Georgia blasts Seton Hall 65-47

Mark Fox’s Georgia Bulldogs looked anything but rusty after a two week layoff due to final exams. In fact, the Dawgs may have put together their best game of the season against a talented Seton Hall team. Here are some quick takeaways from UGA’s impressive performance, which took place in front of a pretty decent home crowd:

1. The Dawgs’ defense was incredible

Mark Fox implemented a masterful gameplan in tonight’s win, mixing in some 3-2 zone and a little full-court pressure into his defensive sets. The result: the Pirates looked completely rattled. The Hall shot an abysmal 3 for 20 from beyond the arc, which marked their second-worst shooting performance of the season from three-point range. The Pirates entered tonight’s contest hitting almost 42% of its three-point attempts, yet against the Dawgs they could only muster a meager 15% from the perimeter. Sterling Gibbs, The Hall’s leading scorer at 17 points a game, was limited to merely 2 points. Isaiah Whitehead, who compliments Gibbs in the backcourt and nets almost 13 a game, managed just 5 points while dealing with foul trouble for much of the night. On the boards, Georgia manhandled Seton Hall, out-rebounding them 50 to 31.

2. The game’s tempo favored Georgia

Coming into this game, Seton Hall’s players preached about how they wanted to push the pace of this game and get out and run. Unfortunately for the Pirates, none of that happened. UGA dictated the pace of this game from the opening tip, which probably contributed to the fact that The Hall failed to take a lead once in this contest. Even though The Hall was meant to be the up tempo squad, Georgia tallied 16 fast break points while the Pirates had none. The Dawgs totally controlled the game, opening up a double-digit lead early that they never really relinquished.

3. Coach Fox got his best all around team effort of the season thus far

Just about everyone that Fox sent on the court tonight contributed in some way to the win. Kenny Gaines and Marcus Thornton finished with 15 and 13 points, respectively, leading the way offensively. J.J. Frazier hauled in a career high 11 rebounds to go along with 6 points, 7 assists and 3 steals. Juwan Parker played his best game of the season, chipping in 9 points to go with 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Yante Maten was a beast on the defensive end, grabbing 6 rebounds and blocking 5 shots.

In a game where Charles Mann and Neme Djurisic struggled, Georgia got excellent efforts from their other core players.

This win puts UGA at 6-3, and more importantly, it gives them a win against a team inside the top 25 RPI. The Dawgs have three more games before SEC play begins, and if they could manage to win all three Georgia would be positioned to make a run through the conference that could see them playing postseason basketball.

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Getting to know The Hall

This evening the Georgia Bulldogs will play host to the Seton Hall Pirates in a game that will mark the first meeting ever between these two programs. At 9-1, the Pirates present the most difficult home game that UGA has had thus far into the season. The Hall currently sits at #17 on ESPN’s latest RPI ratings, providing Georgia with an excellent opportunity for a quality win and a chance to improve upon its own RPI of 45.

The Hall’s lone loss came at #11 Wichita State, another one-loss team. Seton Hall is 1-1 on the road this season, coming off of a 89-69 thrashing at South Florida this past Thursday.

The strength of this Seton Hall team is its perimeter shooting, where the Pirates are currently hitting nearly 42% as a team, which is 10th best in the nation. The Hall is led offensively by guards Sterling Gibbs and Isaiah Whitehead, who are averaging 16.6 and 12.6 points per game, respectively.

The Pirates are an athletic bunch that uses a lot of full-court press to create a helter-skelter tempo, forcing opponents into nearly 14 turnovers a night.

“We want to use our athleticism, we want to pressure them a little bit so they’re not as comfortable,” offered Gibbs at a press conference earlier this week, discussing the approach his team planned to take against the Dawgs.

Inside, The Hall is led by Brandon Mobley, a Georgia native who is scoring over 10 points a night. Mobley reiterated Gibbs’s sentiments about his team’s up-tempo style of play, saying, “We’re just going to go out there and play Seton Hall basketball – we’re going to press, we’re going to run and we’re going to get out on the break.”

Mobley’s twitter feed certainly indicates his enthusiasm about returning home for this contest:

Tonight’s game tips off at 6:00PM.