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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17 thoughts on “Yellow Jackets Use Big Second Half to Topple Dawgs 68-56

    1. Actually, I do see improvement in a couple of players who still have so far to go. Donte will, IMO, become a productive SEC player, as will Marcus Thornton. Our other big-man signees are projects that I really don’t see playing much of a role in the SEC, maybe ever. We gain two inexperienced guards next year who are going to have to play a lot. Our biggest need, by far, is an impact big man who can play immediately. Tony Parker was at the game last night. Our play should have indicated “Hey we need you big guy–you could have a much bigger individual impact here than at Duke or Ohio State.” Without that kind of signing soon, I fear that the tenure of Mark Fox at UGA may be a short one.

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      1. While the two Williams’ are better than last year, the team seems as lost now as the first few games. Thornton as “Mr. Basketball” is hard to understand-strictly a rebounder so far. Maybe Fox should try a three guard offense since there is no production from the big men. Ware is not helping. KCP makes a lot of his points when the game is lost-pressure is off. The number of layups missed is difficult to watch.
        Just some random thoughts.

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      2. Maybe Tony Parker will want to reunite with his former and current Miller Grove teammates – Donte Williams and ’12 signee Brandon Morris?

        An interesting thing about Morris is that the AJC lists him at 6’8″, while ESPNU has him down at 6’5″. I hope for UGA’s sake he’s 6’8″.

        The Dawgs’ three ’12 signees are all of the three-star variety according to ESPN. Fox needs to add a four- or five-star player to that class or the future isn’t looking too hot.

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        1. It’s possible to win, and win big (go deep in the Tourney) with 3 star players, but it takes the right coach and the right players, plus time. But it’s hard to argue, that given the in-state talent, UGA shouldn’t always aspire to attract top recruits.

          I wonder if the triangle offense is well suited for a program with as much in-state talent as Georgia. Fox’s triangle in some ways reminds me of Paul Johnson’s triple option. Too structured an offense can limit the abilities of talented, athletic players, and perhaps lead to them to look elsewhere for college. It also doesn’t help that the triangle hurts us in selling the idea to top talent of being “one and done”.

          Of course, being “one and done” can cause havoc on a program, as recent GT history has shown. And an experienced team that knows exactly what it’s doing can be very successful. Maybe that will happen here in a couple of years.

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  1. Hey Hoop, I hope you don’t get so discouraged that you suspend this blog. I really enjoy it and I particularly like checking my perceptions against someone who obviously knows something about the game of basketball.

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  2. There is enough talent on the current team to produce wins as evidenced by the ability to take the first 20 minutes. All of the mess that Tubby started by leaving early and all of the mess Adams caused by hiring Herrick are done. There are no excuses anymore. Fox has a clean slate and the positive momentum to make it happen. I hope and expect he will get his team ready to win SEC games.

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  3. Anybody care to hazard a comment as to why Coach Fox kept Djurisic on the bench for the entire second half. That bothered me a lot given the way the game was headed. The only thing I can think is that Neme may be too slow afoot to get out and cover in a zone, but that being the case (if it is) then how could one ever play him?

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    1. Djurisic has been looking slower and slower since the competition started to stiffen up. He will probably have a nice little December over the holidays with Georgia’s light schedule, but I think he’s going to disappear once SEC play starts.

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      1. I believe he has a back problem that hampers his movement. If he weren’t our most talented offensive frontcourt player, I wonder if he’d be playing.

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  4. I agree with hoopdawg. This team is almost unwatchable. This is the poorest assemblage of basketball players that we have had in a long time. Even when we were bad, we were – most times – interesting to watch. There is nothing interesting in watching us miss 3-pointers and fail to get the rebound. And it won’t get better next year, either.

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  5. I’m a Georgia hoops fan in good times and in bad but I have to agree that the outlook doesn’t seem good. To me, Marcus Thornton seems completely inept except for an occasional rebound. GR2 seems to be trying too hard and making needless mistakes.

    I think one advantage we have is with our depth and quickness. I’ve been disappointed that we haven’t tried much pressure defense to generate some easy baskets. Hopefully we can experiment a little more with the rest of the Dec schedule and try to generate some momentum going into conference play.

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