Vanderbilt Stops Georgia’s Streak at Nine

All good things must come to an end, and last night, it was the Georgia Bulldogs‘ (12-3; 1-1) nine-game winning streak.

The Vanderbilt Commodores (12-3; 1-1) played an excellent game both defensively and offensively en route to a 73-66 win over the Dawgs.

Georgia looked out-of-sync from the start, and for the most part the Dawgs never found their rhythm on offense.  Vandy jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead to open the game, a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish (Georgia was never able to tie the game).

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings had a sound game plan on defense, frequently changing from zone to man-to-man.  The result: Georgia struggled to get the ball inside, and they were forced to take a lot of three-point shots (not a forte of this Dawgs team).

The Commodores defended Georgia’s Trey Thompkins perfectly, making it very difficult for him to receive the ball on the block.  When Trey did get the ball inside, he was consistently met with a double-team – probably a reason why he finished with just 13 points on 5 of 14 shooting from the field (Thompkins only scored 4 points in the game’s second half).

As I already mentioned, the Dawgs settled for WAY too many three-point attempts, connecting on just 5 of 21.  Coming into the game, Georgia was only shooting 13 three-pointers per contest – which is probably for the best since the Dawgs are barely over 30% as a team from beyond the arc.  Hoisting up 20+ shots from three-point range could not have been in Coach Mark Fox’s pregame plan, and kudos to the Commodores for forcing Georgia out of their offense.

Vanderbilt center Festus Ezeli was unstoppable in the paint, feasting on Georgia bigs Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes.  Ezeli seemed to score every time he touched the ball inside, finishing the game with 18 points and 10 rebounds.  He fouled out Jeremy Price and drew 4 fouls on Chris Barnes, with the two bigs combining for just 2 points, 3 rebounds and 9 personal fouls.

The lone bright spots for the Dawgs in Wednesday night’s loss had to be Gerald Robinson, Jr. and Travis Leslie.  Robinson, a native of Tennessee, opened the game with 3 three-point field goals.  In the second half, GR2 was sensational off the dribble, scoring on a plethora of lay-ups and keeping Georgia in the game – he finished with 20 points in what was maybe his best offensive effort this season.  Robinson connected on 2 free throws to cut the Vandy lead to 56-53 with 10:34 left, but this was as close as Georgia would get.

Travis Leslie put in another solid effort, leading the Dawgs with 21 points, 13 rebounds (10 of which came on the offensive glass) and 5 assists.  He did a nice job of moving without the ball and getting himself in good positions to convert field goals.

One point of concern for Georgia in last night’s game was the fact that Thompkins, Robinson and Leslie scored 54 of the team’s 66 total points (or 82% of the offense).  The Dawgs are averaging 70 points per game as a team this year, with those three netting a combined 45.4 (or 65%).  If Georgia is going to be successful on the road moving forward, Coach Fox has to get more from his “role players”.  Dustin Ware, Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes combined for just 5 total points.

I would like to highlight the play of Georgia freshman Donte Williams, who did give Coach Fox some good minutes off the bench.  Williams knocked down a jump-shot from the wing, and he made two nice assists to a slashing Travis Leslie.

This was Georgia’s ninth-straight SEC road loss under Coach Fox.  Honestly though, I didn’t have a very good feeling going into this game.  Georgia was coming off of a huge win (Kentucky), and Vandy was dealing with a tough loss (South Carolina).  For whatever reason, Georgia seems to always struggle at Vanderbilt, and last night was no different.

Not to mention that Vanderbilt has a very good team, and they should wind up representing the Southeastern conference in this year’s NCAA Tournament.  Sophomore John Jenkins (18 points) and junior Jeffrey Taylor (15 points) are both All-SEC caliber players, and Georgia will need to find a way to slow these guys down when they see them later this season in Athens.

Georgia has a short turnaround before playing another SEC road game this Saturday at Mississippi.

10 thoughts on “Vanderbilt Stops Georgia’s Streak at Nine

  1. Not surprised that we lost last night, but still frustrated at how we lost, I have mentioned several times on this blog, that I have been very disappointed in the play of Price and last night did nothing but affirm my opinion. We got nothing out of him, he is not quick enough to play defense on the block once the guy gets the ball 3 feet from the rim, he has to work harder on position defense before his man gets the ball. I have noticed that if he misses his first couple of shots and gets a quick foul, he starts to pout. Ezeli killed us last night, and he also beat Barnes up and down the floor several times. I thought Dontae Williams played well last night when he was in, and Nolte played his tail off. GR2 had a solid game , but not much from Ware. Maybe we can get one at Ole Miss on SAturday night.


  2. You hit the nail on the head about getting some role players to contribute. When someone like Price or Ware play well, we’re a much better team.

    Overall, a lot of great teams end up losing in Nashville, so it’s not a huge loss. Let’s see if Fox can get the ship righted in Starkville this Saturday. Considering how stacked the east is, the Dawgs really need to get some wins against these western SEC teams.


  3. I finally found the game (up on the 700 band of channels on Direct TV) just before the tip and was almost sorry I had. I didn’t have a very good feeling about this one either given our history in Nashville (including but not limited to the heartbreak of last year when with a 3-point lead late, one of our guards missed two foul shots, either of which would have iced the game).But that was last year. I hope we can shake this off, come up with a plan to un-stall our offense against the sets that everyone is likely to throw at us now, and prevail at Ole Miss on Saturday. I hate to say this given our recent history, but I really believe that Ware needs to work harder at getting free and hitting a FEW threes to loosen things up a bit. I just wish he had that hunger to get free that Rickey had last year.


    1. Oh, you’re right – we’re at Ole Miss. I thought we were at State for some reason. Those Rebs have looked pretty good this season. I think they might win the west.


  4. Nolte looked good last night as well. Coach Fox said it best on the post-game show: “We didn’t play well enough to win last night.”


  5. I was on a plane last night during the game and was disappointed to see the result. Although historically we (along with just about everyone else) has had a tough time at Vandy, don’t forget that we came very close to winning there last year. In my opinion, some questionable officiating ended up costing us the game.

    Was Ezeli really dominating inside or was he just getting the calls? The Aussie last year was “fouled” anytime we breathed in his direction.

    In order to regain the momentum, winning in Oxford is essential. I was glad to see our FT percentage was good again last night. It’s time to hunker down.


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