Bruins outlast Dawgs 60-56 in consolation round of Legends Classic

The Georgia Bulldogs dropped their fourth consecutive game on Tuesday night, losing a hard-fought battle with the #11 UCLA Bruins.  Despite the fact that the Dawgs are in the midst of a losing streak, as a fan, I am much more encouraged by what I saw transpire in Brooklyn over the past two days.

Last week, Georgia appeared outmatched in both of its games against Youngstown State and Southern Mississippi.  However, Coach Mark Fox was able to reach his team and demand more before the games in New York, which saw the Dawgs go toe-to-toe with the #1 and #11 teams in the country (Indiana and UCLA, respectively).

Last night’s game against UCLA was the first time this season we have seen Georgia play patiently on offense, working the ball inside and back out until they found the best shot.  Fox’s team dished out 15 assists to just 10 turnovers, marking only the second time this year they have been on the plus side of that differential (reminiscent of Georgia’s first two teams under CMF).

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did not attempt a shot until less than 7 minutes remained in the first half, yet at the time his Bulldog team was leading 22-14.  KCP, who had been pressing a bit lately, allowed the game to come to him on Tuesday, finishing with a team-high 16 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 3 assists.

Despite Pope’s improved play, he did commit a costly turnover on a critical possession in which Georgia trailed UCLA by 3 points with less than a minute remaining.  The Bruins trapped KCP at the top of the key, and Kentavious fell awkwardly to the ground while attempting a pass against his body to the right side of the court.  Unfortunately for UGA, the Bruins’ Norman Powell made one of the ensuing free throws, giving his team a two-possession advantage that the Bulldogs were unable to overcome.

UCLA played last evening’s contest without regular starter David Wear, which opened the door for freshman phenom Shabazz Muhammad to make his first collegiate start.  Muhammad took advantage of the opportunity, responding with a game-high 21 points.

Georgia’s scoring was more balanced against the Bruins than it has been all season, with three players – Donte Williams, Neme Djurisic and John Cannon – finishing with 8 points.

Though this Bulldog team is clearly a work-in-progress, if they can bring the same effort and intensity that they played with in Brooklyn to all of their games I think that this bunch may win more games than people might have predicted seven days ago.

5 thoughts on “Bruins outlast Dawgs 60-56 in consolation round of Legends Classic

  1. Glad to see Assist/to on the positive side. How many missed layups did we have? Missing layups and free throws cost us so many games recently. Do yo think Canon starts now? Thanks for this site!


    1. Based on what I’ve seen (and I was a big skeptic) Cannon has to have earned more playing time. He is more aggressive and moves his feet better than Dixon and should maybe the first big off the bench. Congrats to a kid who has worked hard.
      I do believe that our play has improved substantially, but we still revert to ill-fated patterns (e.g., simply flipping the ball around the perimeter) at crunch time. Someone has to step up as an on-the-floor leader to settle the team during periods of adversity. It is to much, I fear, to ask this of Mann at this point in his development, but I hope that Mann will eventually become the man.


    2. I don’t think Fox will start Cannon because he seems to be pretty set on the Neme, D. Williams and Thornton frontline.

      However, I do like the idea of Cannon coming off the bench before any of the other bigs.


  2. A point guard, whether it be Mann or Vincent Williams, has to be able to get us into sets and also show an aggressive approach to attack the rim ala Sundiata Gaines to get this team going. It was comforting to see strides in the right direction last night, but I caught myself saying too many times that this is a young team making decisions that an immature team makes. The future looks bright though.


    1. Gerald Robinson, Jr. was the type of point guard you described for this team last year (similar to Gaines).

      I think Wiliams is doing a decent job of protecting the basketball and making open shots when given the opportunity. Mann isn’t a slasher yet, but I think he will be next year after a full season and an off-season in the program.


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