Georgia Falls Short Against Washington 68-65

Well, the drive up I-85 into the Queen City on Friday was a lot more fun than the drive home today.

The first half of the game against Washington seemed eerily similar to the first half of the game against Alabama in the second round of the conference tournament.  In both games, Georgia had an opponent struggling to find offense, yet the Bulldogs couldn’t capitalize and create any significant separation on the scoreboard.

Last night, Washington went through a near nine-minute span in which they mustered just one field goal.  Georgia, however, was unable to step on the accelerator, and following a jumper by Scott Suggs the Huskies were only down 23-18 with 3:53 left before the half.

Washington started to figure out the Dawgs‘ zone defense near the end of the first half, and after a 12-5 Huskie run the teams went into intermission knotted-up at 28 apiece.

Coming out of the break, the Huskies looked like a completely different team than the one that played the first 20 minutes.  Washington’s pressure on their man defense was ferocious, forcing Georgia to start its offense from well beyond the perimeter – the Huskies nearly pressed the Dawgs into consecutive shot clock violations.  I honestly don’t recall the Dawgs facing a more intense half court defense all season.

Unfortunately for Georgia, Washington’s improved second-half defense was matched by some improved offense as well.  The Huskies knocked down 7 of their first 10 field goal attempts in the opening nine minutes after the break.  After shooting just 35.3% from the field in the first half, Washington connected on nearly 54% of their shots from the floor after intermission.

The Huskies star guard, Isiah Thomas, scored 17 of his 19 points in the game’s second half – he seemed unguardable at times.

This nine minute stretch that extended the Washington lead to 49-39 with only 11:15 left nearly closed the door on Georgia.

I say nearly because as many of you already know, this team has not quit when they have been down this season, and last night was no different.

The Bulldogs fought and clawed and were down by just 2 points with 7 seconds left following a Trey Thompkins three-pointer – Trey played great by the way, leading his team with 26 points and 11 rebounds.

After a missed free throw by Washington’s C.J. Wilcox, the Dawgs’ Travis Leslie launched a last-second three that would have sent the game into overtime – but fate had other plans as the shot came up short.

It’s funny, but I think my favorite moment of this entire season came just minutes after it ended.

Time Warner Arena was not nearly close to capacity for the Georgia-Washington game last night, but there were a good number of very-spirited Bulldog fans in attendance.

After the final horn had sounded and the teams began exiting the court, the entire UGA fan base, in an act of pure class, rose from their seats and gave this Georgia basketball team a standing ovation.  The Bulldog fans recognized that these 18-, 19- and 20-year-old kids had poured everything they had into this season and into getting to this NCAA tournament game, and they rewarded them with applause.

Mark Fox and this group of players have transformed Georgia basketball from a perennial loser into a relevant SEC program – and in just two years!

The Bulldogs earned an at-large bid to the this year’s NCAA tournament, and proved last night that they belonged.

Georgia beat the SEC Tournament Champion Kentucky Wildcats earlier this year – a team that just advanced to the Sweet 16 of this tournament following their win over West Virginia earlier this afternoon.  The Dawgs took both the Big East regular season runner-up (Notre Dame) and the SEC regular season champion (Florida) to double-overtime.

Even though the Bulldogs came up just a little short last night against the Huskies, it was still extremely cool to see them participating in the NCAA’s, and I think we should all be proud of what these guys accomplished this season.

8 thoughts on “Georgia Falls Short Against Washington 68-65

  1. It was a FUN and at time frustrating season. It’s nice to have a chance in basketball now. I hope we can continue to build and look forward to next season. It would be cool if Thompkins and Leslie stayed, but I wouldn’t count on TT staying. Leslie should come back definitely though. I will miss Price’s goofy butt. Good season


  2. Thanks for a great blog dedicated to b-ball! It was an excellent season in many respects.

    These were my thoughts last night, immediately after the game:
    In an alternate universe, Brian Williams is called for a foul…Erving Walker doesn’t hit a long distance three…and Travis Leslie banks in the game tying 3 to force overtime which propels UGA to a national championship. But not in this universe.


  3. I am proud of the Dawgs too. Hopefully this season was a building block to being a real SEC contendor each year.

    Great work on the blog all season hoopdawg.


  4. Excellent analysis as usual, hoopdawg. This team fought all year long. The only double-digit loss was that 2OT mishap vs. Florida.

    I love the fact that the team found its FT stroke in conference play. I love their never-say-die mentality. I was pleasantly surprised by the UGA fan turnout last night in Charlotte. It is still GREAT TO BE A GEORGIA BULLDOG!


  5. It was hard to tell from TV but were the Carolina people with UGA or with Washington last night? Several observations. First, it hurt that Leslie got robbed on that putback fairly early in the second half. Replay shows the refs clearly blew it and the call allowed UW to continue their runout to a 10-point lead. Did they show a replay in the arena? Second, the CBS crew was very impressed with both Thomkins and Leslie. Clark Kellogg admitted that this was the first time he’d seen Trey live and that he was a lot better than Kellogg had thought he was, showing an ability to play both facing and with his back to the basket and having an excellent perspective on the flow of the action. He also said he hoped both these guys would stay in school. Finally I’ll just reflect that this was a frustrating season in many ways. I’ll certainly take it, but I also realize how close we were to a 26-27 win campaign and know that we’d get there next year if only we could somehow get Trey and Travis to stay.
    P.S. I, like you Hoop, knew that failure to seperate themselves from the offensively challenged Huskies in the first half would come back to bite them.


  6. Great blog.

    Wonderful season if you compare to the recent past. It was maddening with frustrations but in the end satisfying knowing that we have a solid stepping stone to future success.

    go dawgs


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