The Georgia Bulldogs (1-1) were spanked 68-56 on their home floor by Youngstown State on Monday night, leaving me wondering if it might not be better if the loser did not automatically advance in the Legends Classic to play the #1 Indiana Hoosiers on November 19th in Brooklyn, New York?
After a sloppy first game against Jacksonville last Friday, the Bulldogs followed up that performance with more of the same on Monday, committing 15 turnovers as well as losing the rebounding battle 41-31. In addition to these shortcomings, Georgia added atrocious shooting to their repertoire against the Penguins, hitting under 33% from the floor as a team inside Stegeman. In fact, the Dawgs made just 3 of 24 first-half field goal attempts, resulting in the Penguins taking a 24-15 lead into the break.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who scored a career-high 27 points, was the only Bulldog to make a field goal prior to the intermission; Sherrard Brantley became the second Georgia player to connect from the floor with 18:35 left in the game.
This game seemed ominous for UGA from the start, with the Dawgs quickly trailing 8-0 after the game was only 4 minutes old.
Coach Mark Fox’s backcourt was unable to corral preseason All-Horizon League player Kendrick Perry, who finished the game with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Perry dominated his counterparts – Vincent Williams and Charles Mann – who combined for 1 point (on 0 for 8 shooting), 1 assist and 5 turnovers (all Mann’s).
On the block, Atlanta native Kamren Belin (Walton High School) poured in 17 points for the Penguins to go along with 6 boards. According to ESPN.com, Belin’s only legitimate scholarship offer a few years ago came from Youngstown State.
Other than KCP, the only other Georgia player’s performance worth mentioning was that of sophomore Tim Dixon, who scored 8 points and nabbed 4 rebounds in a productive 19 minutes.
Even though we are just two games into this season, I am already concerned about the lack of observable progress that has been made by UGA’s post players from last year to this one. Donte Williams remained sidelined again for disciplinary issues, and his presence on the court has been sorely missed. However, Donte cannot fulfill this team’s inside needs by himself (especially since he tends to get into foul trouble regularly), and Coach Fox hopefully has another big that can step up and make an impact or this season could become PAINFULLY long.
Georgia’s poor shooting, turnovers and lackadaisical rebounding against Jacksonville and Youngstown State have me concerned as to how exactly this UGA team plans to navigate through an SEC schedule.