Trailing 55-50 with only 1:48 remaining in the game, the Georgia Bulldogs came out of a timeout with 18 seconds on the shot clock and an opportunity to cut the Tech lead to just one possession.
However, the Dawgs were unable to seize the moment. Instead, Vincent Williams put up a prayer with only 1 second left on the shot clock that was quickly batted out of play by the Yellow Jacket defender. Georgia’s Neme Djurisic couldn’t get a shot up quickly enough on the inbounds play, resulting in a UGA turnover.
On the ensuing possession, Georgia Tech senior point guard Mfon Udofia slashed to the basket and scored the bucket while drawing the foul. After completing the three-point play the old-fashioned way, Udofia’s Jackets held a 58-50 advantage with only 58 ticks left on the clock.
Udofia and Marcus Georges-Hunt carried the Jackets on Tuesday night, scoring 12 and 18 points, respectively.
Georgia Tech came into the game connecting on under 25% of their three-point attempts this season, yet the rim must have looked awfully big against the Georgia defense as the Jackets made a season-high 9 three-pointers on 21 shots from beyond the arc. The Dawgs failed to contest a number of Tech’s perimeter attempts, which probably led to the Jackets’ much-improved shooting performance.
In Georgia’s case it was pretty much business as usual for the Dawgs, hitting less than 32% from the floor and going 2 of 17 from the three-point line. Coach Mark Fox’s team was held under 60 points for the 6th time this season (in 8 games), and they have yet to crack the 70-point barrier.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led all UGA scorers with 16 points, but it took a 5 for 18 performance from the floor for him to reach that tally. In KCP’s defense, Georgia Tech obviously learned from the example set by South Florida last Friday as they shadowed help on Georgia’s star player anytime he had the ball. KCP’s effort in this game was relentless, finishing with a game-high 13 rebounds.
The lone bright spot offensively for the Dawgs had to come from the play by freshman Brandon Morris, who turned in 9 points and 4 rebounds in 19 minutes of action. If Morris continues to improve he could begin to start pushing Neme for his starting position.
Djurisic turned in another dismal performance, going 1 of 8 from the floor to give him 4 points and 6 boards. Neme’s inability to score from either inside or out is beginning to make him a liability, and it is time for Fox to start looking to John Cannon and/or Brandon Morris as potential replacements for Djurisic in the starting five.
The 62-54 loss to the Jackets drops the Dawgs to 2-6 on the year, leaving little doubt in anyone’s mind that this is going to be a long season. Georgia cannot shoot the basketball, and they can’t sign any free agents to help in this facet of the game.
As long as Donte Williams continues to turn in mediocre efforts UGA will remain a team with little firepower in the paint.