Georgia comeback falls short as Dawgs lose to Gophers in NIT

If only the Georgia Bulldogs could have just pressed the reset on the first half of today’s game with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, maybe they would have avoided their second loss in the preseason NIT.

Before the break, UGA committed 15 of its season-high 18 turnovers, which allowed the Gophers to take a 37-25 lead into the intermission.  Georgia was flustered early with Minnesota’s full court pressure, and they looked like they were rushing on offense for much of the game’s first 20 minutes.

There wasn’t any reset button though, and the Dawgs spent the entire second half trying to dig themselves out of the hole that they had created – which they nearly did.  Despite the fact that Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines combined for only 4 points on the night, UGA trimmed the Minnesota advantage to 65-62 following a three-pointer from J.J. Frazier.  But a free throw on the other end for the Gophers coupled with a missed three from Juwan Parker resulted in Minnesota sealing the 66-62 win.

Charles Mann had a really tough game, scoring zero points and committing 4 turnovers in the first half.  He must have gotten in the doghouse with Coach Fox at the half because he only saw the floor for 4 minutes after the break, and that was only because Kenny Gaines went out for a spell with a neck injury.

With Mann out, J.J. Frazier stepped up and played admirably, scoring 12 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists.  Even more importantly, the sophomore point guard did not give the ball away once.

Marcus Thornton recorded another double-double, scoring 14 points and snagging 10 rebounds, and freshman Yante Maten chipped in another 12 points.

Other than the turnovers, another major difference in this contest came from the perimeter, where Minnesota knocked down 10 three-pointers to Georgia’s 3.  The Dawgs connected on only 21% of their shots from the outside today, and they are now barely above 25% from beyond the arc as a team this season.  If UGA cannot locate its three-point shot, they are going to have some serious trouble putting up points this season.

While it definitely stings for Georgia to leave New York completely empty-handed, it should be noted that this is a descent Minnesota team, picked by many to finish 7th in the Big Ten this year – a team that could very well sneak into this season’s NCAA Tournament.

Coach Mark Fox’s team must regroup quickly before embarking on a road trip to Chattanooga next Tuesday to play the Mocks, a team that Fox Sports suggested could challenge for the SoCon title this year.

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8 thoughts on “Georgia comeback falls short as Dawgs lose to Gophers in NIT

  1. If Geno had kept his hand off the 38 footer at the end of the half we would have had some MO heading into the 2nd half! After last seasons. advancement our guard play has taken two steps back. Still I have high hopes for the conference schedule! Yante Maaten has rweally filled in nicely in the minutes he has gotten. Defense also seems to be a big issue at the start of the season. J.J. Frasier had a nice 2nd half against Minnesota and really cut down on the ball handling mistakes. Either way. I will be in Stegemann behind the Dogs!!!! Mike Potter

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  2. Sheesh – these Dawgs are running out of chances to make any kind of out-of-conference statement. This is not the way we wanted to start the season, We’ve gotten some pretty nice play inside this season, but our strength is definitely still the backcourt (although, based on his flashes yesterday, maybe Maten can change that some as the season goes on). When Gaines and Mann struggle like they did yesterday, we’re not going to win many games. It was a miracle we were as close as we were.

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  3. I may not know much about B-ball but I do know that this team should be better than last year’s (remember that Morris was suspended early and didn’t contribute much until the SEC portion of the year).The hell of it is that we have played but one team that was clearly better than us (Gonzaga), and I think that we play with them if we hit on all cylinders. Is it coaching? Your thoughts? I admit that I don’t have the answers.

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    1. I have no answers either. I always thought Fox was a pretty good X’s and O’s coach, and that if he ever got his recruiting going (which it seems like is finally starting to happen) that we might have a good program. But this team just cannot play consistently for 40 minutes. I don’t know if it’s chemistry or certain players on the team not always giving it 100% or what. The team has shown flashes so I’m not giving up on them yet, but man, they’re a frustrating bunch.

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    2. Kenny is icy cold. Mann is sloppy. Coaching? I don’t think so. We set up good looks, but toss bricks. Other team scores, we cough ball up. Except for JJ, 1 and 2 haven’t got it done yet.

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  4. At this point I think we know what UGA hoops can aspire to be – a team that struggles in November and December; then makes a late charge in what would call a weak sec; then with a decent shot at the NIT. I don’t think we rise much above that with Fox. I will be interested to see how attendance fares in he sec season. With the contract extension I guess mcgarity is fine with this. I think we give him one more season after this to make the NCAA and if we aren’t there cut bait.

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