Hoop Dawgs

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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

Assessing some of Georgia’s most glaring weaknesses

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Free throws

The Bulldogs are shooting under 68% as a team from the free throw line this season, which is just good enough to be 254th in the nation in that category.  The Dawgs have already lost four games this season by less than 5 points.  While all those losses cannot be attributed to ineptness from the charity stripe, it is safe to say that UGA’s record would be better than 11-8 if they could make more shots when the clock is stopped.

Georgia’s inability to hit free shots should not be that surprising, though, considering that this team doesn’t have that many shooters.  Actually, they have two shooters: Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier.  So, why would should anyone expect them to hit a high percentage of free throws as a team?

The concerning thing about UGA’s free throw issues is that under Mark Fox, Georgia has never really shot the ball well from the line.  Only once in the last six years has a Mark Fox team finished above 70% from the stripe.  The one time it happened was in Fox’s first year, back in the 2009-2010 season.

Disappointing second halves

Last night, Georgia got pummeled by Baylor coming out of the locker room. The Bears went on a 17-2 run after the break, erasing UGA’s three-point halftime lead before most fans had a chance to return to their seats.

Georgia’s poor performance in the final 20 minutes of last night’s game was in line with what is becoming a trend this season.  Put simply: UGA hasn’t been getting it done in the scoring column after halftime.  On the season, the Dawgs rank 182 in the country in 2nd half scoring, with an average margin of -0.3.  Georgia is actually scoring more than their opponents at home after the break, sporting a positive margin of 2.3. But on the road, things have unraveled for UGA following the intermission, with opponents averaging nearly 6 more points per second half.  Interestingly, the Dawgs do average more points on the road than their opposition during the first twenty minutes; it’s those final twenty that have been doing Georgia in.

Serious depth issues

At the start of the season, Mark Fox was pleased with his team’s depth.

I wonder how he feels about it now?

Last night was the second time this week that UGA’s second leading scorer, Yante Maten, had to sit for an extended portion of the game due to foul trouble.  And when Yante sits, Georgia becomes very easy to defend, since without him they have virtually zero presence in the paint.

Prior to the start of the season, I said that Fox would need one of his freshman to step up immediately and fill the role vacated by Neme Djurisic. UGA needed someone to provide consistent scoring and rebounding at the fifth spot in the lineup.

So far, that hasn’t happened.

Collectively, Derek Ogbeide and Michael Edwards have replaced Djurisic’s rebounding and then some. Last year, Neme grabbed 5 boards a night; this season, the two frosh together are bringing in nearly 8 rebounds per game.

They haven’t filled Neme’s role as a scorer, though.  Djurisc netted 11 points a contest for Fox in his senior season, yet Ogbeide and Edwards are combining for just 6.5 a game.

I understand that they are both still young, but one of them needs to become more of a scoring threat sooner rather than later because right now Georgia is just too easy to guard, especially so when Maten in on the bench.

Ogbeide has shown flashes offensively, scoring a season-high 10 points at Ole Miss in January.  Last night in Waco, he had two nice post moves in the first half. However, he only played 16 minutes.  Ogbeide is either not fully-conditioned to play bigger minutes, or Fox doesn’t have the confidence in him yet to give him more time on the court.  If it’s the latter, I hope that Fox loosens the reigns as the season progresses because I think Ogbeide is ready for more.

 

Written by hoopdawg

January 31, 2016 at 1:43 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 fall to Tigers 89-85

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Three-point trouble

Despite being generally outplayed and out rebounded for the first twenty minutes of this one, Georgia found itself trailing LSU by just 3 points heading into the locker room, the score 33-30 in favor of the Tigers.  LSU struggled mightily from the perimeter before the break, missing all 7 of their attempts.

The second half was a different story, though.  The Tigers found their stroke from the outside, knocking down 6 of 12 shots from beyond the arc, which fueled the LSU win.

Georgia entered tonight’s game shooting over 40% from the perimeter in conference games, yet the Bulldogs shot an abysmal 6 for 23 from the outside.  Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier combined to shoot only 6 of 19 on the evening.

Fouls, fouls and more fouls

The referees in Baton Rouge whistled an astounding 55 fouls on Tuesday night.  This game marked the second time this season that the Dawgs have played in a game in which over 50 fouls were called (63 fouls were assessed in the Chattanooga game).  The game clock seemed to be moving in slow motion around the 10-minute mark of the second half, when nearly every trip down the floor resulted in a stoppage of play.

All of the fouling turned out to be more advantageous for the Tigers as they shot 55 free throws to Georgia’s 24. LSU standout Ben Simmons, who scored 22 points to go along with 14 rebounds, attempted 17 shots from the stripe himself; fortunately for UGA he only made 10 of those attempts.

Georgia’s leading scorer, Yante Maten, fouled out with over 9 minutes remaining in the contest, leaving with only 5 points in 20 minutes of play.

While LSU took more than double the free throws than UGA tonight, the Dawgs once again didn’t do themselves any favors from the line. Georgia entered this one making under 63% from the stripe in conference games, which ranks them 12 out of 14 in the league in that category.  This evening, UGA once again shot below 63% on its free throws, leaving precious points on the table in a game that Georgia lost 89-85.

 

Ball Security

Teams that want to go on the road and win conference games must protect the ball.

Georgia committed 12 turnovers against LSU in Baton Rouge, which is nowhere near their highest output of the season. However, the Tigers only gave the ball away 9 times, meaning that UGA once again finished a game with a negative turnover margin. The Dawgs came into this game with the 2nd worst turnover margin in the league in SEC games at -3.1. For a team that struggles enough as it is to score points, Georgia cannot afford to give its opponents extra offensive opportunities.

 

Written by hoopdawg

January 26, 2016 at 11:40 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

Dawgs torch Vols from the perimeter

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Trailing by 8 with just under 2 minutes remaining in the game, Tennessee had to have a stop in order to preserve any hopes of a potential comeback. The Vols came up short, though, as Georgia’s J.J. Frazier fittingly buried a three-pointer from the wing, capping off a game-high 28-point effort that sealed his team’s second conference victory of season.  Frazier’s three – his fourth of the night – gave the Dawgs a commanding 76-65 lead with only 1:13 left, and UGA went on the win the game 81-72.

Frazier and Kenny Gaines both shot the ball lights out on Wednesday night in Athens, hitting a combined 10 of their 15 attempts from beyond the arc.  Gaines, who finished with 23 points, made 6 three’s on the night, just three shy of the all time single game record of 9 set by G.G. Smith back in the 1990s.

Georgia actually trailed the Vols 35-28 at the break, but around the 13:00 mark of the second half Gaines and Frazier went off, hitting 5 consecutive shots – 4 of them three’s – over the next 3 minutes that sent the Dawgs on a 14-2 run that saw them take a 57-49 advantage with just over 10 minutes remaining in the contest. Tennessee never really recovered from this offensive outburst from Coach Mark Fox’s team.

UGA fell behind before the intermission due to extreme sloppiness.  In the first half, Georgia turned the ball over 16 times against a Vols’ defense that wasn’t applying THAT much pressure.  The Dawgs got their act together after the break though, giving the ball away only 4 more times.

Tennessee didn’t do itself any favors offensively, hoisting up 23 three-point attempts, yet connecting on just 6 of them. The Vols entered this game as a decent three-point shooting team, hitting over 35% of its shots from beyond the arc.  Unfortunately for coach Rick Barnes, his Volunteers couldn’t find the range in Athens this evening.

Tennessee was led offensively by Kevin Punter and Detrick Mostella, who scored 16 points apiece.

Coach Mark Fox’s team turned in its most dominant rebounding effort of the season, grabbing 43 boards to Tennessee’s 28.  UGA’s frontline was bolstered with the addition of Derek Ogbeide to the starting lineup, where the freshman hauled in 7 rebounds.  Yante Maten snagged 8 boards, though he only mustered 10 points of offense as he struggled somewhat from the floor, making just 5 of his 15 shots.  This game was Maten’s least productive one in a while, and hopefully it is just a blip in the road for what has been a magnificent sophomore season thus far.

Tonight’s  win puts the Dawgs at 9-5 overall and 2-2 in the SEC, which is basically right in the middle of the pack for now. UGA has a huge home game coming up this Saturday as they will take on #15 Texas A&M, a team that is currently a perfect 4-0 in conference play.  In addition to the perfect SEC record, the Aggies boast an RPI of 12.  Georgia’s RPI coming into tonight’s game was 65, and the Dawgs best RPI win this season came against Georgia Tech (40).

A win on Saturday would be an incredible NCAA Tournament resume-builder.

Written by hoopdawg

January 13, 2016 at 9:52 pm

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