Dawgs suffocate Spartans en route to 6th straight win

As basketball seasons progress, teams generally begin to develop an identity – a style of play that gives them an advantage so that they can win consistently.

After Georgia’s sixth win in a row on Saturday afternoon in Athens, it’s beginning to look like the Dawgs identity might be on the defensive side of things.  For the sixth time in as many games, UGA held its opponent under 60 points in regulation, with Mercer being the only team to eclipse that barrier due to an additional 15 minutes of play.  Against Norfolk State, Georgia played a stout man defense that carried them to a 63-50 victory.  Credit Mark Fox for getting his guys to come out and give such a strong effort against a team without a lot of name recognition.

Coming into today’s contest, UGA ranked 30th in the country in field goal percentage defense, holding the opposition to less than 38% a game.  This afternoon, the Dawgs limited the Spartans to just 29% from the floor, an effort that will surely move them up even further in the rankings for that category.

Georgia’s defensive performance was much needed considering the Dawgs’ leading scorers struggled to find offense in this one.  UGA’s top offensive contributors – Marcus Thornton, Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines – finished with 4, 10 and 9 points, respectively.  While Mann shot a dismal 2 of 8 from the floor, he did record a double-double, nabbing 10 rebounds to go along with 4 assists.

Sophomore J.J. Frazier picked up the slack on offense though, scoring a career high 20 points in 25 minutes of play.  Frazier shot lights out, knocking down 7 of 8 overall, including a 4 of 5 performance from beyond the arc.  When Norfolk’s Jeff Short hit a three to bring the Georgia lead to 38-34 with 13:32 remaining in the game, Frazier was a catalyst in helping to keep the Spartans at bay, grabbing a rebound and going to coast to coast for the layup to put UGA up 42-34.  On the Dawgs’ ensuing possession, Frazier buried a three-pointer to give his team a 45-34 advantage with a little over 11 minutes left – Norfolk State failed to recover from this second half Georgia run.

Frazier has now scored in double-digits in five games this season, and it seems as though it is only a matter of time before Coach Fox inserts him into the starting lineup in place of Juwan Parker, shifting Charles Mann to the 3-position.

Today’s win brings the Dawgs’ record to 9-3 on the season, and it marks the end of non-conference play.  Next week, UGA kicks off its SEC schedule with a pair of difficult games against Arkansas and LSU, both of whom have RPI’s below 30.  Georgia looks to move to 8-0 at home on the year when they take on Arkansas Tuesday night in the conference opener, and then they will travel to Baton Rouge over the weekend for a Saturday night tip-off against Louisiana State.

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7 thoughts on “Dawgs suffocate Spartans en route to 6th straight win

  1. I am constantly amazed that the smallest man on the court leads in effort and heady plays. It seems like JJ Frazier constantly leads the dogs in scoring,FT %, turnover to assist ratio, and scoring! UGA is getting one hell of a deal on his scholarship deal! The players on this team who are shooting less than 75% from the free throw line need to re-assess some priorities! Mike Potter

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  2. Tuesday will tell us a lot. I’m hopeful, but not brimming with confidence. We’re certainly not a well-oiled machine. The KSU game was extremely sloppy, and this one, while not so bad in that regard, was somewhat less than steller. I just don’t know what to think. Are we really that good defensively, or have we been lucky enough to catch everybody when their shooting is worse than ours? We lost the rebounding matchup here, and Norfolk couldn’t buy a basket. They couldn’t dribble either. Is that our defense? I don’t know. What I worry about is how we will do when a team shows up shooting over 50%. Can fouls and free throws compensate? Not yet. Can we shoot 55%? Not yet. Trust me, I’m glad we are on a stronger footing than last year, and I’m happy we bumped CO, SH, and KSU, but only in the Seton Hall game have we looked like the team we should be. Tuesday will tell us much.

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  3. Had a fourth-row seat behind the visitor’s bench for this one — I can now report with authority that J.J. Frazier is really, really fast. I wondered whether it was my vantage point that led me to conclude this was a really sloppy game, but evidently not. Maybe the best sign for the Dawgs was #10 for Norfolk hitting a three then screaming to the rafters “We’ll take on anybody! Anybody!!” So we’re “anybody” to somebody, which is nice.

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  4. While the D has been great, it has not been coming against quality offensive opponents. Scanning the list, I only see two of the Dawgs’ opponents thus far who are in the top 50 scoring offenses in the country – Gonzaga and Minnesota – and neither of those games turned out too well for the Dawgs. The Hogs have a good offense, so this will be a good indicator of just how good the D really is playing at the moment.

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