

 

Written by hoopdawg

February 13, 2016 at 10:28 pm

Late surge lifts Dawgs over Gamecocks

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With their postseason dreams on the ropes and a double-digit halftime lead all but gone, UGA dug in and found a way to win against #25 South Carolina over the final stretch of tonight’s game in Athens.

The Gamecocks, who shot just 21% from the floor before the break, started to knock down shots in the second half; after Duane Notice buried a three from the corner, USC trailed Georgia 50-48 with 6:34 left.

On the ensuing possession, Kenny Gaines tipped in a Michael Edwards miss.  Then he took a Carolina miss the length of the floor and finished over a falling Michael Carrera, putting the Dawgs back up 54-48 with 5:17 remaining.

J.J. Frazier, who played sparingly in the first half due to foul trouble, knocked down two huge three’s during this same time span.  The second one he hit falling into the UGA bench, yet he somehow managed to draw nothing but net, sending the Dawgs up 62-53 with under 2 minutes left in the game.  This shot by Frazier sent the Stegeman crowd into pandemonium, and Georgia won its first game of the year against a ranked opponent, downing the Cocks 69-56 in Athens.

Coach Mark Fox had to be pleased with his team’s defensive effort on the night.  Other than a few lapses at the top of the key in the second half, the Dawgs defended Carolina well, contesting nearly every shot.  The Cocks entered this evening’s contest making more than 44% of their shots from the field, yet UGA limited them to only 31% from the floor.  USC’s 56 point effort tonight was its second-lowest offensive output of the season.  On the year, Frank Martin’s team’s scoring has been incredibly balanced, with five players averaging in double-figures.  However, Sindarius Thornwell and Carrera were the only Gamecocks to finish with over 10 points tonight, scoring 18 and 11, respectively.

The Dawgs certainly were not spectacular on offense, shooting under 39% from the field, but as I mentioned above, Coach Fox’s team made shots when they needed to in this game.  Yante Maten led all UGA scorers with 18 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 4 blocks.  South Carolina’s Mindaugas Kacinas simply couldn’t handle Maten as Yante consistently drove the ball at him and scored on a series of acrobatic shots.

Kenny Gaines finished with 17 points, and Frazier and Charles Mann chipped in 13 and 11, respectively.

This win is easily Georgia’s biggest of the season, and not only because the Gamecocks are ranked in both the AP and Coaches Poll.  In addition to those accolades, Frank Martin’s team is currently sitting with an RPI of 28.

The Dawgs are 12-8 overall and 5-4 in the SEC, and with Tennessee knocking off #20 Kentucky this evening, Georgia has a chance to move into the upper echelon of the SEC standings this Saturday if they can hold serve at home against Auburn (Florida heads to Kentucky and USC visits Texas A&M).   If UGA wants to play any postseason games this year, then they have to put together a bit of a winning streak.

Again, Georgia has Auburn in Athens on Saturday, which is a game the Dawgs should win. Unless, of course, they are peeking ahead at next Tuesday’s prime time matchup in Lexington against Kentucky.

 

 

Written by hoopdawg

February 2, 2016 at 9:54 pm

Baylor’s big second half overwhelms Georgia in Waco

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Georgia played a great first half.

Georgia played a not so great second half.

The Dawgs gutted out the first 20 minutes with little help from Yante Maten, who was on the bench with foul trouble for nearly 16 minutes to start the game. However, UGA was able to slow things down, and thanks to a combined 18 points from J.J. Frazier and Kenny Gaines, the Dawgs actually took a 35-32 lead into the intermission on the road in Waco.

Baylor rocked Georgia coming out of the break, though, going on a 17-2 run that saw them run the score up to 49-37 after a free throw by Rico Gathers with 16:03 left in the game. The Dawgs fought, but they couldn’t ever recover from this onslaught from the Bears.

Georgia packed in their defense in the first half, daring Baylor to shoot it from the outside, and for twenty minutes, it worked. But once the Bears found their stroke from the perimeter, UGA’s defense became vulnerable. After only hitting 1 three-pointer in the first half, the Bears caught fire in the final 20 minutes, knocking down 6 shots from beyond the arc following the intermission.

Baylor ended up besting the Dawgs by a score of 83-73.

The Bears were led by Gathers, who scored 17 points to go along with his 9 rebounds. Baylor had 5 players finish in double-figures, and they shot over 45% as a team from the floor.

The Dawgs ended up with 4 players finishing in double-figures, with Frazier leading the way with 21 points and 11 assists, his first double-double of the year. Maten, who played limited minutes, netted 18 points to go with his 7 rebounds. Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann ended up with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

While Georgia was an 11-point underdog heading into tonight’s game, the Dawgs gave the UGA fanbase hope by playing an inspired first half. However, Coach Mark Fox’s team came out flat during one of the most critical stretches of any basketball game – the first 5 minutes of the second half – and Georgia paid dearly by having to play uphill for the final 20 minutes.

This loss puts the Dawgs at 11-8 on the season, and it leaves their NCAA tournament chances looking bleak at best. At this point, Coach Mark Fox needs something short of a “Dennis Felton-esque” tornado to enable his team to win the SEC tournament if UGA has any hopes of dancing. For Georgia, the NIT is looking like a more attainable goal; though the Dawgs need to string together a few wins at some point for the NIT to even materialize.

Written by hoopdawg

January 30, 2016 at 8:32 pm

Dawgs survive late scare from Hogs

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Georgia won a game it had to on Saturday, besting the Arkansas Razorbacks (9-10) 76-73 in overtime in Athens.

This Arkansas team did beat Vanderbilt in OT, and they lost by two the road against LSU earlier in the month.  But, the Hogs also lost to Akron and Mercer back in the 2015 part of the season.

While this Razorback team did play aggressive man defense for much of the night, Georgia should not have had to work so hard to escape at home.

The Dawgs seemingly had this one wrapped up in overtime following a layup by Yante Maten that put his team up 74-68 with only 31 seconds left.  However, Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann missed their next four free throws, which put Arkansas in a position to tie the game with 6 seconds remaining. Fortunately for UGA, Anthlon Bell’s half court prayer fell way short, giving Georgia the victory.

The Dawgs were very fortunate to even see OT.  After falling behind 64-62 with 47 ticks on the clock, Georgia’s J.J. Frazier earned a trip to the line with an opportunity to tie the game.  Both Frazier’s attempts clunked off the rim, but luckily for the Dawgs Arkansas’s Moses Kingsley fell down securing the rebound, giving UGA the ball via a traveling violation.

Frazier scored on the ensuing possession to tie the game, but the Hogs still had possession with a chance to win and just 24 seconds remaining.  Coach Anderson’s team couldn’t capitalize though, tossing the ball out of bounds off of a deflection by Kenny Paul Geno.  The culmination of both of those extremely fortunate plays enabled UGA to see overtime, which ultimately led to the win.

Offensively, the Dawgs were carried by Frazier, who scored a team-high 26 points.  Georgia’s offense is so dependent upon Frazier right now it’s scary.  Without him, well, it’s just hard to imagine what that might look like.

Yante Maten went for yet another double-double, netting 17 points to go along with 12 rebounds.  Kenny Gaines was the only other UGA player to finish in double-digits, scoring 16 points.

The Hogs were led offensively by Dusty Hannahs, who dropped a team-high 24 points.

Charles Mann went 3 for 9 from the floor, which has become typical for him, ending up with only 8 points.

The Dawgs’ free throw shooting almost led to their demise in tonight’s contest as UGA hit just 53% from the charity stripe.  Georgia’s inconsistency at the line this season has left the door open for opposing teams in a number of games.

Georgia crushed Arkansas on the glass, winning the rebounding battle 46-36.  UGA did shoot the ball better than Arky (44% to 39%), so some rebounding discrepancy should be expected. However, Georgia had 13 offensive boards to the Hogs’ 9, yet the Dawgs had just 2 more second chance points.

Coach Mark Fox got only 2 points from his bench, while Mike Anderson saw his reserves score 21 points on the night.  Turtle Jackson, Kenny Paul Geno, Mike Edwards and Derek Obeide went a combined 0 for 4 from the field.  Edwards did manage to snag 7 rebounds, though. Still, Georgia must get more production from its bench going forward, or they are going to struggle, especially on the road.

Speaking of the road, UGA has two away games next week: a conference game at LSU and then a difficult non-conference matchup in Waco against Baylor.

While beating Arkansas did bolster Georgia’s overall record to 11-6 and 4-3 in the SEC, it did little to improve UGA’s NCAA stock.  The Razorbacks’s RPI is 100.

 

Winning in Baton Rouge would be great, but the Tigers possess an RPI of 95.  Earning a victory against a ranked Baylor team with an RPI of 15 – well, that would be amazing.

 

Written by hoopdawg

January 23, 2016 at 11:29 pm

Dawgs complete season sweep of Missouri

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The Georgia Bulldogs (10-6, 3-3) had seemingly delivered the knockout punch midway through the second half on Wednesday when J.J. Frazier knocked down a three-pointer to cap off a 17-0 run that sent the Dawgs up 50-34 with a little under 10 minutes left to play.

Missouri managed to claw its way back, though, thanks in part to 7 UGA turnovers over the game’s final 9 minutes.   The Tigers actually had it as close as 56-53 with less than a minute remaining, but thanks to four clutch free throws from Frazier, who is 5th in the conference in that category, Georgia was able to sneak out of Columbia with a 60-57 victory.

Coach Mark Fox got a monster game out of Yante Maten, who finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 6 blocks in 36 minutes of play.  Maten’s offense was steady the entire game, giving his team a solid scoring option all night, even as some of his teammates struggled.

J.J. Frazier also shot the ball well, knocking down 5 of 9 shots from the floor en route to 16 points to go along with 7 assists and 6 boards.

Seniors Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann floundered again offensively (though Mann floundered much harder), scoring 11 and 5 points, respectively.  The two combined for just 6 of 22 from the field, and Mann continues to  relentlessly drive the ball to the basket to no avail.

The Dawgs packed up and carried their poor shooting from the weekend onto the plane and into Columbia on Wednesday, opening the first 20 minutes of play by shooting 31% from field and 1 for 11 from three-point land.  For the third straight game, the Bulldogs posted a season-low halftime scoring output, with 22 tonight against the Tigers.

Georgia shot it better after the intermission, however, finishing the game at 39% as a team.  But, one would have hoped to see a little more consistency from the outside after last Saturday’s abysmal performance.

Missouri was led on offense by Namon Wright and Terrence Phillips, who each scored 12 this evening for the Tigers.

While SEC road wins are nice, this one does little to improve Georgia’s postseason aspirations.  The best takeaway UGA can draw from this game is that they avoided a bad loss to a Mizzou team that boasts a whopping RPI of 146.  The best thing that can be said at this point about the Bulldogs tournament resume is that they do not have any bad losses, with the defeat to Ole Miss (75) earlier this month being the worst.

But at some point, Georgia, a team that entered tonight’s contest with an RPI of 74, must earn some quality wins.  Winning games that it should – Arkansas (86) at home this Saturday – is no longer going to cut it for Coach Fox’s team if they hope to be dancing this season.

The Dawgs have games remaining against Baylor, South Carolina (twice), Kentucky and Florida, all teams currently in the RPI Top 25.  Considering that UGA’s best win to date came against Georgia Tech (58), I would say that Georgia probably needs to win 3 of the 5 aforementioned games to put themselves in position for an at-large bid.

The 34-point home loss to Texas A&M was devastating.

The Bulldogs have to put together a decent little winning streak.

 

Written by hoopdawg

January 20, 2016 at 9:50 pm

Georgia loses a heartbreaker in Oxford

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With 3.8 seconds remaining in the game, Georgia got the ball into Charles Mann’s hands near half court, providing the Dawgs with a chance at a  reasonable last second shot.  Mann’s pass to Kenny Gaines was deflected, though, forcing Gaines to take an off-balanced three-pointer that careened off the rim, giving Mississippi the 72-71 home win.

UGA yielded 29 points to Stefan Moody, though none were bigger than the two he hit to send his team up by one with less than 4 seconds remaining (even though it appeared as though he needed three steps to get that basket).

The Dawgs put up a gutty effor on the road, falling just short in Oxford on Saturday night.  Georgia played the final stretch of this one without its star player, Yante Maten, who fouled out with 3:36 remaining in the game; Maten left with a team-high 20 points and 9 rebounds, his team clinging to a 64-62 lead.

Neither team shot the ball well in Oxford on Saturday, with both squads hitting just 36% from the floor.  Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines were the only other Bulldogs to finish in double-figures for Coach Mark Fox, scoring 15 and 14, respectively.  Gaines’s points, however, came at the expense of a 3 for 14 shooting performance.

Georgia looked like it was going to get run out of the gym early, falling behind 19-11 with 12:50 left before the break after a layup by Rashad Brooks.

The Dawgs didn’t flinch, though. Rather, UGA responded with an impressive 16-2 run, capped off by a pair of free throws from Charles Mann that gave Georgia a 27-21 advantage. The Dawgs would go on to take a 44-35 lead into the intermission.

But Georgia went ice cold in the second half, hitting just 7 of its 24 field goal attempts.  Slowly but surely, Ole Miss cut into the UGA lead until it had been whittled down to nothing.

The biggest bright spot off the Georgia bench had to be Derek Ogbeide, who scored 9 points to go along with his 10 boards, falling just a basket shy of his first career double-double.  The Rebels opted not to guard starter Houston Kessler from the outside, which leaves one wondering just how long he will continue to see more minutes than Ogbeide, who seems far more productive than the senior at this point in the season.

This loss leaves UGA at 1-2 in conference, and it’s going to sting for a bit.  The Dawgs appeared to be on their way to their first SEC road win of the season before Moody knifed his way to the basket and put his team on top.

Georgia will need to get over this loss quickly, though,  as they have two difficult home games on the horizon next week against Tennessee and #21 Texas A&M.

Written by hoopdawg

January 9, 2016 at 11:22 pm

Dawgs begin conference play with a loss

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After winning four games in a row to close out December, including victories over Clemson and Georgia Tech, Georgia (7-4, 0-1) appeared to have finally met its match on Saturday in Gainesville against the Florida Gators.

Actually, UGA looked overmatched.

Florida’s defense overwhelmed the Dawgs.  Georgia had difficulty getting into its offense on a number of possessions, struggling to handle the Gators’ pressure.

The result: UGA hit less than 36% of its shots from the floor, including going just 2 of 12 from beyond the arc.  This offensive ineptness ultimately led to a 77-63 Florida win in both of these team’s first SEC game of the season.

Also, Florida hit 9 three-pointers, and the Gators had five players finish in double-figures, with KeVaughn Allen leading the way with 18 points.   Florida took a lot more uncontested shots than Georgia, which aided them in shooting a higher percentage on Saturday.

This contest seemed as though it was going to get out of hand early after Devin Robinson hit a three that gave his Gators a 24-11 advantage with a little over 9 minutes left in the half.  The Dawgs recovered, though, trimming the Florida lead to 38-31 going into the intermission.

Coming out of the break, Yante Maten scored 6 of his team’s first 8 points,  including a jumper with 16:58 left in the game that cut the Gator advantage to just 43-39.  It didn’t remain close for long, however, as Florida went on an 11-5 run that saw the score balloon to 54-44 with a little more than 12 minutes remaining.

The Dawgs were unable to close that gap over the final 10 minutes – actually, it increased – and Georgia suffered a double-digit loss at the hands of its rival.

Maten finished with 20 points and 7 rebounds, and it seems likely that he will end up on an All-SEC team by year’s end.

Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier were the only other Bulldogs to end up in double-figures, scoring 13 and 12, respectively.

Charles Mann ended up with 9 points, but he shot only 1 of 7 from the field and he failed to dish out a single assist. Additionally, Mann committed a team high 3 turnovers, and he now has 3 more turnovers than assists on the season, which is troubling considering he is a senior guard.

The Dawgs will be more successful this season if Mark Fox can convince Mann that his job on this team is to be a role player.  Mann is shooting under 31% on the season, and he continues to force things offensively – and not in a good way.

UGA’s best offensive options are Maten, Gaines and Frazier, so Mann and the rest of the Bulldogs should feel obliged to get these three players as many decent looks at the basket as possible, night in, night out.

At the end of the day, though, conference road wins are tough to come by in college basketball, so UGA fans should steer clear of the panic button.  Georgia hosts Missouri in Athens on Wednesday, and then the Dawgs have a winnable road game next Saturday in Oxford.

By this time next week, Georgia could have a winning SEC record.

Written by hoopdawg

January 3, 2016 at 8:48 am

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