The Georgia Bulldogs (4-4) lost their third game in a row on Friday night, blowing a nine-point first-half lead to the Cincinnati Bearcats. This game was similar to the losses to both Xavier and Colorado – Georgia played a decent opening half only to fizzle coming out of the break.
In Friday night’s contest, the Dawgs‘ offense was anemic following the intermission, scoring only 8 points in over 13 minutes of play. The Bearcats capitalized on the Georgia drought, scoring 19 points during the same time span to take a 40-38 lead. After two incredibly lucky offensive possessions by UGA, which included Dustin Ware being fouled on a fade away three-pointer with the shot clock expiring and Marcus Thornton scoring on a self-pass, Georgia went up 43-40.
Unfortunately, Coach Mark Fox kept his team in a 3-2 zone that left Dion Dixon wide open, allowing him to bury 3 three-pointers and also the Dawgs. After Dixon’s onslaught from the perimeter, Georgia trialed Cincy 49-43 with only 2:44 left – the Dawgs were unable to overcome this last burst of offense by the Bearcats.
Dixon wasn’t the only Bearcat hurting Georgia from the outside on Friday night – Sean Kilpatrick, who lead all Cincy scorers with 22 points, knocked down 3 of his 4 threes in the game’s second half. The Dawgs were unable to rotate their zone to Kilpatrick in the corner, where he stood and shot uncontested three after uncontested three.
Fox’s game management in the last 5 minutes was certainly difficult to understand. With the game tied at 43-43, Georgia had Dustin Ware, Vincent Williams, Nemanja Djurisic, Donte Williams and Marcus Thornton on the floor – in other words, they didn’t have either of their only two players (KCP or GR2) on the court who could create their own shot. Fox stuck with this group for the next 2 minutes, and they amassed 2 turnovers and 2 missed field goals, while Cincy built up a 49-43 lead.
Interestingly, Coach Mark Fox opted not to call a timeout to get his best scorers back into the game for some key possessions, and it might have cost his team an opportunity to come away with a win on Friday night.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope played brilliantly in the first half, scoring 13 points and creating 3 steals on defense. Once again though, KCP went missing after the break, failing to score until he hit a meaningless three with 10 seconds left in the game.
Georgia shot their typical 36% from the floor, connecting on only 2 of 14 from beyond the arc.
Cincy shot nearly as bad as the Dawgs from the outside, but when the game was on the line in the second half the Bearcats made the shots that counted.