Georgia Falls 70-68 to Colorado

The Georgia Bulldogs (4-3) fought and clawed all the way to the final horn before coming up short in their second straight loss, losing 70-68 to the Colorado Buffaloes.

In his post-game interview, Coach Mark Fox cited “critical errors” – like missing a block-out assignment or not covering an in-bounds play down the stretch – as some of the reasons his young Bulldog team lost to the Buffs on Monday night.

The Bulldogs took a 38-34 lead into the intermission, only to come out flat (once again) for the first four minutes of the second half.  Colorado went on an 11-1 run after the break, holding the Dawgs without a field goal until nearly eight minutes had passed in the second half.  Georgia played from behind for the remainder of the game, unable to cut into the Colorado lead (until it was too late).

After shooting nearly 50% from the floor in the first half, the Dawgs went ice-cold after the intermission, connecting on just 34.5% of their field goals.

Georgia was unable to slow down Colorado big Andre Roberson, who carried the Buffs with 15 points and 15 rebounds.  Roberson’s biggest board came at a critical juncture in the game, with his team leading the Dawgs 63-56 and running out of shot clock time.  He beat Marcus Thornton to the ball off of a miss, drawing a foul on Thornton in the process.  After making one of two from the free throw line, Johnson’s team was now up 64-56 with less than 2 minutes remaining.

Thornton had another tough night offensively, going 0 for 5 from the floor en route to zero points.  He did bring down 5 rebounds, but also managed to commit 2 turnovers.

Coach Mark Fox did get some nice production off the bench from a couple of his frontcourt reserves.  Sophomore center John Florveus had his best night as a Bulldog yet, hauling down 7 rebounds and chipping in 4 points in 22 minutes of play.  Freshman Nemanja Djurisic scored 6 points and grabbed 6 boards in only 14 minutes on the court.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Dawgs in scoring with 15 points, but he shot a dismal 6 of 17 from the floor.  After a strong first half that included 10 points on 4 of 7 shooting, Pope couldn’t find the basket after the break.

The biggest bright spot for Coach Mark Fox’s team was the improved play of senior guard Gerald Robinson, Jr.  GR2 was once again not in the starting line up, but he responded by pouring in 14 points and dishing out 3 assists (on 6 of 9 shooting).  Robinson looked in control when he was on the court, and most importantly, he committed just one turnover.

After a four-game stretch away from Athens, the Bulldogs return to Stegeman this Friday night as they take on the Cincinnati Bearcats at 7:00pm.  This game is probably being looked at by most Dawgs fans as more of an appetizer before Saturday’s main course that is the SEC Football Championship in Atlanta.

For a UGA basketball team that has dropped 3 of its last 4 games, however, the contest on Friday represents an opportunity to get a quality win over another Big East opponent.

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Georgia Heads to Boulder Monday Night

Life on the road continues for Coach Mark Fox’s Georgia Bulldogs (4-2) on Monday night as they travel to Boulder, Colorado to take on the Colorado Buffaloes (3-2).  at 8:30pm EST.  The Buffaloes are a relatively inexperienced team that is trying to find offense after losing their dynamic guard duo of Alec Burks and Corey Higgins from last season’s team – Burks and Higgins combined to average nearly 37 points per game for the Buffaloes a year ago.

These two teams met in Athens last season, where the Bulldogs topped Colorado 84-74 behind 21 points and 6 assists from Gerald Robinson, Jr.

The Buffaloes start a four-guard lineup that is connecting on 47% of their field goals and nearly 40% of their three-point attempts.  Technically, Andre Robertson is listed as a guard – but the 6’7″ sophomore leads the team in rebounding with 11.4 per contest, to go along with 10.4 ppg.

The Buffs’ other leading scorers are seniors Carlon Brown and Austin Default.  Brown is a tall guard that is netting a team high 16.2 ppg, and Default is the lone starting forward on Colorado, averaging 13.8 ppg and 6.6 rpg.

The game against Colorado marks the Dawgs’ second true road contest of the young season, with the first one coming last Friday night in a 70-56 loss at #12 Xavier.  Coach Mark Fox’s team has been struggling to find an identity so far this year, but poor shooting and rebounding have been hallmarks throughout the first six games (except for the Notre Dame game).

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope came into the season with the reputation of being a phenomenal outside shooter, but his 38.6% field goal shooting tells a slightly different story.  I realize that KCP is still learning and adjusting to the speed of the college game, but if he could start knocking down a few more shots and free throws his 13.3 ppg would jump to 17 or 18 (he’s making only 55% of his FT attempts).

Coach Fox has clearly been disappointed with Gerald Robinson’s slow start to the season, limiting his senior guard to just 20 minutes per game over the past three contests.  In that same span of games, GR2 has committed an unsightly 13 turnovers.  Robinson has looked out of control and careless with the basketball, which makes life hard on a Georgia team that was expecting to lean heavily on GR2 for his scoring and play-making ability coming into this season.

I am not sure how I expect this basketball season to unfold for the Georgia Bulldogs – I am optimistically hopeful that they improve as the year progresses.  For the Dawgs to show improvement though, they have to start playing to their strengths, which is their guard play.  Georgia guards GR2, KCP and Dustin Ware are shooting a combined 37.1% from the floor, and they have more turnovers than assists after 6 games.

If Coach Fox can start getting more consistent play from his backcourt, this Bulldog team could be competitive in most of its games this season.