Hoop Dawgs

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Posts Tagged ‘Georgia

Georgia hangs on to beat High Point

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Mark Fox’s team took a page out of the UGA football playbook tonight in Athens, proving that games can in fact be won with little to no offense.

The Dawgs (2-1) surged to a 33-22 halftime lead, riding a 14-5 run into the locker room.

However, Georgia forgot to bring its offense back out for the final twenty minutes.  The Dawgs went for nearly 15 minutes without a field goal during the second half before Kenny Gaines knocked down a jumper with 2:35 remaining.  The damage was done, though, as the UGA drought allowed High Point to erase Georgia’s double-digit lead.

High Point had a shot at tying the game on the final possession, but neither of Anthony Lindauer’s three-point attempts went in, giving UGA the 49-46 home win.

J.J. Frazier and Charles Mann, who both played otherwise underwhelming games tonight, both made key baskets for the Dawgs in the final minute of this contest.  Frazier hit an off-balanced jumper as the shot clock was winding down to put his team up by three with just 28 seconds remaining, and Mann knocked down a pair of free throws that again gave Georgia a three-point advantage with only 11 ticks left on the clock.

Mann was just 2 for 7 from the floor, but he shot a perfect 8 for 8 from the stripe as he led all UGA scorers with 13 points.

Frazier followed up his 1 for 11 shooting performance against Murray State with a 3 for 10 effort this evening, although he did manage 8 rebounds to go along with his 10 points.

The most curious aspect of the Dawgs’s offensive strategy in this contest was the limited number of shots that Kenny Gaines was afforded.  After scoring a career-high 35 points last Friday against the Racers, Gaines took just 8 shots against High Point; he did make 4 of those attempts en route to 12 points.

Coach Fox’s team shot under 30% from the floor as a team for the second straight game, but luckily they held the Panthers under 30% as well.  The Dawgs defended John Brown very well, limiting him to just 11 points, which is 9 below his season average.

Though it wasn’t the prettiest 40 minutes of basketball ever played inside Stegeman Coliseum, the bottom line is that Georgia found a way to win against a solid mid-major opponent.  The Dawgs have a tough road test looming this Saturday when they travel north for a date with Seton Hall, and that game would have had much more a desperate feel had UGA been upended at home this evening.


Written by hoopdawg

November 25, 2015 at 8:09 pm

Dawgs should get another tough test from High Point

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Georgia’s string of consecutive games against quality mid-major opponents will continue on Wednesday when the Dawgs host the High Point Panthers.

UGA began the season with an overtime loss to Chattanooga, a media favorite in the preseason SoCon standings.  A week after taking down the Dawgs, the Mocs went up to Champaign and took down Illinois 81-77. Chatt picked up its first loss of the season last night following an 83-63 drubbing from #4 Iowa State.

Georgia’s first win of the season came last Friday over the Murray State Racers (3-1), a team that ESPN projected to win the Ohio Valley Conference this season.

Now, enter High Point, a team that many in the media predicted would win the Big South Conference this year.  The Panthers, who return three starters, including hyper-athletic senior John Brown, have either won or shared the conference title over the past three seasons.

According to an NBC Sports College Basketball analyst, High Point is the favorite to win the Big South:

“In my mind, it would probably be High Point. There will be several teams that have really good players back, but High Point has several really good players back and John Brown has been one of the top players in the league for the last three years.”

Picked for the fourth time as the conference’s Preseason Player of the Year, here is NBC Sports’s depiction of Brown:

“I’d say John Brown should be the favorite for preseason player of the year. There are a lot of good ones, but he’s definitely been really good for a long period of time. I think it starts with his motor and how hard he competes and how physical he is. He just stays after it every possession. He really plays so hard on both ends. He’s great at working at working on catching the ball at the rim and using his size and athleticism to score in the paint. Then he’ll get stuff in transition and on the offensive glass. He’s a monster.”

CBS Sports deemed Brown the #1 dunker in college basketball for 2015:

Georgia could definitely use the services of freshman center Derek Ogbeide in its efforts to contain Brown on Wednesday.  Ogbeide, who has missed the first two games of the season with a shoulder injury, was a “game time” decision against Murray, so he must be getting closer to returning.

John Brown and his Panthers will view Georgia as a potential NCAA Tournament resume-builder, and the Dawgs should expect an intense effort from their opposition on Wednesday.

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November 24, 2015 at 8:25 am

Kenny Gaines carries UGA past Murray State

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Kenny Gaines must not of liked the idea of starting out 0-2 this season.

The senior from Atlanta torched Murray State for a career-high 35 points, simply willing his Bulldogs to their first win of the season.

With 4:11 left in the game, the Racers jumped ahead 50-48 following a pair of free throws from point guard Bryce Jones, erasing a Georgia lead that had been as high as 8 points just 5 minutes earlier.

Unfortunately for Murray, though, their comeback would end there as Kenny Gaines rattled off three-pointers on the next three possessions for UGA, and after his free throw with 1:35 remaining Georgia held a 58-52 lead that they would not relinquish, ultimately winning this one 63-52.

The other major highlight of the night other than Gaines was the Dawgs’ defense, which looked much improved since the debacle against Chattanooga last Friday.  Georgia consistently closed out strong on the Racers, holding them to just 30% from the floor and only 17% from beyond the arc.  UGA also did a great job of limiting the Racers to just one shot – Murray managed only 10 offensive rebounds because Georgia hauled down over 75% of the Racer misses, which led to just 3 second-chance points for MSU.

While Murray shot the ball poorly, Georgia shot it worse, connecting on under 30% from the field.  Kenny Gaines made 10 of his 18 field goal attempts, but the rest of the Dawgs hit under 18% of theirs.  J.J. Frazier was 1 of 11 and Charles Mann 0 for 7.

Yante Maten grabbed 10 rebounds, but he looked lost on offense, missing a plethora of hook shots that led to a 2 for 8 shooting performance. Hopefully Maten has more in his arsenal than the hook, or UGA is going to struggle to find offense in the paint because right now the Dawgs do not have any sort of productivity coming from that area of the floor.

Freshman Mike Edwards scored just 2 points because he missed a couple of easy put backs, but he was very active on the glass, snagging 8 rebounds in 26 minutes (3 of them offensive).  As the season progresses, Edwards may play his way into the starting five with his athleticism.

The only other tidbit of interest from this one was Coach Mark Fox’s decision to sit senior Charles Mann for the game’s final 5 minutes.  Even when UGA had taken control of the game thanks to Gaines, Mann remained on the bench.  Mann’s free throw shooting continues to be a problem (1 of 2 last night), so it’s possible that Fox saw him as a liability down the stretch once the Dawgs had the lead.  To Mann’s credit, he was the loudest cheerleader on the UGA bench up until the final horn.

This win gets Georgia to an even 1-1, with a chance to get above .500 right before turkey day as they host High Point on Wednesday here in Athens.

Written by hoopdawg

November 21, 2015 at 7:30 am

Dawgs drop Armstrong Atlantic 59-41 in exhibition

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The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word exhibition as “a public show of something”.  Notice that the definition does not contain any words like “competition”, “win” or “lose”.  A college basketball exhibition game is merely an opportunity for the coaches to play their entire bench in a game-like atmosphere so that when they step on the court for real it won’t be quite as big of a shock.

That being said, I was glad to see the Dawgs win this one, and I was thankful they didn’t pull a Murray State because that would have unnerved the UGA fan base heading into Friday’s season opener against UT-Chattanooga (Murray State dropped its exhibition game in OT to NAIA opponent Freed-Hardeman).  But, I’m not going to dwell too much on statistics from this one because the competition – no offense to AAU – was not anywhere near what the Dawgs should expect to see when the Mocs roll around next week.  Plus, Georgia had ten guys play more than ten minutes apiece, with Fox running a multitude of various lineups throughout the night, which makes it difficult for players to get into any kind of rhythm.

I will say I was pleased with Georgia’s defense: UGA limited AAU to just 20% from the floor, and the Dawgs hauled in a Herculean 60 rebounds.  Considering how many different guys played on Friday, it was nice to see that the one constant was playing sound team defense.

The biggest takeaway from the entire event was just how impressive Georgia’s freshman LOOK.  There are no Tim Dixon’s or Donte Williams’s in this bunch.  Turtle Jackson, E’Torrion Wilridge, Derek Ogbeide and Mike Edwards all appear physically ready to compete with SEC calibre teams, especially the bigs.  Ogbeide had been garnishing a bit of hype prior to the season after CBS college basketball analyst Jon Rothstein tweeted out the following:

Oogbeide is a huge 6’8″ (listed at 250lbs), and he definitely looks capable of leading this team in rebounding.  Edwards, who led UGA with 11 points, is slightly leaner, but certainly not thin, and he too should be able to contribute immediately in the paint.  UGA will be just fine this year if these two frosh can combine to replace Neme’s 11 points and 5 rebounds from a year ago.

J.J. Frazier missed last night’s contest due to a possible broken nose that he incurred at practice on Friday night.  However, Turtle filled in nicely, running the offense with a confidence not usually seen in true freshman.  And, at 6’4″, he makes UGA’s backcourt look quite formidable alongside the 6’5″ Charles Mann.

Mark Fox might potentially have another NCAA Tournament team on his hands, considering how strong the Dawgs are at guard.  More importantly, though, it feels like Fox might have finally gotten things rolling.  He’s brought in a strong freshman crop following last season’s NCAA tournament appearance, and even though he loses Mann and Gaines after this year, Fox has a pair of 4-star shooting guards committed for 2016 to complement Jackson and Frazier in the backcourt.

Georgia has a difficult non-conference slate which begins next week with the Chattanooga Mocs, a team that many are picking to win the Southern Conference. A win would be a great way for UGA to set the tone early that this team has every intention of playing well into March.

Written by hoopdawg

November 7, 2015 at 7:13 am

UGA basketball season opener just a month away

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With the start to the 2015-2016 college basketball season just a little over a month away, Georgia basketball fans – myself included – have to be wondering just what can be expected from this year’s team.  In his initial Bracketology of the season, Andy Katz pegged UGA as a candidate for the 11-seed play-in game where he had them facing Rhode Island. But really, how much stock can be put into an NCAA Tournament prediction that was made more than three months before the start of the season?

For the past couple of years, Georgia has enjoyed the stability of an established frontcourt to pair with its strong backcourt trio of Mann, Gaines and Frazier (if those three don’t make it in basketball they have a great potential law firm name). However, the departures of Marcus Thornton and Nemanja Djurisic have left a huge hole in the Dawgs’ post, which may be to big for just Yante Maten to fill alone.  Much of UGA’s success (or lack there of) this year will ride on how much Coach Mark Fox gets from incoming freshmen Derek Ogbeide, E’Torrion Wilridge and Michael Edwards.  All three of these guys look fabulous on their Youtube highlight reels, but the stakes get a little higher when freshmen hit the collegiate courts and find themselves working against competitors that are the same size as or bigger than themselves.

If Georgia hopes to return to the NCAA tournament again, which it hasn’t done consecutively in over a decade (2001, 2002), Coach Fox is going to need at least one of his incoming frosh to be a major contributor.  The Dawgs have plenty of returning role players: Kenny Paul Geno, Houston Kessler and Juwan Parker; but none of those three has shown any hints of breaking out into anything more than they already are. UGA’s backcourt will be as solid as ever with Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier all returning, and Maten should be better than last year – it’s that last spot on the court that’s going to be a significant question mark for Fox, and how well he can fill that position will certainly be a testament to his coaching prowess.

Recently, Athlon Sports ranked the SEC basketball coaches, pitting Fox as the 8th best skipper in the league, right behind South Carolina’s Frank Martin.  Considering that Fox’s Dawgs have finished 3rd in the conference the past two seasons, that ranking seems a little inaccurate, especially the Frank Martin insult.  But with the additions of Ben Howland (Missy State), Rick Barnes (Tennessee) and Avery Johnson (Alabama) to go along with last year’s newbie – Bruce Pearl (Auburn) – the SEC is starting to take a more formidable shape as a basketball conference (all of the aforementioned coaches were ranked ahead of Fox, except for Johnson).  The competition in the SEC will undoubtedly become stiffer, and finishing in the top four of the standings should be much more challenging moving forward.

If UGA wants to fulfill Mr. Katz’s August prophecy, then CMF is going to need to coach’em up.

Written by hoopdawg

October 10, 2015 at 7:21 am

UGA’s excellent 2016 SEC schedule

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This week the Southeastern Conference released its league schedule for the upcoming basketball season, and here is a look at Georgia’s slate:


The first thing any SEC basketball fan should look for during the initial glance of his team’s schedule is how many times they have to play Kentucky. In Georgia’s case, the Dawgs only play the Cats once in 2016, and even though the game is at Rupp, facing Calipari’s bunch one time in a year is definitely a blessing.  While playing Kentucky twice does help to shore up the old RPI, it’s not as helpful for the conference record.

The Dawgs have two games with Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Auburn. Other than Ole Miss, all of those aforementioned teams finished 2015 with sub – .500 SEC records. In Bruce Pearl’s second season, Auburn should be better; however, Florida will probably be slightly worse as they try to learn how to survive without legendary coach Billy Donovan. Mizzu and the Gamecocks should continue to thrive in their roles as league bottom-feeders.

UGA truly won the scheduling lottery this go round as they only have one game against Kentucky, LSU, Arkansas, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt, all of whom were listed in Joe Lunardi’s initial Bracketology (along with Georgia).  Of course, any NCAA Tournament predictions made in August need to be taken with several grains of salt, especially considering that the teams haven’t even had an official practice yet.  However, obviously those SEC teams are the ones that Lunardi anticipates being the strength of the conference, and it’s kind of amazing that Coach Mark Fox only has to game plan for each of them just once (until the SEC tournament).

With Georgia’s returning veteran backcourt, the Dawgs have an excellent chance to finish in the top four of the league in 2016, especially if J.J. Frazier will just stop driving.

Written by hoopdawg

August 22, 2015 at 9:10 am

Georgia’s shrinking frontcourt

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After two years in Athens, Cameron Forte has opted to leave Georgia and play his final year of collegiate basketball somewhere closer to his home of Phoenix, Arizona. According to the AJC, Forte is looking for a situation where he has a more expanded role on a team, and I am guessing that he means he wants more minutes and offensive touches.

I understand his desire to play more, especially considering that this upcoming season will be his last, but I wonder if he has a keen awareness of some of his limitations. Forte’s biggest weakest is his lack of a jump shot. Other than the baseline shot he made that won the game at Bama, I don’t recall him connecting on anything outside of a lay-up during his time at UGA. But considering Forte’s unorthodox shooting form, with his left elbow way out to the side, it’s no wonder that he struggles from the outside (he made just 56% of his free throw attempts this year).  And at 6’7″, Forte lacks the size to be the focal point inside for any respectable Division I team.

However, where Cameron succeeded was in his uncanny knack to always find himself in the right position to clean up on the offensive glass.  Other than Yante Maten, Forte averaged more offensive rebounds per minute played than anyone else on the team.  Forte was afforded the luxury of hunting down weak side rebounds because teams this year honed in on Marcus Thornton and Neme Djurisic when they touched the ball in the paint.  Next year, with Maten on the opposite block, one would have to imagine that Forte could once again clean up a lot of missed shots since the opposition will be most likely putting their best inside defender on Yante.

Georgia seems like such a good fit for a role player like Forte.

But yet I digress.  Forte is gone and Coach Mark Fox’s team must move on without him.

The question is how much will Georgia miss Forte’s minutes?  Fox now has three players to replace in his frontcourt for next season, leaving him with Yante Maten, Houston Kessler and Kenny Paul Geno as the only returning inside players with any significant playing experience.

The Dawgs have three bigs coming in as freshman – Derek Ogbeide, E’Torrion Woolridge and Michael Edwards – and they will be asked to contribute immediately considering how thin Georgia is up front (and the fact that Maten might find himself in foul trouble often with his shot blocking prowess).

Written by hoopdawg

April 25, 2015 at 8:18 am


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