Is it possible for a team to shoot under 30% from the floor and below 60% from the free throw line and still be in a position to win late in a game?
Auburn proved it on Wednesday night inside Stegeman Coliseum, where they mustered just 28.3% on field goal attempts to go along with a 15 for 27 performance from the charity stripe. Despite the fact that Auburn had only two field goals nearly 10 minutes into the second half, the Tigers still had the ball down by merely one basket with a 1:34 remaining in the game.
Auburn’s leading scorer – Frankie Sullivan – missed a jumper, which Kentavious Caldwell-Pope corralled and flung out to Sherrard Brantley ahead of the break. Brantlely blew the lay-up, but fortunately for Georgia KCP hustled down the court and tipped in his teammate’s miss, giving his team a 50-46 lead with 1:07 left.
Pope made a pair of free throws two possessions later that put UGA up 53-47 with only 31 seconds on the clock.
KCP – I mean, Georgia – would end up winning the game 57-49 over Auburn, the team’s second-straight conference win.
Pope was the undeniable hero on a night when both teams looked anemic on offense. KCP finished the game with 20 points and 10 rebounds, his third double-double of the season.
The Dawgs could have put this contest away much earlier, yet they apparently decided to be polite and match Auburn miss for miss from the free throw line, where Georgia managed to make only 15 of 26 shots (just slightly better than the Tigers). UGA also committed 16 turnovers, which has become pretty much par for the course this year.
Freshman Charles Mann had a nice game, chipping in 10 points and 6 assists and making an amazing skinny-post catch and basket with 20 seconds left that extended the Georgia lead to 55-49.
The rest of the Bulldog team put on performances that were rather forgettable.
The Tigers had three players – Frankie Sullivan, Allen Payne and Chris Denson – score in double-digits, contributing 13, 13 and 12 points apiece, respectively.
For Georgia, Wednesday night’s win may not have been aesthetically pleasing, but it did serve to bolster the team’s overall record to 9-11, and UGA is now 3-4 in SEC play. The Dawgs, who started out 0-3 in league play, have won 3 of their last four games, positioning themselves somewhere in the middle of the conference standings.
This Georgia team may not “wow” people or earn much in the form of style points, but they are winning basketball games.