Georgia upsets Mississippi State 70-68 in overtime

The Georgia Bulldogs (12-12; 3-7) accomplished a multitude of firsts on Saturday afternoon in their overtime win over #18 Mississippi State – first win against a ranked opponent, first SEC road win, first time this season the Dawgs have strung two conference wins together, etc.

The Bulldogs’ 70-68 overtime victory today was UGA’s first win in Starkville since 2002, and definitely one of the bigger conference road wins over the past decade.

The game looked like it might slip away towards the end of overtime when Jalen Steele connected on three-pointer (that touched everything), putting his team up 66-65 with only 1:22 remaining in the game.

Georgia’s Kentavious-Caldwell Pope responded with probably his biggest offensive play of the year on the ensuing possession, backing his defender off with the dribble and then stepping back to bury a monster, go-ahead three-pointer that gave UGA a 68-66 advantage with just 68 seconds left.

The Dawgs got a stop on the next Missy State possession, and then senior Gerald Robinson, Jr. canned both free throws to put Georgia up 70-66, sealing the UGA victory with 26 ticks left on the clock.

Though KCP was the hero of the afternoon for Coach Mark Fox’s team, this win was truly the result of an overall excellent team effort.  Robinson, Dustin Ware and Donte Williams all scored in double-figures, finishing with 13, 11 and 11 points, respectively.

Williams and Marcus Thornton did an amazing job of containing State in the paint, limiting Arnett Moultrie to only 12 points.  Moultrie had been especially dominant in SEC home games this season, averaging 21 points per contest.  However, he was never able to establish himself on Saturday as Georgia’s match-up zone enabled the guards to double-down on him and reduce his looks at the basket.

The Dawgs did surrender 21 points to Missy State senior Dee Bost, but it took him going 3 of 10 from beyond the arc to get to that total.

Georgia did not shoot the ball particularly well – 40.6% from the floor – but they out-hustled MSU all afternoon and won their second-straight battle of the boards, out-rebounding the Maroon Dogs 37-31.

Mississippi State came into the game playing the worst perimeter defense in the conference, and Georgia was able to exploit their opponent’s weakness, connecting on nearly 43% of their three-point attempts.

Before wrapping this entry up I have to throw one more bone to sophomore Marcus Thornton.  Thornton brought his lunch pail to the gym today, leading Georgia with 9 rebounds (4 of which were offensive) and giving the Dawgs a very physical inside presence.  If Marcus can continue to bang like he did today for the remainder of his career he will become a very productive player for Coach Fox.

Lastly, congratulations to Coach Fox and his team on a solid road victory over a ranked Mississippi State team.  The Dawgs have responded to a dismal 1-7 start in conference play by winning their first two games in the second half of the SEC schedule.

Georgia now not only has a chance of playing themselves into the post-season NIT tournament, but they may catapult themselves into the middle of the SEC pack if they can keep the momentum rolling next Wednesday night in Columbia, South Carolina.

Don’t look now, but the Georgia Bulldogs are riding a two-game winning streak (their first of 2012).

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13 thoughts on “Georgia upsets Mississippi State 70-68 in overtime

  1. Hoopdawg, you called this one! I expected that we’d play them tough (and was glad that they had to play Ole Miss on Thurs night) but I didn’t anticipate a ‘W.’ Other than free throws, we did an excellent job today. It was so good to see them attacking the boards again. We still missed a few too many close-in shots but it was a superb effort in a tough environment. Anyone up for a road trip to Columbia?

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  2. Kudos Hoop. Given that my Direct TV market is Greenville Spartanburg, I got the Arkansas-SC. snoozer. When I noticed that the score was 55-55 with less than 3 minutes to play, I turned on the radio for the duration. We are getting better. Lots has to go right for us to sniff the NIT, but I’ve said all year that if Fox gets this team there, he deserves coach of the year in the SEC IMO.

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    1. I’m trying not to get too caught up in this two-game win streak, but if the Dawgs take another one on the road in Columbia Wednesday they set themselves up with a chance to get to 5-7 in the conference when they take on Vandy in Athens next Sunday.

      A win against the Gamecocks and all of a sudden this season has a chance at becoming something special.

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    2. Also in the GSP media market here…discovered the beauty of espn3. I was able to watch the entire game on my computer without subjecting myself to the misery of USC-Arkansas. The Carolina game is only on CSS (I have Dish Network)…still pondering a road trip to Columbia.

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  3. This is a very different team. Making shots and playing with an intensity that we have only seen in rare moments. From start to finish, they worked hard and were physical with bigger guys. They should be proud after the bashing all season long. Congrats to Fox and the team. Did that double technical light a fire?

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  4. What a game! I kept saying to myself “just hang in there guys” and that is exactly what we did. We never let them get a comfortable lead and in the end we found a way to win. Fantastic effort by this team and how about some love for Coach Fox. With the Red and Black publishing articles talking about him being fired if he can’t recruit he takes an inferior team that I honestly thought wouldn’t win another game all year and has them winning two huge games in a row. I love our coach.
    I also have to admit that I agree with you Hoop about Marcus. I had given up on him ever being productive but I have two say I’m actually pretty excited about our front court moving forward. Dante, Marcus and Nemi (two sophomores and a freshman) are going to be solid moving forward. Dante is praying GREAT and Nemi will only get better. I would like to land Charles Mitchell but even if we don’t, I’m not as down on our future as I was a few weeks ago. Your thoughts hoop?

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    1. I’m feeling better about those three than I was a week ago. I think D. Williams and Neme will both be solid contributors for the Dawgs when they are upperclassmen.

      However, it would be great to land Mitchell. He just dropped 30 points and 12 rebounds on a Milton team that has 4 players ranked in the 2012 ESPNU Top 50 Georgia recruits.

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  5. All of us may have been a little unfair at times commenting on MT. I was perplexed by his lack of offensive skills until I found out more about the nature and extent of his knee problems. Almost nobody has any moves on bum knees. Since MT came back, I have watched him intently when he is on the floor. This kid is tough, hanging strong on defense and working hard on the boards. Can’t wait to see how far he will come when his wheels are fully functional again.

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