Vanderbilt freshman John Jenkins (yes, only a freshman) did not want Mark Fox’s Georgia Bulldogs to advance to the next round of this year’s SEC tournament.
Jenkins took over the second half of this game, hitting 4 three-pointers and scoring 22 of his 25 points. It didn’t matter what defense the Dawgs were in throughout the second half, the Vanderbilt freshman got plenty of nice looks from beyond the arc (and he certainly capitalized).
For most of the night, Georgia’s defense looked a bit sloppy. The Dawgs allowed the ‘Dores to connect on 9 of 18 three-point attempts, which essentially was the difference in the game.
It didn’t help that Georgia got out-rebounded 37 to 29, a statistic that the Dawgs have typically dominated in many games this season.
On offense, the Dawgs leading scorer and All-SEC performer, Trey Thompkins, did not convert a basket until one minute into the second half. Thompkins struggled most of the night on the block, shooting only 6 of 15 from the floor and finishing with 13 points. Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings had his bigs doubling on Thompkins in the paint at the beginning of the game, and this seemed to take Trey out of his rhythm. Unfortunately for Georgia, he never really found it either.
Vanderbilt had two key runs in this game that seemed to seal Georgia’s fate. The first came with 5:03 remaining before the break, when the Commodores went on a 12-2 run to go into halftime up 35-27. During this five-minute span, the Dawgs went 0 for 9 from the field and looked pretty disorganized on offense.
The second big run for Vandy came in the second half with 11:12 left to play and Georgia trailing 50-44. Using a barrage of Jenkins’ three’s, the Commodores were able to go on a 19-7 run that put them up 69-51 with only 5:31 left in the game (but for all intensive purposes, the game was already over).
Georgia’s Travis Leslie had the best game of his young career, scoring 34 points on 12 of 23 shooting from the floor. He also brought down 6 rebounds (5 offensive) and tallied up 4 steals. He almost single-handedly kept the Dawgs in the game for the first 30 minutes.
The Dawgs best opportunity to overtake Vanderbilt came in the second half with 15:24 remaining in the game. Vanderbilt’s A.J. Ogilvy and Jeffrey Taylor were both on the bench with 3 fouls apiece. The Dawgs were only down 42-38, yet they were not able to capitalize with the Vandy bigs on the bench in foul trouble. The lead would never be as low as four points again in the game.
Honestly, the Dawgs looked pretty tired in the second half. Most of the Georgia starters have played 30+ minutes a game for a majority of the season, and considering that this was their second game in as many days it might have taken a toll on their legs (except for Leslie’s) and their team defense.
Mark Fox’s first Georgia basketball team finishes the season at 14-17 overall.