Dawgs beat Vols 78-68, completing season sweep of UT

Georgia freshman Kenny Gaines only played 8 minutes on Saturday, but he made the most of his time on the floor late in the game against the Vols. With Tennessee trailing UGA 50-45 and under 6 minutes remaining in the game, Charles Mann found Gaines in the corner where the frosh cooly buried a three-pointer, putting UGA back up by 8 points.

Gaines hit another monster three from the baseline minutes later, helping to extend the Dawgs’ lead to 62-50 with less than 3 minutes remaining.

Kenny put the stamp on the UGA victory by finishing a three-point play the old fashioned way off of another assist from Mann, giving Georgia a 67-58 advantage with only 1:25 left.

Prior to tip-off in this one, Fox had listed Gaines as a “game time” decision – thankfully, Gaines’s heel bruise seemed good enough to play on and Kenny was able to play a major role in Dawgs’ win.

A major concern for Georgia heading into today’s game with Tennessee centered on dealing with the Vols’ star point guard, Trae Golden, who had been scoring 19 points per game during the team’s recent six-game winning streak.

Charles Mann – UGA’s freshman point guard – stepped up and played his best game of the season while taking Golden completely out of his game. On offense, Mann took the ball right at Golden en route to the rim at nearly every opportunity, getting to the line for 14 free throw attempts (of which he made 12). Mann’s aggressiveness led to a career high 18 points to go along with 8 assists, and he had Golden in foul trouble for the entire game.

Defensively, the 6’4″ freshman was too tough for UT’s point guard, limiting the smaller Golden to merely 4 points on an abysmal 1 for 10 shooting performance.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had his hands full on defense for much of the afternoon as he was matched up on Jordan McRae, who finished up with 35 points before fouling out.

However, KCP gave Georgia another excellent effort inside Stegeman today, scoring 25 points and grabbing 9 boards – just one short of his fifth double-double of the year.

UGA did an excellent job inside dealing with the UT bigs, who came into this contest with some of the better rebounding numbers in the SEC. Georgia outrebounded Tennessee by a count of 38-34, and the Dawgs scored 30 points in the paint to the Vols’ 14.

The win today puts Georgia at 8-8 in the conference and 14-15 overall, giving UGA a realistic shot of getting into this season’s NIT Tournament, should they manage to win another game or two.

This loss may have devastating consequences for Tennessee as the Vols have now dropped two games to the Dawgs (RPI 141), and I imagine they will find themselves on the outside of the NCAA Bubble tomorrow morning.

For Georgia, showing the ability to bounce back from such a difficult loss at Vandy on Wednesday to grab a victory against a very hot team displays a lot of maturity.

The atmosphere inside the Steg this afternoon was energetic as the home crowd of nearly 10,000 fans enthusiastically voiced their support of this young Bulldog team.

I anticipate an even bigger crowd on Thursday night when Georgia hosts the John Calipari-led Kentucky Wildcats.

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14 thoughts on “Dawgs beat Vols 78-68, completing season sweep of UT

  1. I think it is obvious we should be starting KCP, Mann, Gaines, Morris, and one post player (take your pick). If the last ten minutes didn’t show that observation, I don’t know what will.

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  2. Recorded the game to watch late. Saw more uncalled fouls against the Dawgs (seems there needs to be 2 or 3 before the Dawgs get a call). These guys are really coming together, growing up, too. Should make some noise in the SEC Tourney, like 2008 (BTW, Be sure to watch SEC Storied “Miracle 3” Sunday night – at 5PM on ESPN and 8PM on ESPNU. It’s about the Dawgs basketball team hitting a 3-pointer to save thousands of lives during the 2008 SEC Tourney. Remember the tornado that came through. The overtime prevented major loss of injury and life. I’m sure it will be great).
    Judging by the last 5 games or so, this team should also handle the Cats Thursday night. Can’t wait for that tip-off either. Go Dawgs!!

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    1. Actually, it was Alabama that hit the three pointer against Missy State, that forced the overtime and kept people from spilling out of the arena into the streets for the tornado. The Dawgs were supposed to follow that game and play Kentucky, but had to wait until the next morning to stun them.

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  3. So proud of Coach Fox and the team! They have really matured since those earlier games. I believe UGA will be in the mix next season. Actually, I believe they will make some noise in the SEC Tournament! Thank you Coach Fox and team! Go Dogs!

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  4. I thought, start to finish (well, maybe excepting the first 3 minutes) that this was our best game of the year. Mann was pretty close to sensational today. Those who read this blog know that I think he is a jewel, and he is going to be a major load for other teams in this league in the coming years. Everybody contributed today. It was just a fun day all around.

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  5. Did not think we would win a conference game after watching us play in November! This team has really improved and it would be nice if we had some kind of low post threat! Have we had a flagrant foul go in our favor this entire year! Could not believe one was not called on UT when they tackled Mann the end of the game!

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    1. I was happy to see Fox leave Gaines in with KCP and Mann during crunch time at the end of the game. I think he proved he can handle the pressure. Overly aggressive foul at the 55 second resulted in a quick hook, but Fox did not yell at him. Quietly talked to him. Maybe they are both maturing. Another quick hook on Cannon after a great 4 minutes. But Flo and Nemi played well. Hard to believe this is the same team that looked so pathetic in Nov. and Dec. Good job on the coaches part in keeping them up for each game(except Florida).

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      1. Jerry, I think that they were “up” for Florida the second time around. They just didn’t have the self-confidence they needed to compete for the full 40. If we see Florida again in the SEC tournament, I think that it will be a very competitive game. But regardless of how it turns out this year, there is real reason for optimism next season, particularly if who know who comes back.

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    1. Hoops, I agree is is fun to watch again. From early season despair to optimistic about our chances every game. Next season looks better and better, even if KCP does not come back. Hope the big guys improve over the summer.

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      1. If we could develop just one post scoring threat (Donte maybe?) that could score just 7-8 points a game we would be an SEC contender next year (if KCP returns).

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