UGA secures huge road win and ends season 3rd in SEC

How will they replace Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s scoring?  Where will the offense come from?  Surely they cannot win as many games after losing the SEC Player of the Year to the NBA draft…

These concerns were the consensus question marks surrounding Coach Mark Fox’s team heading into the 2013-2014 season from just about every major media source that previews college basketball.  This year’s team was picked to finish somewhere around 10th or 11th in the SEC before the season began.

Sophomores Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines had different ideas.

Georgia’s backcourt combined for 44 of UGA’s 69 points today in Baton Rouge, hoisting the Dawgs on their backs and carrying their team to a critical 69-61 road win against LSU.

The UGA duo played lights out on Saturday with Gaines scoring 20 points for the 4th time in the last 7 games.  The sophomore was white hot in the first half, connecting on all four of his three-point attempts.

The entire Bulldog team was hitting shots before the intermission, making over 52% of their attempts from the floor.  The problem wasn’t UGA’s shooting, though, it was their ball security.  Georgia committed 13 first-half turnovers, yet they still managed to take 30-28 lead into the break due to some poor LSU shooting.

The Dawgs held a 21-18 advantage over the Tigers with 11:24 left before the half after a three from J.J. Frazier.  Georgia remained stuck on 21 points for nearly 6 minutes until Kenny Gaines hit a three to reclaim a 24-22 lead.  During that 6-minute drought, UGA committed 5 turnovers, and the only thing that kept them in the game was the fact that the Tigers could not find the rim.

In the second half, Charles Mann took over, scoring 16 of his game-high 22 points and snagging 7 of his game-high 10 rebounds (yes, Mann secured his first double-double of the season in probably the most important game of the year).  Mann basically did what he does best: he got the line, where he made an incredible 12 of 14 attempts.

Georgia held an 11-point lead with less than 8 minutes left, and they were barely challenged for the remainder of the game other than a very brief LSU spurt that saw the Tigers cut the UGA advantage to 65-59 after an Anthony Hickey three-pointer.  Charles Mann immediately buried a pair of free throws that shot the lead back to 8 points, and Georgia notched its 12th conference win of the season.

As far as LSU’s offense is concerned, the Tigers were led by Andre Stringer’s 22 points.

LSU’s leading scorer – Johnny O’Bryant – was a non-factor, mustering only 5 points while committing 5 turnovers.   Coach Fox had a masterful game plan for JOB, doubling down on him at almost every opportunity.  O’Bryant appeared flustered with the UGA defense, which held him to a season-low in scoring in conference play.

For Georgia, this victory was absolutely enormous.

The Dawgs finish the year 18-12 overall and 12-6 in the SEC, giving them the 3-seed in next week’s conference tournament.

Georgia will get the winner of the Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt/Mississippi State game in the quarterfinals round on Friday night.

The NCAA selection committee may or may not have UGA on its radar, but after winning 8 of their last 10 games to close out the regular season the Bulldogs are making themselves harder and harder to ignore.

8 thoughts on “UGA secures huge road win and ends season 3rd in SEC

  1. First off, as always, thanks to HD for this great forum. I know the “SEC is down, blah, blah, blah”…but for us to get the 3 seed with the same conference record as the preseason #1 team in the country would’ve been preposterous! Hats off to CMF and his team! I’m going to have to eat crow (and it’s pretty darn tasty tonight) because you can check the archives and I was calling for a regime change before conference started. I’m loving every minute of this run, but view it as all gravy at this point. More interesting is to contemplate this offseason and next year…that team will enter the season with more expectations than any UGA squad since Harrick was here. Recruiting priority has to be on BIGS. We’re set for next year barring injury but we’ve got to get some guys in fast!-and hope our guards don’t improve TOO much next year to warrant leaving early. I’m stoked!


    1. I think a lot of people on this blog (myself included) were pretty concerned about the state of the program after the non-conference portion of the schedule was complete.

      Hopefully the opportunity to play a season with Mann and Gaines might attract a couple of big-time posts.


    2. Thanks, hoopdawg. Sorry it took me so long into the season to be an active participant again. I enjoy the insight you provide and the opportunity to talk UGA hoops with others who care.


  2. This team showed a lot of guts today (not to mention the second shutdown of O’Bryant for the season–something everybody else had a devil of a time doing). At one point after a couple of horrendous calls that went against us, I was tickled by the TV announcer who reported that Fox was going ballistic although his team was managing to keep their cool and go about its business-IMO the sign of a well-coached team. I remember after the last non-league loss in December, CMF said in his post-game show that we just need to keep working to get better and promised that it would happen. How many of us believed him? I think that Billy Donovan is the best coach in America and that it would be hard to pick against his 18-0 record for COY this year, but I truly believe that Mark Fox deserves serious consideration. And now that its all over for regular season play, it is so clear that the big road win at Missou was the turning point of this season. I tip my hats to these gutzy dawgs.


    1. I think we watched Fox evolve as a coach along with team’s improvement. Or the team played better because of Fox’s change. Yesterday he played Gaines,Mann and JJ at the same time. In previous years, freshmen played only one position. Also, he lets the sophs play through mistakes instead of the quick hook to the bench. I give him credit for the rebounding change and better free throw shooting and defense. I never thought I would this but he deserves an extension. But the recruiting help is needed. Hope one of the assistants “leaves” for a new challenge.


  3. If McGarrity gives Fox the heave ho after this season he needs to have his head examined! This guy deserves a big fat raise for the job he has done!I think Jerry hit the nail on the head when he says some of the assistants need to explore other opportunities to loosen the coaching staff for the younger staff to get promotions! We need someone plugged into the Atlanta AAU BB scene!Just because Mcgarity did it in FB doesn’t mean he will do it in BB. It’s actually a dangerous proposition to meddle with a specific coaches staff! You hired the coach to make personnel choices, not micromanage the team from the AD’s chair! This should cool Fox’s seat for some time to come! If the Dogs win one in the tourney, they deserve the same consideration as all of the rest, as one of the hotter clubs in the country!


  4. Great win by the Hoop Dawgs! Should have wrapped up an NIT bid.

    We are still stuck at #70 in the RPI, behind Stephen F Austin.


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