Georgia Clips Arkansas 60-59 in “Snow Game”

The Georgia Bulldogs (15-6; 4-4) might have gotten some help from “Old Lady Luck” on Wednesday night, as former legendary Bulldog radio announcer Larry Munson might have said.  Or, it could have just been some well-deserved Karma after the way the Tennessee game ended in Athens last month.

Either way, Trey Thompkins buried a free throw with only 1.4 seconds left to salvage a 60-59 win, and quite possibly his team’s season.

Georgia had the ball with the game knotted-up at 59-59 and just 23 seconds remaining.  Thompkins received the ball on the block and missed a turnaround jumper, but he followed his shot and got fouled on his second attempt.

Arkansas Coach John Pelfrey, his team and his fans all looked on in disbelief as Trey proceeded to finish them off from the charity stripe.

It was surprising how exciting the second half was considering that the first half of this game was one of the uglier halves of basketball that I have witnessed this season.

For the second consecutive game, Trey Thompkins got into foul trouble early and was forced to miss considerable time.  On Wednesday night, Trey picked up his second foul with 14:30 remaining, and Coach Mark Fox was forced (once again) to sit his star player for nearly the entire first half.

When Trey Thompkins isn’t playing, Georgia’s offense tends to slow to a standstill.  As a team, Georgia shot under 30% in the first half and they didn’t connect on a single three-point attempt.

The Dawgs played very strong defense from the opening tip however, and that is what kept them in this game.  Georgia shut down Arkansas’s Rotnei Clarke, who was coming off a 36-point performance in his team’s win over Vanderbilt last Saturday.  The Dawgs limited Clarke to just 5 points in the first half, and he finished with just 8 points (and Arkansas is now 0-4 in SEC games this season when he fails to score in double-digits).

Despite not having the preseason SEC Player of the Year for most of the game’s first half, the Dawgs went into the break only down 25-22.

The second half was a totally different story for Georgia offensively.  Thompkins came out and scored the team’s first 6 points, giving his team a 28-26 lead – their first of the game.  After putting up a goose egg in the first half, Trey shot 5 of 7 from the floor and poured in 12 points in the second.

As a team, Georgia shot a much-improved 51.7% from the floor in the second half, as well as connecting on 4 of their 6 attempts from beyond the arc.

Gerald Robinson, who had a semi-erratic opening half (0 assists to 3 turnovers), scored 8 of his team-high 14 points after the intermission.  GR2 was much more aggressive after the break, attacking the basket and scoring 3 of his 4 field goals on lay-ups.

Jeremy Price hit a couple big shots late in the game and finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds, but he didn’t look very good doing it.  Price shot just 4 of 12 from the floor, and gave Georgia fans a glimpse of what life might be like if Trey Thompkins had never signed with the Dawgs.

Dustin Ware was solid as a rock once again for Coach Fox, hitting timely baskets throughout the game and scoring 9 points on 60% shooting from the floor.  Ware also grabbed 6 boards and dished out a team-high 5 assists, and most importantly, he didn’t commit a single turnover.  Dustin yields a lot of the media attention to his All-SEC teammates, but he continues to play the role of “Mr. Consistent” and he is the glue that holds this bunch together.

Arkansas only had one player score in double-figures (Marshawn Powell had 16) on Wednesday, and the Hogs were plagued by atrocious free throw shooting.  The Razorbacks made just 11 of 20 from the line (55%), easily the difference in the game.

All things considered, it was a pretty ugly win….but I’ll take it.

Georgia came into the game with a sub .500 conference record, and a loss would have put them at 3-5 in the SEC (with little chance of reaching 8-8 or 9-7).  But the Dawgs gathered themselves at the break and came out and won a big conference road game, bolstering their record to 4-4.

Georgia has now won 2 SEC road games already this season, a feat that they failed to accomplish last year – yet another sign of this team’s improvement and maturity.

The Bulldogs get Auburn (1-6) back in Athens on Saturday in a game that they should win (easily?).

As bad as things seemed last week with losses to Florida and Kentucky, Georgia now has an opportunity to bounce back in a serious way and get their conference record back above .500.

It sounded like the Dawgs did their best “Trains, Planes and Automobiles” imitation en route to Fayetteville, and I was proud to see them step up and do what they had to do to get the win.

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10 thoughts on “Georgia Clips Arkansas 60-59 in “Snow Game”

  1. Huge Win! Bout time we got a call! I think the key stretch was when we went down 8-9 pts in the first half and Conner Nolte came on the court and just brought a ton of energy and effort. He played smart(other than he should have kicked 1 out on an offensive rebound) and really was active on the defensive end. Thorton continues to play solid D and rebounds well, would love to get some O from him, we really need him to step up.

    The bad thing is I thought Leslie was tenative and did not play w/ any confidence. We have got to start getting some good games out of him. He did hit a big 3 in the 2nd half to get us a 5 pt. lead. Thought we should have played TO late in the second a little better. Think when we were up 6 and had the ball w/ little under 3 min left and Trey was out we should have taken the TO to get him back in the game.

    Next 4 games will be huge…Next 3 SEC games can make the season. We are back in decent shape w/ two road wins. Protect the house and get 1 on the road and we should be in tourney!

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    1. Luke, I was screaming at the TV as well for timeouts at the end of the game…I understood that Barnes was in on the defensive end to preserve Trey, but we had 2 possessions (I believe) with less than 3 minutes left with our best offensive player on the bench.

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  2. I was thinking the same thing when Nolte came in. He really added a spark.

    Does anyone else cringe whenever Price gets the ball about 10-15 feet from the basket? He did make at least one of those shots, but everytime he gets it I’m almost screaming at the TV/Computer …. “PASS!”

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    1. I get more nervous when he gets it on the block. Sometimes he makes a decent post move, while other times it’s like watching a very slow train wreck (the wreck being either his shot getting blocked or missing badly).

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    2. I agree completely. Jeremy hustles all of the time and is reasonably dependable down low on offense. That being said, I definitely cringe when he gets the ball away from the basket and doesn’t immediately pass it. I commend him on his FT shooting this year though.

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  3. It’s good that the ‘Dawgs came out on the winning side of a close game for a change. I was afraid their travel complications may have created enough stress to affect the outcome, but they were able to pull off the win. Go ‘Dawgs!

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  4. I agree with Luke and DC Dawg that Nolte provided a noticable boost to the team. I would like to see him get in for a few minutes each half.

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    1. I predict that you’ll see a lot of Conner Nolte, if not this year, then next, if either Trey or Travis or both leave. And for two reasons. First CMF will need some senior leadership up front with a depleted front line. Second, and of lesser importance), CMF wants to recruit Conner’s bro.
      Big win last night. From the description of the game, however, I’m almost glad I don’t get CSS on Direct TV and only heard the last half minute on the radio.

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  5. Tough win on the road. As mentioned, the defense played well enough to let the offense get some rhythm. Yeah, it was ugly, but this team had a crisis of confidence to overcome because of the tough home losses. Hope Leslie can get untracked and we can fix the early turnover issues.

    Oh, and ESPN3 hurts my head.

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