Vanderbilt pounds Georgia in second half, advances with 63-41 victory

The Georgia Bulldogs (15-17) underwent a personality shift during the halftime break of last night’s game against the Vanderbilt Commodores.

The Georgia Bulldogs team that upended Mississippi State the previous night, and the same team that held a 25-24 lead on Vandy going into the intermission changed into a version of themselves from earlier in the season.

The ‘Dores came out of the break smoking, opening up a 36-27 advantage after going on a 12-2 run to start the second half.  During this run Georgia looked dazed on offense, making just 1 of 6 field goal attempts.

This slump was only the beginning of UGA’s offense woes during the second portion of this game.  Senior Dustin Ware hit a three-pointer to cut the Vandy lead to 36-32 with 14:39 left.  Unfortunately, the Bulldogs would go nearly 9 minutes before connecting on another field goal, which happened to be another jumper by Ware with 6:16 remaining.

At this point the game was all but over with Vandy holding a double-digit lead at 50-37.  During the Dawgs‘ aforementioned scoring drought (and then some), the Commodores went on a brutal 23-5 run that abruptly ended Georgia’s SEC tournament, allowing Vandy to walk away with a 63-41 second-round victory.

The two halves of last night’s game could not have been more different.

Georgia started the game spotting Vandy an 11-3 lead, only to respond with a run of their own that saw the Dawgs’ claim a 19-18 advantage following a John Florveous lay-in.

Coach Mark Fox had to play musical chairs with his lineup after starters Marcus Thornton, Donte Williams and Kentavious-Caldwell Pope picked up 2 first-half fouls.  The UGA bench – led by freshman John Cannon’s 6 points – played inspired basketball, pouring in a combined 17 points before the intermission and helping Georgia take a 25-24 lead into the half.

However, Georgia’s 45% shooting from the floor prior to the break was ruined by a second-half performance that saw the Dawgs make only 22% of their field goal attempts.  Conversely, the Vandy offense warmed up after the break, knocking down nearly 52% of their shots from the floor.

The Dawgs could not have been worse from the arc, connecting on just 2 of their 17 perimeter shots.

Senior Dustin Ware was the only Bulldog to reach double-figures at 10 points, but it took a 2 for 9 effort from three-point range for him to get to that total.

Georgia’s Gerald Robinson and KCP combined for just 5 points on 2 of 12 shooting from the floor, proving that this UGA team cannot be very competitive when its two leading scorers are completely shut down.

Vandy had four starters – John Jenkins, Brad Tinsley, Festus Ezeli and Lance Goulbourne – reach double-digit scoring, with Jenkins leading the way with a game-high 15 points.

Vanderbilt’s win was their third of the season over the Dawgs as well as their seventh-straight victory against UGA.  This group of Vandy seniors has clearly had Georgia’s number for some time now, and they really imposed their will in the second half of last night’s contest, outscoring the Dawgs by a tally of 39-16.