Yellow Jackets Use Big Second Half to Topple Dawgs 68-56

“We’re not tough enough or good enough in any area”, said Georgia Bulldog (4-5) Coach Mark Fox following his teams’ 68-56 loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Wednesday night.  The Dawgs dropped their fourth straight game last night, and they did it in similar fashion to their other four losses this season.

Georgia took a 29-25 advantage into the intermission after a first half that featured some pretty stifling UGA defense and an offensive explosion for Gerald Robinson, Jr.  GR2 came off the bench to score 16 of his team-high 20 points before the break, repeatedly beating Tech defenders down the court on self-made fast breaks.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs though, every basketball game includes a second half, which is where Georgia has been particularly awful in games that they have lost this season.  Guess what?  Wednesday night was no different…

Georgia Tech opened the first 10 minutes of the game’s second half with a 21-7 run.  During this same time span, the Dawgs made just 2 of 12 field goals and committed 6 turnovers.  As a fan, it is becoming almost unbearable to watch this team open up the second half – I’m seriously considering watching only the first 20 minutes of every SEC game this season and then imagining the rest.

Another game-changer from last night’s debacle was that Coach Mark Fox once again opted to move his team into its extended 3-2 zone after the intermission.  Similarly to the Cincinnati game, the Georgia zone failed to cover the perimeter, allowing Georgia Tech guard Jason Morris to roam free and score all 15 of his points (a team high) in the second half.  Morris knocked down a pair of threes after the break, the second of which put the Jackets up 51-39 with just 8:13 left, all but sealing the Tech victory.

Someone might want to remind Coach Fox that an extended 3-2 zone is not very effective when two of the guards defending the perimeter are merely 6′ tall.  In my opinion, this UGA team is much better off in a man defense from here on out.

Georgia was once again unbelievably inefficient on offense, shooting under 35% from the floor as a team and committing 5 more turnovers than assists.

The Dawgs bigs were utterly overwhelmed by the Jackets, losing the rebounding battle 34-30 and getting outscored in the paint 34-14 (with most of UGA’s inside scoring coming off of GR2 drives).  Georgia’s forwards combined for just 8 points on 3-13 shooting, and that number is including a three-pointer by senior Connor Nolte, who could be considered a wing by outside observers.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, touted as a prolific outside shooter, continues to miss from the outside.  On Wednesday, KCP made just 3 of his 12 attempts, bring his field goal percentage to a lackluster 38.6% on the young season.

At this point, I have seen more than enough of this Georgia basketball team to see that this is going to be a VERY LONG season.  This Dawgs’ team can’t shoot the ball, and they are almost nonexistent in the paint.

The problem, however, is that the team you are watching stumble through these second-half meltdowns is the product of two Mark Fox recruiting classes.  Remember folks, Trey Thompkins, Travis Leslie and Jeremy Price were all brought in by Dennis Felton.

For the record, I want Coach Mark Fox to be the guy that turns Georgia basketball into a successful program.  But right now things aren’t looking so good this year, or in the immediate future.  Next season’s lineup should feature KCP, Vincent Williams and the same cast of unproductive forwards, who I don’t envision improving that much during their stints in Athens.

The Dawgs have nearly 10 days off to take final exams and attempt to find some semblance of an offense before playing on the road at Southern Cal on December 17th.

Let’s hope that these guys test better than they shoot.

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