Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’
I am going to assume that the final play of the game was not run exactly how Coach Mark Fox drew it up in the huddle during the last Bulldog timeout.
I cannot fathom a scenario in which Fox instructed senior Donte Williams to launch a deep three-pointer in the game’s waning seconds with Georgia trailing 83-81. However, that is exactly what transpired on the court in Charleston, and UGA fell to another team – Temple – fresh off of a three-game losing streak (two of which were to Kent and Towson).
Even if the final Bulldogs’ possession was not executed properly, one has to question why Coach Fox would select Donte Williams – a player who had never attempted a shot from beyond the arc in his four-year career – to be the recipient of an in-bounds pass with only 3.5 seconds remaining in the game. To me it would appear much more logical to have the ball in the hands of one of your team’s guards or three-point shooters, especially with the severe lack of time on the clock.
Regardless, Williams’ shot blasted off the glass and UGA just missed pulling off a nice come from behind win.
Georgia reclaimed lead in this game for the first time since the 10:32 mark in the first half on a driving lay-up by Charles Mann, putting the Dawgs up 81-80. But Temple junior Will Cummings, who finished the game with 17 points, answered immediately, nailing a three that turned out to be the game-winner.
The Bulldogs showed a lot of heart to even be in a position to win this game following an extremely lackadaisical first half. After surrendering 92 points to Davidson on Thursday, UGA looked ready to let Temple bust the 90-point barrier again this evening. Coach Mark Fox’s team lacked intensity in the game’s first 20 minutes, and the Owls tallied 45 points before the break.
Fortunately, the Bulldog defense tightened up after intermission, limiting Temple to just under 23% from the floor for the remaining 20 minutes.
Georgia was led offensively by Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann, who scored 21 and 19 points, respectively.
The Dawgs also enjoyed the return of sophomore Brandon Morris, who settled in and scored all 8 of his points in the game’s second half (all of which came via slashes to the basket). Morris replaced Cameron Forte after the break – it was unclear whether Forte was injured or just being punished by Fox for his poor first half defense.
Tonight’s loss means that UGA will play Nebraska Sunday afternoon in a game in which both teams will be attempting to avoid finishing dead-last in the Charleston Classic.
While the Dawgs do appear to be equipped to score some points this season, they haven’t looked as if they can stop anyone on defense – Georgia has allowed more than 80 points in each of its last three games.
Any coach, player or fan knows that the most critical parts of a college basketball game are the last four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half. A team can either build or lose momentum heading into the break, and they can either set or lose the tone coming out of intermission.
On Friday night in Athens, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets dominated this 8-minute section of the game, resulting in their second straight win in the Classic City (something that hadn’t been done since the 1960-1961 seasons).
After playing slightly behind for the majority of the first half, Kenny Gaines actually gave UGA a 31-30 lead following a pair of made free throws. Juwan Parker scored on the ensuing possession, and Georgia held a 33-30 advantage with 4:11 remaining before the break.
Tech, however, used 5 points from point guard Trae Golden and two Georgia turnovers to go on a 13-5 run to close out the half, with the Yellow Jackets leading 43-38 after 20 minutes of play.
They Yellow Jackets opened up the second half with a 12-2 run, and after another Golden three-pointer Tech found itself holding a commanding 55-40 advantage with 16:46 left in the game.
The Dawgs were never able to cut much into this lead, and Tech cruised out of Athens with a 80-71 victory, their third of the season.
Georgia Tech was lead offensively by Trae Golden, who finished the game with a team-high 18 points.
As a team, UGA played fairly well defensively, limiting the Jackets to under 39% from the floor. Tech did get several easy baskets along the baseline due to some slow rotations by the Georgia bigs, but other than that Coach Fox had to be pleased with the defensive effort.
Offensively, Georgia looks too much like a one-man show. Sophomore Charles Mann shouldered the scoring load for the Dawgs, putting up a career-high 24 points (including a scorching 4 for 4 performance from beyond the arc). Unfortunately though, Mann also led UGA with 7 turnovers – however, some of those can be attributed to a lack of help around him (at times it looked as if Mann was just trying too hard to create offense).
After two scrimmages against UNC-Pembroke and Wofford, Georgia got its first taste of real Division I competition and Charles Mann appeared to be the only player ready to make something happen with the ball in his hands.
UGA’s lack of an inside presence (once again) allowed the Jackets to extend their defense to the perimeter, placing added pressure on Mann and fellow sophomore Kenny Gaines, who ended up with 13 points, but it was at the expense of a 3 for 10 shooting performance.
Coach Fox will need an inside player to step up and take some of the pressure off Mann and Gaines if this team hopes to find much success this season.
Trae Golden, a native of Powder Springs, Georgia, transferred to Georgia Tech from Tennessee this past summer so that he could be closer to home and his ailing father. The result: the Yellow Jackets had a Second-Team All-SEC point guard literally fall right into their laps.
The former Vol has been productive early, averaging 14 points per game against Prebsbytarian and Delaware State. The senior led Tech in scoring with 16 points against DSU on 7 of 10 shooting from the floor. Golden provides Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory the perfect complement to a team that returned four starters from a year ago.
The good news for Georgia fans is that in Charles Mann’s only encounter with Golden last season he managed to limit Trae to just 4 points on 1 of 10 shooting from the field. Golden struggled to find good looks against the taller point guard, and he likely will find the view unpleasant again Friday night in Athens against a more-seasoned Charles Mann.
Prior to the season, Georgia Tech was projected to finish slightly below the middle of the expanded ACC.
To date, neither of these teams has played much competition. Friday night’s game should serve as an early barometer for both team’s coaches to get an idea about what kind of squads they have on their hands for the 2013-2014 season.
The Yellow Jackets’ roster has several players who passed on scholarship opportunities from UGA along with senior center Daniel Miller, who originally signed to play for the Dawgs before defecting after Dennis Felton’s departure.
Coach Fox’s team will not be low on motivation.
Unfortunately, I had something come up and I was unable to make it up to Athens for Georgia’s first game of the regular season. I did catch the game on the radio though, and it sounded like UGA played solid defense in holding Wofford to just 52 points on 38% shooting from the floor en route to its first win of the year.
The Dawgs opened up a 19-point advantage towards the end of the first half, and they managed to maintain a comfortable cushion between themselves and the Terriers all the way to the final horn.
Georgia was led offensively by Neme Djurisic, Donte Williams and Kenny Gaines, who all scored in double-figures and finished with 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.
If anyone was at the game, please fill me (and the rest of us) in on how Coach Fox’s team looked on offense tonight.
With the start to the 2013-2014 season less than three weeks away, Georgia Bulldog basketball fans are beginning to assess the possibilities and expectations for this year’s team. This Dawg team is comprised of a slew of sophomores and juniors (nine in all) – most of whom saw significant playing time last year – and one lone senior in Donte Williams. By today’s college basketball standards, Coach Fox has something of a “veteran” squad on his hands.
The outlooks provided by various media sources have been mixed for UGA: CBS’s Matt Norlander and Doug Gottlieb predict 7th and 8th place conference finishes for the Bulldogs, respectively. However, the more common estimation of how Georgia will fare in the SEC typically has the Dawgs ending up somewhere between 11th to 13th (thankfully Auburn seems to be a pretty consensus last-place pick).
Nationally, Georgia did secure one vote to be ranked in the first USA Today poll of the season, but as the AJC reported that vote came from none other than Coach Mark Fox, leaving us to wonder if his decision might have been at all biased.
Since the departure of Trey Thompkins and Jeremy Price several years ago, UGA has severely lacked any sort of an inside presence. Heading into this season with the same cast of bigs as last year – Neme Djurisic, Donte Williams, Tim Dixon, John Cannon and Marcus Thornton – it is hard to imagine that much will change in the Dawgs’ ability (or inability, rather) to get consistent post scoring.
One factor that could certainly make points hard to come by in the paint is that UGA does not have any serious shooting threats, so teams may opt to sag off shooters and load down on the blocks. Remember, this Georgia team struggled mightily on offense last season, finishing 307th in the nation in scoring and 287th in field goal percentage. In addition, Coach Fox’s team will be looking to improve on these abysmal offensive numbers without the help of last year’s SEC Player of the Year – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – who is now a member of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.
While Georgia fans should be excited about sophomore guards Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines – both of whom showed a lot of promise during their freshman campaigns – neither of these guys exactly lit up the nets last season, where the two converted less than 40% of their field goal attempts.
The Bulldogs will be relying more on Mann’s ability to get to the rim and draw fouls than his outside shot. However, Fox needs Gaines to be a consistent shooter in the two-guard position, and hopefully for Georgia’s sake Kenny is up for the challenge.
Both of these players benefited from having a superstar on the court with them last year in Pope – someone who drew a lot of attention from opposing defenses. This season Mann and Gaines may find it more difficult to score the basketball without the aide of KCP, yet Fox still needs them to step up and shoulder significant chunks of the scoring load.
In the words of Athlon Sports writer David Fox: “This could be a key year for Mark Fox.“
Interpret however you like.
ESPN DawgNation reporter David Ching broke the story this afternoon that Georgia sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will forgo his junior and senior seasons and enter this year’s NBA draft.
While I would love for KCP to stick around for at least one more year, it is hard to blame him for taking the jump – his stock has been on a steady rise since the end of the season, and he appears likely to be taken in the latter part of the first-round.
Losing KCP, last season’s SEC Player of the Year, will be a devastating blow to a Bulldog team that had a legitimate chance of making next year’s NCAA Tournament, assuming Pope’s services.
Without KCP though, Coach Mark Fox will be looking for additional scoring from Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris. The starting lineup will most likely be those three aforementioned players, Donte Williams, and then it’s really a matter of take your pick between Neme Djurisic, John Cannon, Tim Dixon or Marcus Thornton (should he return from his knee troubles).
Coach Fox has two freshman coming in next season – Juwan Parker and J.J. Frazier – and he also has an offer on the table to a 6’7″ three-star wing from Columbus, Georgia named Harold Givens.
Matching last season’s 9-9 conference record should be a formidable challenge for the Dawgs next year, and besting it nearly impossible without an incredible overall off-season improvement from the current roster.
Sorry for the lack of entries – I was unable to watch the LSU game due to work, and then I had to immediately shoot down to Amelia Island for a wedding, not leaving much time to write about Georgia basketball.
I was able to follow the flow of the UGA-LSU game on ESPN’s Gamecast however, and I was certainly amazed by the Dawgs’ ability to overcome a 20-point first-half deficit, almost tying the game with under a minute remaining.
At 15-17 overall, Georgia would be attempting to make history by getting an invite into the NIT, considering no team without a winning record has received a bid since 2006 when the selection committee removed the “must have .500 or better record stipulation”. Honestly, it feels like this basketball season is over.
All and all, I have to say I am pleased with what transpired on the court this year for Coach Mark Fox’s team. After an abysmal 2-7 start to the season which included home losses to Youngstown State and Iona, Georgia rallied to win 13 of their next 23 games, finishing at eighth place in the new fourteen-team SEC.
During the Dawgs’ initial slump, Coach Fox appeared to be gliding towards a hot seat. However, when conference play finished and UGA had won 9 games, members of the media began rumoring that CMF might be the league’s Coach of the Year (deservedly so). Florida’s Billy Donovan won that award, but I am not sure if what Fox did with this year’s UGA team isn’t more impressive.
Looking ahead to next year, any person who even remotely follows Georgia basketball knows that the success of the 2013-2014 teams relies heavily on whether Kentavious Caldwell-Pope returns for another season or not. Should Pope return, UGA would possess a lot of offensive firepower with more-seasoned versions of Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris.
Mann, who was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team this year, could be an All-SEC first-team player by as early as next year. Towards the latter part of this season, Mann really began to come into his own at the point guard position, consistently attacking defenders and driving the ball to the rim. In three of UGA’s final six games, Mann got himself to the foul line for double-digit attempts – he finished with 14 or more points in all three of those games. With his size, his level of play can only go up as he gains maturity.
Should KCP choose to return, I think he would enjoy a lot less double-teams and traps next season as teams will have to pay more attention to Mann and Gaines – Pope may actually have the opportunity to show NBA scouts what he can do in one-on-one type situations.
A KCP-led Georgia basketball team would have a legitimate chance of finishing in the top five of the SEC, and I would feel pretty confident that they could earn an NCAA-berth.
However, if Pope decides to leave for the NBA in the next two weeks, obviously UGA basketball fans will have to temper and readjust their expectations.
Whether KCP stays or goes, Coach Mark Fox is going to have to play with less depth at the guard position, since both Vincent Williams and Sherrard Brantley will be graduating. Not that either of the aforementioned players were key elements of this season’s team, but both of them shot better than 36% from beyond the arc, consistently making key shots late in games for this young team this year.
Georgia’s two incoming freshmen – JJ Frazier and Juwan Parker – are both guards, but neither player will be ready to make significant contributions next season (ESPN rates each as a two-star recruit).
For the sake of the UGA basketball program, everyone needs to cross their fingers and hope that KCP wants to play one more year donning the Red and Black.
When Trevor Releford launched the basketball from beyond halfcourt with time expiring, a small part of me expected it to go in. Of course, less than a second later, the ball swished through the net, giving Alabama a 61-58 home victory over the Georgia Bulldogs.
After trailing the Tide 50-41 with less than six minutes remaining, Georgia mounted a 17-8 run that ended with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope burying an NBA-range three-pointer to tie the game at 58-apiece.
UGA actually possessed the basketball with the game knotted at 58-58 and only 17 ticks left on the clock. Unfortunately, freshman Charles Mann turned the ball over and the aforementioned prayer hoisted up by Releford was answered.
For Georgia to even be in a position to win this game at the end after the way that they played in the first half was quite a feat – UGA made only 26% of their field goal attempts before the intermission, mustering just 18 points.
Alabama made their first four field goal attempts with three of those coming from beyond the arc, helping the Tide to open up a 13-3 advantage less than four minutes into the first half. The Dawgs fought for much of the game to overcome this early deficit, and had they not started so poorly the game may not have come down to Releford’s desperate toss.
UGA was led offensively by KCP and Neme Djurisic, who scored 14 points apiece in the losing effort.
The loss sends the Dawgs to 9-9 on the season in conference play, and they will take on LSU in the second round of the SEC tournament next week in Nashville.
Considering that this team began the season 0-3 in the league, finishing up even in SEC games is a credit to Coach Fox and his team.
Florida secured the SEC regular season title with their 64-52 win over Alabama on Saturday. The victory also assures the Gators of the 1-seed in this year’s conference tournament, meaning they will take on the winner of the 8/9 game on Friday afternoon in Nashville.
With only one week of the regular season remaining, Georgia (14-15,8-8) is currently residing in the 8th spot in the league. Were the conference tourney to begin today, the Dawgs would take on LSU on Thursday and the winner would earn a rematch with Florida.
Current SEC Standings
Ole Miss 10-6
Texas A&M 7-9
Mississippi St. 3-13
South Carolina 3-13
UGA plays Kentucky at home on Thursday before traveling to Tuscaloosa to challenge Alabama in their regular season finale.
The highest that Georgia could finish this season is 6th in the league. For this to occur, the Dawgs must win out this week and get some help from Arkansas and Tennessee – Arkansas drops consecutive games at Missouri (possible) as well as their home final against Texas A&M (maybe impossible), and Tennessee manages to lose a game to either Auburn or Missouri.
Should Georgia drop both contests this week to UK and Bama, the Dawgs could plummet all the way to the 11-seed, assuming that both Vandy and the Aggies win each of its remaining games and LSU wins one. While UGA could probably win a game or two playing the 14-seed and then potentially the 6-seed, Georgia would likely be dog-tired (pun intended) by the time Friday rolled around, where they would be playing a well-rested 3-seed team (again, assuming UGA won both the 1st and 2nd round games).
If the Dawgs split games this week – which seems like the most probable result – Georgia would be in a thick of a race between UT, LSU and Vandy, with the 7-, 8-, 9- and 10-seeds at stake.
I think that this Bulldog team has the ability to make a run in this year’s SEC tournament, especially considering their road pedigree in league play. However, should UGA land in the 8/9 game, it would take an incredible effort for the Dawgs to beat the league’s best team on zero days rest.
Let’s all hope for the 6-, 7- or 10-seed.
Georgia freshman Kenny Gaines only played 8 minutes on Saturday, but he made the most of his time on the floor late in the game against the Vols. With Tennessee trailing UGA 50-45 and under 6 minutes remaining in the game, Charles Mann found Gaines in the corner where the frosh cooly buried a three-pointer, putting UGA back up by 8 points.
Gaines hit another monster three from the baseline minutes later, helping to extend the Dawgs’ lead to 62-50 with less than 3 minutes remaining.
Kenny put the stamp on the UGA victory by finishing a three-point play the old fashioned way off of another assist from Mann, giving Georgia a 67-58 advantage with only 1:25 left.
Prior to tip-off in this one, Fox had listed Gaines as a “game time” decision – thankfully, Gaines’s heel bruise seemed good enough to play on and Kenny was able to play a major role in Dawgs’ win.
A major concern for Georgia heading into today’s game with Tennessee centered on dealing with the Vols’ star point guard, Trae Golden, who had been scoring 19 points per game during the team’s recent six-game winning streak.
Charles Mann – UGA’s freshman point guard – stepped up and played his best game of the season while taking Golden completely out of his game. On offense, Mann took the ball right at Golden en route to the rim at nearly every opportunity, getting to the line for 14 free throw attempts (of which he made 12). Mann’s aggressiveness led to a career high 18 points to go along with 8 assists, and he had Golden in foul trouble for the entire game.
Defensively, the 6’4″ freshman was too tough for UT’s point guard, limiting the smaller Golden to merely 4 points on an abysmal 1 for 10 shooting performance.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had his hands full on defense for much of the afternoon as he was matched up on Jordan McRae, who finished up with 35 points before fouling out.
However, KCP gave Georgia another excellent effort inside Stegeman today, scoring 25 points and grabbing 9 boards – just one short of his fifth double-double of the year.
UGA did an excellent job inside dealing with the UT bigs, who came into this contest with some of the better rebounding numbers in the SEC. Georgia outrebounded Tennessee by a count of 38-34, and the Dawgs scored 30 points in the paint to the Vols’ 14.
The win today puts Georgia at 8-8 in the conference and 14-15 overall, giving UGA a realistic shot of getting into this season’s NIT Tournament, should they manage to win another game or two.
This loss may have devastating consequences for Tennessee as the Vols have now dropped two games to the Dawgs (RPI 141), and I imagine they will find themselves on the outside of the NCAA Bubble tomorrow morning.
For Georgia, showing the ability to bounce back from such a difficult loss at Vandy on Wednesday to grab a victory against a very hot team displays a lot of maturity.
The atmosphere inside the Steg this afternoon was energetic as the home crowd of nearly 10,000 fans enthusiastically voiced their support of this young Bulldog team.
I anticipate an even bigger crowd on Thursday night when Georgia hosts the John Calipari-led Kentucky Wildcats.