Dawgs relinquish halftime lead, lose to Kansas State

J.J. Frazier’s last-second desperation shot looked like it was in fact tipped in front of the rim by a Kansas State (6-1) defender.  However, the ball still just barely glanced the rim, so either his shot was going to be an air ball, or it might have barely glanced the front of the rim.

Either way, Georgia lost 68-66 to the Wildcats, a team that Sports Illustrated projected to finish last in the Big 12 heading into the season.  For Georgia (3-3), dropping a game at home that they controlled for much of the first half has to be frustrating.  Once again, UGA shot the ball well – 45% – and lost.

The Dawgs went up 42-37 with 15:50 left in the second half after a jumper from Yante Maten. For some reason, though, over the next 9 minutes Yante didn’t attempt a single field goal.  To make matters worse, Kenny Gaines took just two shots during the same time frame, hitting one of them, before knocking down a pair of free throws that dropped the KSU lead to 56-55 with 6:16 left.  The Dawgs failed to get the ball to their two hottest players during a critical stretch in the second half, and the Wildcats capitalized by taking the lead.

Maten and Gaines, who finished with 20 and 17 points, respectively, have established themselves as Georgia’s best offensive players.  Yet, for a major chunk of the second half of this game, they took a combined two field goal attempts.

The Dawgs have to do a better job of recognizing that Maten and Gaines demand touches, especially in the latter part of a close game.

Coach Fox’s team had far too many second half possessions that ended with Frazier, who made only 3 of his 10 shots, hurling up a rushed shot to beat the shot clock.

Georgia’s defense held the Wildcats to under 40% from the floor, but UGA once again struggled to limit second chances as they allowed Kansas State to pull down 16 offensive rebounds.  Defensive rebounding has been a hallmark of Mark Fox coached teams at Georgia during his tenure, but this year’s team seems to be struggling when it comes to holding teams to just one shot.

Kansas State coach Bruce Weber enjoyed balanced scoring from his team tonight in Athens, with four players finishing in double-figures.

Coach Fox’s team has played two power conference teams this year – Seton Hall and Kansas State – and they are 0-2.  If the Dawgs cannot find a way to be successful against these bigger schools it could turn out to be a long SEC season for Coach Fox’s team.