Georgia played its best first half of the season, but in the end the Dawgs couldn’t find enough offense to pull off the upset in Newark. Here are some thoughts I had on the game:
Hello Yante Maten
Yante Maten, who has been a relative non-factor through the first 3 games, stepped up and scored a career high 21 points tonight against the Seton Hall Pirates. Maten put together his most complete offensive performance as a Bulldog, showcasing a midrange jump shot that hopefully is here to stay. He also hit 9 of his 11 attempts from the line, helping to keep his within striking distance of the Pirates for much of the night.
Defense takes a step back
Playing primarily man defense for much of the evening, Coach Mark Fox’s team struggled to contain Seton Hall’s guards, allowing Isaiah Whitehead and Khadeen Carrington to finish with 22 and 20 points, respectively. Fox managed to slow the Pirates down late in the second half by switching into a zone with the Dawgs trailing 60-57, and Georgia even pulled to within a point following a pair of free throws from Kenny Paul Geno. However, Whitehead quickly went off for 7 points to send his team up 67-59 with only 29 seconds left, and the Pirates would eventually win 69-62.
Seton Hall killed Georgia on the glass, hauling in 13 offensive rebounds, which contributed to 30 second chance points for the Pirates. Even though UGA shot the ball much better this evening (47%), the Dawgs do not have enough scorers to give opposing teams too many additional opportunities on offense.
Georgia’s backcourt was supposed to be a strength this year
Kenny Gaines hit 5 of his 10 shots and finished with 13 points, but he had to work extremely hard for those attempts. Right now, Gaines is clearly the only scoring threat that UGA has on the perimeter, and defenses are certainly aware of it – Seton Hall defenders were draped over Gaines all night, denying him off the ball for much of the game. Until Charles Mann and J.J. Frazier find some offense, Gaines will continue to be keyed in on by the opposition.
Frazier and Mann are really hurting UGA right now, especially J.J. He made only 2 of his 11 field goal attempts en route to just 4 points, and Frazier is now 6 for his last 32 from the floor. If J.J. cannot start converting more of his shots, then hopefully Coach Fox can convince him to at least take less of them.
Mann continues to bull his way into the defense in the hopes that he gets a whistle, which hasn’t been happening a lot lately. Mann connected on only 2 of his 6 shots, giving him 5 points on the night.