Georgia finishes up non-conference slate with George Washington

The Georgia Bulldogs (5-7) are enjoying their longest win-streak of the 2012-2013 season – 3 games – after fending off FAMU 82-73 in Athens last Saturday. While this team’s consecutive victories over Mercer, Southern Cal and FAMU may not do much to bolster Georgia’s strength-of-schedule (which is consider 92nd in the nation by CBS), these wins in large part been the result of some much-improved UGA offense.

During this span of games, the Dawgs have been shooting nearly 46% from the field, almost 49% from the perimeter and just under 74% from the free throw line. Comparing this production with the team’s offensive numbers in its first 9 games is like comparing Dr. Jeckyll to Mr. Hyde.

In Georgia’s 9 contests prior to the game with Mercer, UGA was making below 40% of their field goals and fewer than 30% of their shots from beyond the arc. Georgia’s effort from the free throw line during this stretch may have costed them a few games, with the Dawgs sinking only 63.6% of their attempts from the charity stripe.

Coincidentally, the Bulldogs have turned up the intensity on the defensive end as well, which undoubtedly has also contributed to the team’s recent success. Georgia held Mercer, USC and FAMU to under 37% from the floor, and they were able to limit these teams to just 25% from the perimeter.

On Friday night, the Dawgs will be visited by the George Washington Colonials (6-6), a team that was projected to finish near the bottom of the 14-team Atlantic 10 conference. The Colonials share a common opponent with Georgia – the Youngstown State Penguins – who also beat them on their home court in GW’s home opener on November 10th.

The Colonials are led by Villanova transfer Isaiah Armwood, a junior forward from Baltimore, Maryland. Armwood is netting 13.3 points and hauling in 8.4 rebounds a night, and he is ferocious shot-blocker who swats over 3 shots per game (ranking him 9th in the country in that category).

George Washington’s strong suit is their ability to crash the boards, where they rank 33rd in the nation at over 40 rebounds per game. The Colonials are getting almost 13 offensive boards a contest, meaning that Georgia will need to be prepared to defensive rebound on Friday so as to limit GW’s second-chance opportunities.

Coach Mark Fox’s team needs to keep building momentum as they head into the SEC schedule next Wednesday when they take on the #13 Florida Gators in Gainesville. Another win would serve to bolster the confidence level of a young UGA team that is slated to play Florida (twice) and #12 Missouri before we are barely halfway through the month of January.