Gerald Robinson, Jr. showed up and (once again) played his heart out for the Georgia Bulldogs (14-16; 5-11) on “Senior Day”, scoring a game-high 23 points, marking the fifth time this season he has eclipsed 20 points in a game.
The Dawgs were able to even up the season series with South Carolina, winning 67-55 this afternoon in Athens.
Georgia began its second-straight game down 7-0 to an opponent, and they actually allowed the Gamecocks to open up a 10-0 advantage with 13:33 remaining before the intermission. The Bulldogs‘ inauspicious offensive start might have had something to do with the fact that due to the Senior Day traditions, Coach Mark Fox had Matt Bucklin and Conner Nolte starting in place of Kentavious-Caldwell Pope and Marcus Thornton. Whatever the reason, the Dawgs missed their first 8 field goal attempts and were held scoreless until Gerald Robinson, Jr. broke the drought with a fast break lay-up after nearly 8 minutes of play.
Robinson ignited the Georgia offense, scoring 13 points prior to picking up his second personal foul with 3:31 left before the break. GR2 banged down 3 three-pointers in the half, the third of which gave UGA its first lead of the afternoon at 22-21.
The Dawgs closed out the half on a 13-2 run, taking a 30-23 advantage into the intermission.
After the break, Malik Cooke hit a jumper at the 15:10 mark that completed an 8-2 Carolina run, cutting the Georgia lead to just two points at 35-33.
However, the Dawgs immediately responded with a 14-2 run of their own, and 7 minutes later UGA was up 49-35 following a pair of Donte Williams free throws.
The game wasn’t quite in hand at this point, though, as the Gamecocks had one more mini-run in them. Cooke buried a three-pointer that actually brought the score to 53-47, but on the next play Bruce Ellington committed a flagrant foul on Dustin Ware, who made both of the free throw attempts. Two plays later GR2 took the ball the length of the floor and scored, pushing the UGA advantage back out to double-digits.
The Dawgs were essentially able to salt away the remainder of the game at this point, ending the season with a victory.
Aside from Robinson, no other Bulldog reached double-figures in the scoring column, yet five Georgia players netted 6 points or more in this somewhat balanced offensive attack.
Nemanja Djurisic was one of those 6-point scorers, and he also led all rebounders with a career-best 10 boards.
Kentavious-Caldwell Pope, who only scored 8 points on 3 of 7 shooting from the floor, found other ways to contribute for his team by securing 7 rebounds and creating 3 steals.
Georgia finishes the SEC slate at 5-11, which is fairly respectable considering the Dawgs were 1-7 through the first half of the conference schedule. Coach Mark Fox’s team was able to improve throughout the season, winning 4 of their final 8 SEC contests.
The Dawgs, who will be an 11-seed in the SEC Tournament, could get either Mississippi State, Ole Miss or Arkansas in the first round next week, depending on how those teams’ games shake out this afternoon.
I, for one, can honestly admit that I did not believe that this UGA team would reach 5 SEC victories after starting out 1-7 in league games. I am proud of how this team finished out the season, and I hope that we can all get to see Gerald Robinson, Jr. and Dustin Ware play well into next weekend.