Posts Tagged ‘Duluth’
Tickets – check; wallet – check; gas in car – check…only thing left to do is before I head out to the game is to talk about it.
I wonder how much time Mark Fox spent previewing this year’s out-of-conference schedule before he accepted the job as head coach of the University of Georgia Bulldogs Men’s basketball team? Did he realize that before his first UGA team even enters into SEC play that he would take on Virginia Tech, St. John’s, Illinois, Missouri and Georgia Tech? For all those Joe Lunardi Bracketology fans out there, the Illini, Red Storm and Yellow Jackets are all currently listed as IN the projected field for this year’s tourney (and in my opinion the Hokies will make it too when it’s all said and done).
But what’s done is done, and the schedule is set…time to take on the Illini.
And without further ado, here are the Hoopdawg’s “Keys to the Game”:
1. Defense (clap, clap), Defense (clap, clap), Defense (clap, clap) – Most of the preseason attention (which was minimal & local) circling this year’s team focused around new head coach Mark Fox’s Triangle Offense. While I am excited to see more of this offense and how it operates, I can’t ignore what has been the strong point of this UGA team so far this season – the defense. The Dawgs are holding opponents to a mere 63.6 points per contest which ranks 84th out of the 347 Division I teams (or better than 76% of the country). And don’t look now, but Georgia is beginning to resemble something of “SWAT Team” on the defensive end, averaging 5.6 blocks/game (ranking 28th in the country!). As I mentioned in my last post, Illinois shot terribly in both of their two losses this season. If Georgia can maintain the same defensive intensity it’s shown through the first 8 games, I truly believe this one will go down to the wire.
2. Thompkins, Leslie and Ware – Oh My! (pretty cheesy “Wizard of Oz” reference) – The Bulldogs haven’t had one game this year in which Thompkins, Leslie and Ware have all had good shooting/scoring nights (check the box scores if you don’t believe me). For the most part, it’s been Leslie and Thompkins that have been consistent…but the couple of games that Ware was scoring, one or both of these other two guys were off. Tonight’s game against Illinois would be a great time for this trio to all post good offensive efforts.
3. Home Court Advantage – Winning college basketball games on the road is hard…very hard. The fans are physically located very close to the court, and I believe that basketball players can feel the crowd’s energy and feed off of it. Now I realize that this game isn’t in Athens, but it is only 41 miles away and should have the same feel as a game being played at “The Steg”. Hopefully a good number of Georgia fans turn out for the game tonight to help this team seize the momentum early…
A few people commented earlier in the week that they had tickets…anybody else going?
There isn’t a game for 9 days so I don’t have a whole lot to talk about today…
However, I did want to mention that I am loving all the comments I have gotten so far! It is so refreshing to know that there are others out there that support the basketball team and watch/listen/attend games…keep them coming!
I did find a link to some highlights from the game last night – UGA-St. John’s highlights. If you like watching highlights that are totally dedicated to only showing your team scoring on offense than you will really enjoy this (although it is certainly not a great representation of the game since it doesn’t show St. John’s scoring a single basket). If you are pressed for time, just fast forward ahead to the 2:19 mark on the clip so you can see the alley-oop to Travis Leslie that I mentioned last night (this is the main reason I posted the link).
As I mentioned yesterday, the Dawgs next game is against Illinois on Dec. 19th at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth, GA. If you need tickets you can purchase them online for $18 here – http://www.gwinnettcenter.com/Event-Info.66.0.html?&tx_calendar_pi1[f1]=155. If you live near Duluth, you can also buy tickets at the box office of the Arena and avoid paying Ticketmaster’s silly processing fees.
According to the “Show Details” for this event as posted by the Gwinnett Arena, strollers are not allowed and children over 2 years old must have a ticket (seems a little steep to charge a 3-year old $18 to watch a game)…so you may want to get a babysitter and leave the kiddies at home for this one.
First off, I want to say that this team plays hard and doesn’t quit. I know that there aren’t “moral victories”, but it was encouraging to see this team fight all the way until the end against St. John’s Tuesday night.
Georgia started out down 9-3 early in the first half before going on a 9-3 run of their own to tie the game at 12-12 with 11:11 left in the first half. The Dawgs were playing great defense and limiting St. John’s to only one shot – their leading scorer, DJ Kennedy, only scored 2 points in the first half. Trey Thompkins came out of the gates on fire and finished the first half with 11 points…Ricky McPhee even had a massive block (meaning he blocked the shot) which may or may not have been the first of his life. At the break, Georgia trailed the Red Storm 28-25.
At the start of the second half, St. John’s started playing with a lot more intensity and Georgia couldn’t match it. The Red Storm really extended their man defense and started challenging the ball with a lot of tenacity. Georgia’s offense got pushed away from the bucket, and this resulted in several bad possessions. UGA’s defense (match-up zone) was somewhat sloppy, and St. John’s was able to knock down some big 3 pointers to build up a 10 point gap that the Dawgs were unable to close.
A couple of key statistics:
- St. John’s shot 48.1% from the field while Georgia shot an icy 37.5%.
- The Johnnies shot 81.8% FT; UGA only 66.7%
Trey Thompkins played a very good game offensively scoring 19 points and grabbing 6 rebounds…he looked unstoppable when he was able to get in one-on-one situations.
Travis Leslie had another solid outing with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. He continued to play very aggressively on the offensive end, and also finished an amazing alley-oop in the second half (it looked like his head might hit the rim) that may show up on ESPN’s “Top Ten” highlights tomorrow.
Dustin Ware had a tough night, shooting 1 for 5 from the field while scoring only 6 points. He also committed 4 turnovers with only 1 assist to match. The Dawgs must get more consistent play from Dustin going forward to be successful offensively.
The team is off for exams next week and won’t play again until December 19 when they take on Illinois in Duluth, GA.
Anybody have any other thoughts/comments from the game against St. John’s?