The Georgia Bulldogs (7-2) built up a 19-point lead over the Arkansas State Red Wolves (3-7) with 7:35 remaining in the game following a Trey Thompkins jumper.
But the end of this game was anything but smooth sailing.
The Dawgs had to withstand a furious 17-5 Arkansas State run that got the game as close 66-59 with 1:34 left before holding on to close out the game.
Red Wolf senior guard Donald Boone had only 2 points after 33 minutes of play, but quickly caught fire and buried four three-pointers during his team’s late push. Boone finished the game with a team-high 14 points, 12 of which came in the second half.
Georgia got out to a slow start (as might be expected after an 11-day break from the hardwood), but they were able to build up a 36-27 lead going into the break. The Dawgs looked pretty solid for the game’s first 30+ minutes, especially on offense where they shot nearly 52% from the field as a team.
The offense today might have looked the best it has all season, with Georgia racking up 20 assists to just 12 turnovers – the Dawgs‘ passing was superb. Dustin Ware (7 assists) and Gerald Robinson, Jr. (4 assists) both did a great job of feeding the ball inside and hitting the cutters coming down the middle of the lane. The official statistics only had Trey Thompkins down for one assist, but I could have sworn he had at least two on entry passes to fellow big Chris Barnes…I could be wrong though.
Though Thompkins led the Dawgs in scoring with 15 points, I felt like this was one of the better games that Chris Barnes has had as a Bulldog, thus making him worthy of the “Player of the Game” award (no hardware included). Barnes finished with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 monster block late in the second half against ASU big Martavius Adams – Chris was just reminding Adams (a Georgia native) how not to take the ball to the basket when in the state of Georgia. Barnes did a great job of asserting himself on offense by establishing great position near the basket, connecting on 5 of his 6 field goal attempts.
It was nice to see Travis Leslie getting back into an offensive rhythm, especially in a game that was played at a fairly slow tempo. Leslie finished the game with 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the field – none of which were dunks. He was scoring on mid-range jump and turn-around shots – he did a nice job of letting the game come to him. Leslie led the Dawgs in with a team-high 8 rebounds, and he also chipped in 3 assists.
Georgia’s trio of bigs – Thompkins, Price and Barnes – defended Martavius Adams beautifully on Saturday, limiting him to just 9 points on 2 of 8 shooting from the floor. Adams never really looked comfortable on the block all game, and I credit that to the efforts by the Georgia’s defenders.
And finally, I was pleasantly surprised by the fan turnout for this game considering the early holiday tip-off time. I think the official attendance was listed at just over 6,000 people, which isn’t anywhere close to full, but certainly not too shabby.
Did anyone else go to or watch the game? Any thoughts?