Bulldogs defang Rattlers in Athens

Georgia exploded on offense against FAMU, scoring nearly 50 points by halftime
Georgia exploded on offense against FAMU, scoring nearly 50 points by halftime
Georgia’s bench provided a major spark for the Dawgs in their 82-73 win over FAMU on Saturday night. Coach Fox got 42 points from his non-starters, with Neme Djurisic and Sherrard Brantley chipping in 21 and 9, respectively.

Djurisic’s 21 points marked a career-high in scoring for the sophomore from Montenegro, and this performance couldn’t have come at a better time for the slumping big man. In UGA’s previous five games against South Florida, Georgia Tech, Iona, Mercer and Southern Cal, Neme had scored a total of 21 points collectively. Tonight’s outbreak was long overdue, and Djurisic’s offense helped propel his team to a victory.

Georgia led the Rattlers for the entire game, with the lead generally staying above double-digits. In the first half, the Dawgs were able to sustain a red-hot shooting performance by the Rattlers, who buried 7 three-pointers before the intermission. Georgia matched FAMU from the perimeter, hitting 7 three’s themselves and opening up a 49-36 lead going into the break.

The Dawgs, however, were frigid on offense to begin the second half, mustering just 4 points in the first 8 minutes. After a pair of free throws by FAMU’s Onyekachukwu Odi, the UGA lead had been cut to only 6 points with 12:52 left.

Georgia responded immediately, though, with consecutive baskets off of offensive boards by Donte Williams and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and following another Williams lay-in the Bulldogs were back out in front 59-47 with 11:01 remaining.

The Rattlers continued to scrap and hang around, but the Georgia advantage stayed above 10 points for a majority of the game’s final 10 minutes.

The Dawgs’ 82 points marked the highest offensive output of the season by this team, surpassing the 78 points scored against Iona (though that game went into overtime – only 66 were scored in regulation). KCP and Brandon Morris both joined Neme in the double-figure scoring column, and Pope ended up just one rebound shy of his third double-double of the season.

The Rattlers were poised by guard Muhammad Abdul-Aleem, who netted 16 points to go along with 11 rebounds. While FAMU only shot 37% from the floor, their effort at the charity strip may have been their undoing, making only 12 of their 25 free throw attempts (if they hit 5 or 6 more this could have been a totally different ball game).

Senior Sherrard Brantley has now made his last 5 attempts from beyond the arc, going a perfect 3 for 3 tonight in Athens. On the season, Brantley is shooting a career-best 34.5% from the three-point line, which is much improved for a player that made only 28% of his attempts from the perimeter in his first two seasons as a Bulldog.

The win tonight over FAMU extends Georgia’s win streak to 3 games, pushing their record to 5-7. The Dawgs are winning games at home that they should be winning – Mercer, USC and FAMU. However, these victories should not be taken lightly by UGA basketball fans. Remember in November when the Dawgs were losing these types of contests to Youngstown State and Southern Mississippi.

Coach Fox’s team got out to a rocky start to begin the season, but this new lineup has the capability to win some conference games come 2013.

3 thoughts on “Bulldogs defang Rattlers in Athens

  1. Great blog Hoop. I’m encouraged by the last three games. I think the younger guys are going to get even better as the season goes along. Especially excited about Mann and Morris. I wonder why Gaines and Cannon didn’t play as much yesterday. I know Cannon played more than Gaines. I like what I see out of Gaines, I would think playing him more would make some sense. I guess the hard part is who do you take time away from for him to play? Brantley is playing pretty well. That’s good to see especially since he is a senior. Neme had a good game but still seems to be pushing some and not playing team ball at times. Hoping he stays agressive offensively while still playing team basketball. If we continue to improve, I think this team could be better than last year’s by year end. Then, if we can get KCP to stay, we could be pretty good next year-maybe shoot for a tournament bid? I like Fox. I hope he can stay. I think he will eventually break through on the recruiting front. It just takes time to get UGA basketball going.


    1. Marietta Dawg, you make two excellent points!

      1) Why did Cannon only get 10 minutes yesterday? I know that coaches sometimes tend to zero in on certain players’ mistakes while ignoring others – in Georgia’s case, it seems that Fox has a very short memory when guys like Marcus Thornton or John Florveous mess up; however, he apparently has a keen eye on any error that may or may not be a result of something Cannon did.

      For example, in the second half of yesterday’s game there was a moment when FAMU hit a backdoor cutter who finished a lay-up – the play occurred on the opposite block from Cannon, and neither player was his responsibility. In my opinion, even his JC had been playing excellent help defense he still would not have been able to assist on the play. But, Fox immediately yanked him from the game and put the clipboard in his face to show Cannon what had angered him – Cannon did not appear convinced. Anyhow, during this whole charade Florveous managed to allow his man to blow by him, put up a shot, rebound the miss and stick it back in.

      2) I totally agree with you about Neme’s selfishness on offense – when he gets the ball fed to him inside, there is roughly a 5% chance that it will come out again. Considering Djurisic’s lack of an inside game, I would think that this approach must be corrected ASAP or his inability to kick it back out will just lead to a lot of missed opportunities.


      1. Agree with your comments on Cannon. CMF does seem to have favorites. I have seen very few mistakes from Cannon. Most of agree Cannon deserves more time. Also, don’t understand the lack of playing time for Gaines. I understood him to be the best of the freshmen. He is one of the players of the future for the Dawgs.


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