Xavier Hands Georgia Third Home Loss of Season

The Georgia Bulldogs‘ offense came to a screeching halt in the second half of the game on Tuesday night, and the Dawgs fell 65-57 to the Xavier Musketeers.

Georgia (16-7; 5-4) played solid defense for a majority of the game, mixing some 3-2 zone into their man sets and limiting the X-Men to just 37% from the field.

But it was the Dawgs’ offense that killed them on Tuesday.

In the first half, Georgia’s offense was pretty efficient – 46.2% on field goal attempts and 10 team assists.  Georgia burned Xavier on a multitude of backdoor cuts.

After the intermission, however, all that stopped.

Xavier coach Chris Mack adjusted his team’s strategy on defense.  The Musketeers brought double-teams to Trey Thompkins every time he touched the ball inside, and Thompkins and company did not handle the pressure very well.  After scoring 10 points on 5 of 7 shooting in the first half, Trey posted just 4 points after the break and was limited to only one field goal.  As a team, the Dawgs shot an abysimal 32.1% on field goal attempts in the second half.

This was not the first time this season that an opponent has decided to double Trey on the block, however, Georgia continues to appear lost when they see this look.  Coach Mark Fox must do a better job of having his players prepared to attack and take advantage when they see the second defender moving over to Thompkins.

The Dawgs had there chances to win in this one, but they failed to capitalize on their opportunities.  With under eight minutes to play and Xavier up just 47-44, Georgia turned the ball over on consecutive trips down the court.

When Trey Thompkins fouled out with 2:42 remaining and Georgia trailing 54-50, things were starting to look rather bleak.  Then Tu Holloway made both free throws, extending the lead to 56-50 and putting the game out of reach (especially for a Dawgs team that was now without its best player).

Trey’s fifth foul was especially unique considering that when he “fouled” Holloway he was lying face down on the floor.  In short, it was vicious.

Gerald Robinson, though slightly reckless on offense (4 turnovers to 2 assists), did an excellent job defending Xavier’s Tu Holloway.  Holloway, who came into the game averaging over 20 points per game, didn’t score a field goal until hitting a three-pointer with 13:27 left in the game.  He did lead all scorers with 18 points, but 8 of them came on free throws at the end of the game when Georgia was forced to foul.  Robinson was persistent in his defense of Holloway, and he frustrated him into shooting just 3 of 13 from the floor.

Georgia has now lost three straight Tuesday night home games (with Tennessee and Florida being the other two).

The Dawgs’ NCAA tournament resume now has a nasty little stain on it – their 2-7 record against the RPI Top 50.  As I mentioned before the game, strong RPI records can carry teams to at-large berths in March.  Georgia will likely have three more games this season against teams in the top 50 of the RPI rating – Vanderbilt at home and then road trips to Tennessee and Florida.

It is beginning to look as though the Dawgs will not be showcasing a very impressive RPI Top 50 record come season’s end.

For Georgia to dance in March, the Dawgs now must have a winning conference record (or win the SEC Tournament I suppose).  Mark Fox’s Bulldogs will need to win out at home, and steal another one on the road if they hope to reach a 9-7 SEC record.  The Dawgs have four remaining away games this season (South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama), with the one in Columbia this Saturday seeming to be their best opportunity for a win.

Another concern right now is that Georgia is beginning to look like a team that cannot win big games.  Since the win against Kentucky to open SEC play back in early January, the Dawgs have dropped games to Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Florida, Kentucky (in Lexington) and now Xavier (a nationally televised ESPNU game to boot).

They don’t exactly appear to be a team that is getting better as the season progresses, do they?

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13 thoughts on “Xavier Hands Georgia Third Home Loss of Season

  1. While the officiating was not good, lets not blame the refs for the loss- this was a matter of a team not playing well, in the last 10 minutes of the game when it mattered the most our guards got dominated. Our on ball defense was not good, bad shot selection, turnovers and we did not seem to play with any passion. If Thompkins takes another garbage 3 so he can bolster his scoring average, I am going to punch a hole in my television, can we also learn how to pass the ball out of the double team. Can we get more than one effective game in a row from Price? why is our best three point shooter, Ware, only taking 2-3 shots right now and we have got everybody else in the world jacking it up. I am really frustrated because at least year we beat some teams going to the tourney, right now we have only beat one-Kentucky. I thought by this point in the season we would have more answeres than questions and in reality it is the other way around.

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  2. We didn’t get the game here in west Alabama, so I didn’t get to see it, but it sounds from your description that a lot of the same old problems are haunting the Dawgs again. It seems in multiple games this season teams have exposed Georgia’s lack of a consistent secondary scoring threat who can make them pay when they double or triple team Trey. On good nights, Leslie, Robinson, Ware, or Price might fill that role, but it seems like on our bad nights none of them are able to do so.

    All the same, still plenty of time to right the ship, but you’re right – this team doesn’t seem to be improving as the year goes on, which is something I would expect Fox to be able to do.

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  3. Trey continues to flop against the double-team. If he cannot learn to pass to the open man out of the double-team Georgia is going nowhere fast. There were a couple times last night where Trey actually dribbled it to the corner when the double-team came. No, no, no!

    GR2 is not starting the offense with penetration and has been careless with the ball.

    Ware seems to be the team’s only outside shooter and he takes the least outside shots.

    Team defense is not very good – no one seems to rotate into the lane to help stop the dribble-drive. Game after game the other team is able to drive it right down the middle of the lane. And lets not even bring up the zone defense we saw at Rupp.

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    1. I thought the defense was actually pretty good last night.

      Xavier came into the game averaging 72.5 points with a team field goal percentage of 45.7%. Georgia limited them to just 65 points, and held them to only 37% from the floor.

      Robinson kept All-American guard Tu Holloway scoreless for 27 minutes.

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    2. Wow Negative Dawg, I see where you get your name. Remember that this team is trying to work its way up from basketball wasteland.

      Trey will get it figured out.

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  4. I expected the Dawgs to play lights out after the last 2 close games against inferior opponents, but they couldn’t make the shots when they were needed. Respect their defense last night, but not their passion. And, as I posted before the game, I do believe they are getting hammered by the refs. It seemed every ticky-tack touch was a foul, but when they got mauled on some possessions, nothing was called. I just don’t get it. Oh well, maybe they can turn it up a notch down the home stretch to the tourney.

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  5. If we needed to win 1 game this week it was not this one. If we beat SC this weekend I feel like we are going to be ok. 7 games in conf left got to find away to go 4-3 at worst. Home games are must wins. Vandy would count as QW…The others will not…Would be nice to beat UT or UF but that aint happening.

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    1. I keep saying hat I count nothing as a given for this team, which is STILL trying to learn to win. Yet I am not as pessimestic as some, for it is certainly within the relm of possibility to win at either florida or tennessee, (or both). I heartily agree with those who say that Trey needs to learn how to pass out of the double team. But guess what–others need to learn to work to get open so he has somebody to pass to rather than standing around to see what Trey will do with his shot. I, too was amazed with GR2’s defense against Holloway for the first 2/3rds of the game and, in fact, was dismayed when we went to the zone and forced others to defense him. Throwing the ball to Barnes down low should be a No-go unless there is no one within 3 feet of him. And to complete this stream-of-consciousness post, I really would suggest that CMF tell Trey that he is a poor 3-point shooter and to refrain from so doing unless otherwise at risk of a clock violation.

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      1. I thought the reason we went to the zone is b/c we can not stop the on ball penetration in pick and roll situations. We struggle mightily vs pick and roll and was really the reason we lost the game. Turning point of the game was the and one on the pick and role when we were up 5 and had uncle MO. We have got to play better help defense(see Pitt D) or we will lose at least 4 more games in conf. or more. I agree with Hoopdawg that we played fairly good D but we did not defend the pick/roll late well at all.

        Our gaurd play is bad right now, Robinson has got to play lights out the rest of the year for us to have a shot. We need him to ave. 14-18 pts for the remainder of the season to take some pressure of Thompkins and Leslie. Early in the year when he played well it wasn’t a coincedence the team played well. I never thought I would say this but we miss McPhee. Ware shoots well but he is not quick enough to get open and he is limited in his range(1-2 steps beyond the arc.) McPhee would extend to NBA 3 shots and opened up offense a little more. He was very smart player too. We do not play smart basketball at times and try to force the issue.

        Sorry for the rant but this team is frustrating.

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