The Georgia Bulldogs (9-8; 0-3) put up a gutsy effort in Nashville on Saturday afternoon, but they came up a bit short in the end, falling 77-66 to Vanderbilt.
After getting thumped by the Florida Gators in Gainesville on Tuesday night, the Bulldogs came out and played an inspired first half led by sophomore Donte Williams’ 8 points and 3 rebounds. Williams stormed out of the gates a man possessed, scoring Georgia’s first 4 field goals of the game. Unfortunately for Donte, he battled with foul trouble for most of the game and ended up with 12 points before fouling out with 2:01 left.
The Dawgs’ defense applied good pressure on the perimeter, holding Vanderbilt – a team averaging nearly 10 three-pointers a game – to just 5 for 15 shooting from beyond the arc in this one.
Gerald Robinson, Jr., a native of Nashville, played possibly his worst half of basketball as a Bulldog before the break, connecting on only 1 of his 6 field goal attempts and committing 4 turnovers. However, his Georgia team was able to withstand a 13-5 Vandy run that put the Dores up 30-24, and the Dawgs went into the intermission still very much in the ball game, trailing Vanderbilt by a score of 36-32.
Robinson turned things around in the second half though, finishing with 15 points and team high 6 rebounds.
The offensive hero for Georgia was freshman Kentavious-Caldwell Pope, who led the Dawgs with 19 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 2 steals. KCP scored 12 of his total points after the break, including a torrid stretch in which he was unconscious, making 3 three’s in as many minutes with the last one putting his team up 45-44 with 13:53 remaining.
In the end though, Vanderbilt executed like a veteran team down the stretch and they never let Georgia cut the game down to one possession in the final 4 minutes. The Dores were solid from the line in the closing moments of this contest, knocking down 8 of 10 free throws in the final 2 minutes.
John Jenkins was the leading scorer for Vanderbilt with 18 points, but it took him hitting just 3 of 12 field goals to get to that total.
Just as I start singing Nemi Djurisic’s praises he goes and lays an egg – scoring just 3 points and committing 2 turnovers and missing a critical lay-up with less than 90 seconds remaining that would have brought Georgia within three. Vanderbilt’s Lance Goulborne made numerous plays in this game that highlighted just how incredibly unathletic Djurisic is on the court.
Even though Georgia has yet to win a game since the change of year, it is hard not to feel good about this team’s effort in today’s game with an SEC title-contending team in Vanderbilt.
The Dawgs were coming off an embarrassing loss to the Gators, and they responded by playing competitively with Vandy on their own court for 39 minutes.
UGA may be 0-3 in SEC play, but this team is starting to grow on me.