Georgia uses late surge to power past Western Carolina

(Sorry for the late post – I had to head to a holiday event immediately after exiting Stegeman yesterday)

Georgia completed its run through the Southern Conference on Saturday, finishing with a record of 3-1 after taking down the Western Carolina Catamounts 65-63 in Athens. At this point in the year, it’s hard to determine whether UGA’s success against the SoCon is meaningful or not, since App State (3-8) and Chattanooga (4-8) haven’t exactly gotten out to the best starts. Even Davidson – Georgia’s only SoCon loss – is sitting at just 4-8 on the season.

Regardless, the Dawgs narrowly escaped yesterday from a Western Carolina team that led for all but the final two minutes of the second half. Nemanja Djurisic waited until the end of the game to score his only field goals on the day – an NBA-range three-pointer that put UGA up 61-58 with 1:25 remaining, and then a driving lay-up on the ensuing possession to break another tie, giving the Dawgs a 65-63 advantage with only 50 seconds left on the clock.

The Catamounts refused to go away though, and Tom Tankelewicz (try saying that three times fast) evened up the score once again, knocking down a pair of free throws with just 20 ticks remaining.

Fortunately for Georgia, Charles Mann was able to draw contact on his a drive on UGA’s final possession, and the sophomore calmly buried both free throws to finalize the 65-63 Bulldog victory.

While Mann did knock down the game-winning shots from the line, he struggled for much of the afternoon from the charity stripe, finishing with 5 makes on 11 attempts. As a team, UGA only hit 24 of 38 free throw attempts, leaving a lot of points on the table.

The Dawgs had their hands full trying to contain Carolina’s senior point guard Trey Sumler, who led all scorers with 21 points. Sumler showed an ability to score both off the dribble and from the outside, where he connected on 4 of his 5 three-point attempts.

Georgia’s leading scorer on the afternoon was sophomore Kenny Gaines, who quietly put together a 17-point effort, which included going 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. Gaines’s shooting performance yesterday was a nice rebound from his previous two games against Lipscomb and Gardner-Webb, where he went only 1 of 8 from three-point land.

This game should leave UGA fans both relieved and concerned. The Dawgs are on a five-game win streak, but they failed to win any of the last three contests by double-digits, making me wonder just how much better Georgia is than Lipscomb, Gardner-Webb and Western Carolina.

UGA’s schedule is about to get a whole lot tougher starting next Saturday when Georgia travels to Boulder to take on the #20 Colorado Buffaloes. Then, the Dawgs start 2014 with another road trip on January 3rd, taking on a 10-1 George Washington team before opening up SEC play at #23 Missouri on January 8th.

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5 thoughts on “Georgia uses late surge to power past Western Carolina

  1. Agree, Hoop, tough times ahead. Still does not look like a team that is cohesive. Home court foul calls saved Georgia- 38 to 10. WC led in field goals. Even with an occasional good game, Thornton and Williams are not the guys that will help this team win games. They still can’t make foul shots or lay ups. Yes they can rebound, but the turnovers and cheap fouls hurt.The offense seems to be drive the basket and make a layup or get fouled. Fox is going to have to unleash Gaines, Mann, and Nemi and let them play. Gaines showed us what he is capable of doing. Nemi should play 30 minutes. Frazier on the bench again in favor of a walk on. Cannon still sitting. I’m still looking for team improvement-not there yet. Looks like an under .500 season, worse than last year.

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  2. Glad we won, but you’d have thought we’d taken out Florida by the team’s reaction. And I have to give this win to the crowd who got very vocal down the stretch and pushed the boys. Before that, we were waltzing again. I wish I knew why we come FLAT out of the locker room after halftime EVERY game.
    As for gaging competition, who knows? Better to be shredded repeatedly by big talented teams (and supposedly learn but risk crushing defeatism), or gain confidence against lesser opponents? I thought Western Carolina, despite their record, was a step up in overall talent from the last three games. Does that tell us anything before Colorado? Nah. Heck, who knows anything right now? Temple almost beats Texas, Davidson has a chance to bump off UNC, and we….oh…whatever!
    Bright spot? Tim Dixon was on the floor and didn’t cough up the ball once! BRING ON COLORADO!!!

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  3. 7 minutes left in the game and finally Mann, Gaines and Morris were on the floor at the same time. Even my 7 year old noticed it. Why it took so long to put in the best 3 front court players at the same time I do not know. Sadly, walking out of the Steg, reality hit me that deep down I might of wished WCU beat us so that the change that is not happening would be forced to happen. Rotations floor me. Gaines hit his first three and immediately rewarded with a 5 min sit on the bench. What the hell.

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    1. I can’t agree more Standup. I’ve tried to convince myself that Fox was just trying in the preseason to learn which combos work best , but I’ve seen too many times where mystifying rotations kill momentum. This team seems to need a 30+ minute on-the-court leader who is vocal and willing to get on people not doing their job (particularly defensively). I thought that Mann might be the one to make this “his team”, but ,so far, no cigar. Mann is good at taking it to the hoop, but I’ve noticed that he almost never looks to pass on penetrations to wide open teammates. He’s be much more effective if he’d pass he rock occasionally. And I’d sure as He– like to see Fox settle on a fairly predictable 8 to 9 man rotation and let it develop some chemistry.

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