Posts Tagged ‘Georgia Bulldogs’
The Georgia Bulldogs certainly did not display any of the same sluggishness today that plagued them at home against Auburn and South Carolina. The Dawgs came out of the gates firing, knocking down 5 of 9 three-pointers in the first half, which enabled Mark Fox’s team to take a 41-23 advantage into the break.
Missouri’s offense, or lack there of, was another contributor to the large halftime margin. The Tigers’ backcourt was undisciplined, content with taking quick, off-balanced shots from the outside. Mizzu appeared to have zero purpose offensively, which led to a 25% shooting performance from the floor heading into the intermission.
Georgia cooled off after the break, making only 2 of 13 from beyond the arc, but the Tigers remained cold as well. The Dawgs boosted their lead to 53-27 with 13:47 remaining after an athletic tip-in by Cameron Forte, but the game sort of stalled after that play. Both teams combined for only 10 points over the next 7 minutes, and UGA coasted to a 68-44 home win.
While Georgia only shot 39% from the floor in this one, the Dawgs did move the ball quite well on offense, dishing out a season-high 18 team assists.
Neme Djurisic, who has turned into a source of instant offense over the past two games, led all scorers with 14 points. The only other Bulldogs to finish in double-figures were Cameron Forte and J.J. Frazier, who scored 10 points apiece.
While this game may have lacked some of the dramatic flair of the past two wins at Bama and Ole Miss, it was refreshing to see Mark Fox’s team absolutely dominate a lesser opponent, taking them out of the game before it could even really start.
With LSU’s home win over Ole Miss this afternoon, UGA finds itself in a three-way tie at 10-6 for 4th place in the SEC; though, LSU would get the 4th seed in the conference tournament if the season ended today since the Tigers own tie-breakers over both the Dawgs and Rebels.
Today’s victory over Missouri marks Georgia’s third straight win, and it sets the Dawgs up for what has to be the biggest home game in ages as undefeated (for now) #1 Kentucky rolls into Athens on Tuesday night.
An upset of the Cats would give UGA a realistic change of earning a double-bye in the SEC tourney, while a loss most likely assures them of the 5th or 6th seed.
The Georgia Bulldogs had two moments in tonight’s game against the #1 Kentucky Wildcats in which they could have easily laid down and given up.
The first one came right out of the gates, when the Cats opened up an 11-1 lead before this game was even 4 minutes old. At this point, Kentucky had made more field goals than UGA had even attempted. Yet, Georgia got 5 quick points from Neme Djurisic and found itself trailing 11-6 with 15:11 to go before the break.
Another point in this game when I thought UGA might be finished was during the initial minutes right out of halftime. Kentucky, who held a 42-27 lead at the intermission, went up by 18 points after a three-pointer by Andrew Harrison. But the Dawgs responded with an 11-3 run that saw them cut the score to 50-40 following a layup by Kenny Gaines with a little over 15 minutes remaining.
Georgia actually had a chance to get within a possession with a little over 9 minutes left in the game after Yante Maten buried a jumper from the top of the key, cutting the Kentucky lead to 56-49. The Cats then went scoreless for over 4 minutes, but UGA couldn’t capitalize, turning the ball over once and missing two field goals and a free throw. Eventually, UK’s Devin Booker broke free on a break for a layup that put his team up 58-49 with 5:44 remaining.
The nail in the coffin came when Karl-Anthony Towns hit a hook shot with only 1:36 left to send the Cats up 65-58. Kentucky would end up winning 69-58 by the time the final horn sounded.
For so many reasons, Georgia, who entered this game as a 19-point underdog, had no business making this a two-possession game in the contest’s closing minutes. For one, Kentucky has nearly as many McDonald’s All-Americans as UGA has scholarship players. Second, the Dawgs were on the road once again without their leading scorer and rebounder, Marcus Thornton.
And even though UGA’s backcourt of Kenny Gaines, Charles Mann and J.J. Frazier combined for only 20 points, making only 5 of their 22 attempts from the floor, Georgia still hung around in Lexington and made this one competitive.
The Dawgs’ frontcourt shined on Tuesday, with Neme leading his team with 17 points to go along with 7 rebounds. Yante Maten played arguably his best game of the year, scoring 13 points and grabbing 9 boards – just missing his first career double-double.
Kentucky was led offensively by Andrew Harrison, who netted 23 points on the night.
All silver linings aside though, Georgia’s SEC record now stands at 5-4, putting them in a tie with Tennessee for 4th place in the league. The Dawgs will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak this Saturday when they host the Vols in Athens for a noon tip.
Let’s hope that Marcus Thornton is cleared to play because UGA is back in a “must win” situation.
The Georgia Bulldogs’ RPI received a small jolt on Sunday, moving from 21 to 18 in ESPN’s latest update, following Stony Brook’s upset of #13 Washington in Seattle. The Dawgs coasted by Stony Brook 80-70 back on November 18th in Athens. As the nonconference schedule winds down this week, UGA fans need to dust off their pom poms and start cheering for some of Georgia’s previous competition – even, ahem, Georgia Tech, who is currently 8-3 and boasting an RPI of 38. The Dawgs’ RPI is being bolstered by their strong strength of schedule, which at the moment is listed as the 9th most difficult in the country, thanks in part to the two impending games that Georgia has coming up with #1 Kentucky. While Georgia obviously needs to keep winning more than it loses if they hope to be in the NCAA tournament discussion, UGA can also benefit from solid seasons by teams like Gonzaga, Colorado, Minnesota and Seton Hall.
Another factor that is supporting Georgia’s RPI position is the fact that they do not have any “bad losses” – yet. Had UGA not succeeded in getting by Mercer last week in three overtimes, Coach Mark Fox’s team would be lamenting a loss to the Bears, who are all the way down to 268 on the RPI scale. This week, the Dawgs have games against Kansas State and Norfolk State, who have RPI’s of 168 and 183, respectively. Going into Manhattan on Wednesday will be a tough test for the Dawgs, and it almost seems unfair to UGA that they would be penalized for a road loss at KSU – but, such might be the case in the fickle world of college basketball should the Dawgs drop Wednesday’s contest. Even though K-State is a Big 12 team, losing to an opponent with an RPI over 150 might be difficult for the NCAA selection committee to stomach come March.
One of Georgia’s biggest unknowns coming into this season was freshman Yante Maten, who Coach Fox inserted into the lineup immediately this season with the hopes that he might provide some scoring in the frontcourt. However, Maten’s biggest contribution thus far has been on the defensive side of the ball, where he is blocking 2.2 shots per game, which is tied for 47th in the country. The freshman has already tallied 4 or more blocks in three games this year, coming against Stoney Brook, Chattanooga and Seton Hall.
Georgia, though, has been getting it done as a team defensively this season as well. The Dawgs are blocking nearly 6 shots per contest as a team, which is 18th best in the nation. On the boards, Georgia is hauling in 41 rebounds a night, which is 21st in the country; and more importantly, the Dawgs are controlling the defensive glass, where they are grabbing a over 29 boards per game, putting them at 6th in the country in that category.
Oh, and Georgia got 2 votes in this week’s Coaches Poll.
While the Georgia Men’s Basketball team navigates final exams in Athens, the rest of us are left to sit around and bide our time through an incredibly slow sports week. In fact, UGA basketball fans will have to wait another week on top of this one before getting to see their team return to action.
However, here are a few things came across/thought about this afternoon:
1. Georgia’s 64-57 win over Colorado last Sunday did not just earn them praise locally. Jay Bilas, who has sort of become the “Kirk Herbstreit” of college basketball, threw the Dawgs this little nugget following the game:
2. Speaking of Twitter, here is the latest update on Kenny Gaines’s injured shoulder, per Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph:
3. Thankfully for UGA and the rest of the teams in the SEC not named Kentucky, the AP and Coaches Poll rankings do not carry nearly the same amount of weight in college basketball as they do in football. This week, Kentucky was unanimously voted #1 in the AP, and they received all but two of the #1 votes in the Coaches Poll, with Duke and Arizona getting one apiece. However, the Cats are the lone representative from the Southeastern Conference in both of these polls. The Florida Gators began the season at #7, but after a rocky start that has them at 4-4, Billy Donovan’s team is currently on the outside looking in. The national media’s perception of SEC basketball remains weak my friends.
The good news, though, is that the league has 5 teams in the RPI Top 50, a poll that is much more indicative of a team’s NCAA Tournament chances. Currently, Kentucky, LSU, Arkansas, Alabama and Ole Miss all have RPI’s under 50. Georgia plays all of the aforementioned teams (Kentucky and Ole Miss twice), along with #26 Seton Hall, giving Mark Fox’s team plenty of chances to improve upon their 2-7 record against the RPI Top 50 from a year ago. The Dawgs RPI currently sits at 64, which kind of pleasantly surprised me considering the 5-3 record.
If only the Georgia Bulldogs could have just pressed the reset on the first half of today’s game with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, maybe they would have avoided their second loss in the preseason NIT.
Before the break, UGA committed 15 of its season-high 18 turnovers, which allowed the Gophers to take a 37-25 lead into the intermission. Georgia was flustered early with Minnesota’s full court pressure, and they looked like they were rushing on offense for much of the game’s first 20 minutes.
There wasn’t any reset button though, and the Dawgs spent the entire second half trying to dig themselves out of the hole that they had created – which they nearly did. Despite the fact that Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines combined for only 4 points on the night, UGA trimmed the Minnesota advantage to 65-62 following a three-pointer from J.J. Frazier. But a free throw on the other end for the Gophers coupled with a missed three from Juwan Parker resulted in Minnesota sealing the 66-62 win.
Charles Mann had a really tough game, scoring zero points and committing 4 turnovers in the first half. He must have gotten in the doghouse with Coach Fox at the half because he only saw the floor for 4 minutes after the break, and that was only because Kenny Gaines went out for a spell with a neck injury.
With Mann out, J.J. Frazier stepped up and played admirably, scoring 12 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Even more importantly, the sophomore point guard did not give the ball away once.
Marcus Thornton recorded another double-double, scoring 14 points and snagging 10 rebounds, and freshman Yante Maten chipped in another 12 points.
Other than the turnovers, another major difference in this contest came from the perimeter, where Minnesota knocked down 10 three-pointers to Georgia’s 3. The Dawgs connected on only 21% of their shots from the outside today, and they are now barely above 25% from beyond the arc as a team this season. If UGA cannot locate its three-point shot, they are going to have some serious trouble putting up points this season.
While it definitely stings for Georgia to leave New York completely empty-handed, it should be noted that this is a descent Minnesota team, picked by many to finish 7th in the Big Ten this year – a team that could very well sneak into this season’s NCAA Tournament.
Coach Mark Fox’s team must regroup quickly before embarking on a road trip to Chattanooga next Tuesday to play the Mocks, a team that Fox Sports suggested could challenge for the SoCon title this year.
Georgia appeared dead in the water after Sandro Carissimo – who led Vermont with 11 points – hit a jumper to put his Vermont team up 52-45 with just 6:30 left in the game.
The Dawgs had relinquished a 29-20 halftime advantage, and they looked as if they had no interest in defending the perimeter.
Charles Mann, however, had other plans, scoring 11 of his career-high 29 points in the game’s final minutes, helping his Bulldog team finish the game on an 18-4 run en route to the 63-56 victory.
Vermont could not handle Mann, allowing the sophomore to get to the rim at will.
Marcus Thornton chipped in 16 points, which gave him and Mann a combined 45 of the team’s 63 points on the night.
UGA’s biggest problem in this game was itself as the Dawgs committed 22 turnovers against the Catamounts. Charles Mann may have netted 29 points this evening, but he also carried the turnover load as well by giving the ball to Vermont a team-high 7 times.
Georgia escaped tonight’s game against Vermont by mostly relying on its athleticism.
Unfortunately for UGA, Georgia’s next opponent in the NIT – 3-seed Louisiana Tech – is far more athletic than Vermont and the other Bulldogs tend to play the game at a more uptempo pace.
The Dawgs will need to be less careless with the ball against LaTech of they hope to keep playing in this tournament.
It appears that the Georgia Bulldogs (19-13) basketball season will continue as the Dawgs were selected to play in this year’s National Invitational Tournament (N.I.T.).
UGA received the 2-seed and the Dawgs should host (since they are the higher seed) Wednesday’s game against the Vermont Catamounts, a team that finished the year 22-10 overall and 15-1 in the American East Conference. Vermont was the top seed in its conference tournament, but the Catamounts were ousted in the semifinals by Albany.
Other than Donte Williams and Marcus Thornton, Wednesday’s game will be the first postseason experience for this young Georgia team.