Dawgs top Rebels for third-straight SEC win

Georgia’s inability to hit free throws at the end of the game left the door open for Ole Miss in this one, giving the Rebels a chance to tie, down 63-60, with only 54 seconds left on the clock.  However, Charles Mann, who was guilty of missing the front end of two one-and-one’s late, made amends by drawing a heady charge on Mississippi guard Jarvis Summers.

The Dawgs went on to make their next 6 attempts from the line, and UGA came away with the 69-62 conference win – their third in a row.

Georgia began the game playing rather sloppy, possibly still feeling the effects of a post-Florida win hangover.  The Dawgs looked nothing like the team that hit its first 7 shots against the Gators in opening minutes of this contest.  In tonight’s game, UGA missed all 7 of its three-point tries before the break. Heading into the locker room, Georgia was only connecting on 33% of its shots from the floor as a team.  Before a Cameron Forte layup that brought his team within 3 points with 8:15 left before intermission, Coach Mark Fox’s team had been mired in a nearly 9-minute slump in which they failed to convert a field goal.

Contributing to Georgia’s first half struggles was a general lack of effort on the glass. Georgia entered game with the best defensive rebounding percentage in the conference, yielding just 11 offensive rebounds a night to opponents.  However, Ole Miss nabbed 7 offensive boards in the first half, giving them extra opportunities to score.

Marcus Thornton, who led the Dawgs in scoring, carried his team in the first half, scoring 11 of his 16 points.

However, Mark Fox must have given one heck of a halftime speech because his team came out of the break playing with some serious fire.  UGA opened up the first 5 minutes of the second with a 15-8 run that saw them reclaim the lead after a post-move by Marcus Thornton with 15 minutes remaining.  Charles Mann, who was held scoreless before the break due to foul trouble, scored 8 of his 12 points during this stretch of the game. Additionally, after grabbing just 4 offensive rebounds in the contest’s first 20 minutes, Georgia pulled down 3 offensive boards in this same span.

Once again, Georgia had four players – Thornton, Mann, Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier – finish the game in double-figures.  Cameron Forte, who gave Coach Fox quality minutes off the bench this evening, nearly made the fifth player to reach double-digits, scoring 9 points to go along with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.

The Dawgs got their act together in the final 20 minutes of this contest, hitting almost 50% from the floor, and yielding just 4 offensive boards to the Rebels.

Ole Miss’s Stefan Moody led all scorers with 26 points.  UGA limited Jarvis Summers – who nets nearly 14 a night – to only 7 points in Athens.

Tonight’s victory gives Georgia another quality win against an RPI Top 50 opponent.  In his latest Bracketology this week, Joe Lunardi had UGA pitted as a 10-seed; however, Georgia’s stock surely will go up following this game.

This victory puts the Dawgs in a three-way tie for third place in the league.  For now.  Should Tennessee lose its game later tonight against South Carolina, Georgia would be locked into a four-way tie for second.

Saturday, Coach Fox’s team has a golden opportunity to steal a road conference win in Starkville against Missy State, a team that has started out just 1-3 in SEC play.

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14 thoughts on “Dawgs top Rebels for third-straight SEC win

  1. CCF gave quality minutes and 9points and a beautiful give and go to Neimi when we desparately needed a hoop! He has provided a nice step up since JuWan has been injured! All on a night when the Dogs struggled with most aspects of the game! FT shooting was a joke but other aspects of the game carried us through! We held serve at home and now we have some road opportunities! Go Dogs!

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  2. Nice! Not only was that a resume-building games where the Dawgs beat a potential tourney team, but that also looked an awful lot like one of those character-building games which should help the team in some tough games later down the road. The Dawgs certainly had some chances to fold against the Rebels, and I think a less experienced team would have done so. Go Dawgs!

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  3. I agree with hoopdawg that CMF must have given a great halftime speech. The Dawgs were lethargic in the first half and the Steg was barely half full. It was amazing that we were only down 6 at the half when Neme, Mann, and Gaines had all been held scoreless.

    The second half was a different story with some intensity on defense and very few turnovers other than a short spurt when we did so twice in a minute or so. Kudos to the bench for rallying and having four in double figures and another with 9. We’re a tough bunch to beat if we don’t beat ourselves. Beat the Maroons!

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  4. Nice resume win!

    Hoop – what do you make of Coach Fox not signing the contract extension that UGA offered last spring? It would pay him $1.7M per year.

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  5. Fox seemed to blame the “flat” crowd for the boys’ flat start. I knew the crowd would be down simply because of the short turnaround from Saturday. With the game on SECTV, many fans would save their energy and money for another day. It seems somewhat naïve (and Fox is not naïve…disingenuous?) to assert that we have built the basketball draw to create another dynamic atmosphere on a Tuesday two days after a huge Florida game. That said, I was disappointed with the student turnout. They don’t have the travel or money excuse. I’d wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some 1000 were there in total. But as you noted, the game’s start gave us little to cheer. I kept thinking how the free throw problem was going to be our death, and it very nearly was. Luckily, the boys gutted one out. Marcus put us on his back. Cam came through. Mann came through late, and JJ came through. (Nemi seemed reluctant to shoot all night. When the crowd groaned at him passing up an open 3, he quickly tried a contested one and left it short. I can’t guess what he was thinking.) Our modified 3-2 on offense late – with Nemi out on point with Mann coming from low and pulling up to the free throw line – seemed to give us that bit of space we needed to keep Ole Miss at bay – our shooting cooled off again late in the 2nd half. It wasn’t pretty by any stretch, but as the boys found that spark of fight, the crowd rose behind them, and we notched another good win. Barring a complete collapse, Ole Miss’s final SEC record will be another positive in our resume. Seems like a good time to take two from the state of Mississippi.

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    1. Fox gave a ton of credit to the crowd after the Florida game. It is undeniable that the home crowd can have a huge impact on college basketball games. There are only 3 more weeknight home games and one is against Kentucky so the Steg should be packed for most remaining games if we keep winning.

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    2. There were definitely more than 1000 students there last night. Those in attendance were active but the rest of the Steg was pretty dead. I agree with Fox that the fans should show up—the team has played quite well…just beat Florida and has an RPI in the low 20s. I understand the Atlanta traffic issue but with a coliseum of only 10,500 capacity, just the Athens area alone should be sufficient to fill it.

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  6. Any known reason we seem to be playing more Tuesday nights than ever? I’m guessing TV contracts are the reason, but I liked the old Wednesday-Saturday routine. (I fear change.)

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  7. I have been disappointed w/the student turnouts this year! Even the Ga-Fla game which was listed as a sellout had maybe 1500-2000 empties! I keep thinking that we may one day have the 10,523 which is listed as a sellout! Our students don’t really have an excuse. It’s dreary outside and it seems like the dorms would empty w/any excuse! The players much prefer the Sat. type crowd compared to tonight’s crowd! Tonight they were slow coming and they waited on the team to get them going! They need to come early and get loud to get team going! At some point they will get behind these dogs and realize what they are missing!

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  8. Fox has to realize that a large part of the season ticket holder base drives from the ATL. This was the first game I missed all year but could not leave early again for the 7pm tip. The new SEC tv deal unfortunately has eliminated the 8pm tips that we pushed to about 2 years ago. That made my commute much easier to get there while also having time to stop to eat. That being said. The first 10 minutes of 2nd half was one hell of a team. Charles Mann is going to put me in the grave with his free throw shooting at the 5 min mark. He was solid the last 2 minutes but if he had hit the front ends earlier it would have been easier.

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