Dawgs drop second in a row, fall 62-54 to Georgia Tech

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.

 

 

Georgia to play in-state rival Georgia Tech on Tuesday

The Georgia Bulldogs (2-5) will hit the road again on Tuesday for a short trip down to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-2).

After dismissing leading scorer Glen Rice, Jr. from the team last season, Brian Gregory looked as though his Jackets might be facing a rebuilding year this season as they tried to replace Rice’s offense.

While Georgia Tech hasn’t exactly been lighting up the scoreboards at 61.5 points per game, they do feature a balanced attack with three players averaging in double-figures.  The Jackets are led offensively by senior Kammeon Hosely, freshman Marcus Georges-Hunt and senior point guard Mfon Udofia, who are scoring 11.2, 11 and 10.2 points per game, respectively.

Georgia will also get their first look at Robert Carter, the versatile freshman big who chose Georgia Tech over the Dawgs earlier this year.  Carter has been slowly easing himself into the flow of the college game, netting 7.8 points to go along with 5.7 boards.

The Jackets, much like Georgia, entered the season with tempered expectations following the loss of some key personnel from last year’s team.  However, at this point it appears that Georgia Tech’s season is moving in a different direction than Georgia’s, especially considering the Jackets have a win over NCAA Tournament-regular Saint Mary’s under their belt.

Georgia needs someone to step up and shoulder some of the offensive load, or losing regularly is going to become the status quo of the season.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is getting nearly 18 points a night, with the next closest scorer being Neme Djurisic’s 8.3 a clip.

As a dedicated fan of this UGA team I am ready to see something different Tuesday evening.  Playing 40 minutes of halfcourt basketball is not working for Georgia; Coach Mark Fox simply doesn’t have the big men for the Dawgs to run such a deliberate offense.  I would like to see Georgia play a little more up-tempo (maybe even press) to see if it doesn’t help them create some easier scoring opportunities.

Brian Gregory is 1-0 against UGA.  Will he take his win streak to two games over the Dawgs, or will the Georgia fans (if there are any) inside the McCamish Pavilion be chanting, “Just like football!”

Georgia’s nonexistent frontcourt

Georgia is now nearly a quarter of the way through its 2012-2013 schedule, losing 5 of their first 7 games.  Heading into this season, UGA needed at least one or two of its bigs from a year ago to show significant gains so that they could become offensive factors on this year’s team.

So far, the frontcourt has been virtually factor-less.

After last night’s loss at South Florida, I couldn’t help but feel as though I had sat through another UGA basketball game in which two things were completely missing from Georgia’s offense – free throws and short- to mid-range baskets.

The number of made two-point field goals and free throw attempts are both very telling statistics that can be used to gauge the effectiveness of a team’s inside game.

As of this morning, Georgia is scoring just under 27 points per game on two-point baskets, ranking them 321st out of 347 NCAA Division-I teams in that category.  The Dawgs are barely attempting 16 free throws per contest, tying them with North Dakota State for 295th in the land.

This atrocious production by the UGA big men is either due to some serious overall underachieving, or more simply, that they are devoid of legitimate talent (I tend to lean towards the latter).

By now, most of the premiere high school bigs have already committed to top-notch programs.  The only offer that Fox currently has on the table is to blue-chip center-type is to 6’10” five-star center Dakari Johnson, a native of Montverde, Florida.  However, Mr. Johnson is also entertaining offers from Kentucky, Kansas, Ohio State, Syracuse, Georgetown and Florida, so something tells me that the Dawgs are not really in the running.

Some of UGA’s recent inside players, like Jeremy Price, Albert Jackson and Dave Bliss, were merely role players on their respective teams.  However, I would gladly take any of those three bigs right now and make them the featured forward on this year’s team.