Georgia played a great first half.
Georgia played a not so great second half.
The Dawgs gutted out the first 20 minutes with little help from Yante Maten, who was on the bench with foul trouble for nearly 16 minutes to start the game. However, UGA was able to slow things down, and thanks to a combined 18 points from J.J. Frazier and Kenny Gaines, the Dawgs actually took a 35-32 lead into the intermission on the road in Waco.
Baylor rocked Georgia coming out of the break, though, going on a 17-2 run that saw them run the score up to 49-37 after a free throw by Rico Gathers with 16:03 left in the game. The Dawgs fought, but they couldn’t ever recover from this onslaught from the Bears.
Georgia packed in their defense in the first half, daring Baylor to shoot it from the outside, and for twenty minutes, it worked. But once the Bears found their stroke from the perimeter, UGA’s defense became vulnerable. After only hitting 1 three-pointer in the first half, the Bears caught fire in the final 20 minutes, knocking down 6 shots from beyond the arc following the intermission.
Baylor ended up besting the Dawgs by a score of 83-73.
The Bears were led by Gathers, who scored 17 points to go along with his 9 rebounds. Baylor had 5 players finish in double-figures, and they shot over 45% as a team from the floor.
The Dawgs ended up with 4 players finishing in double-figures, with Frazier leading the way with 21 points and 11 assists, his first double-double of the year. Maten, who played limited minutes, netted 18 points to go with his 7 rebounds. Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann ended up with 14 and 13 points, respectively.
While Georgia was an 11-point underdog heading into tonight’s game, the Dawgs gave the UGA fanbase hope by playing an inspired first half. However, Coach Mark Fox’s team came out flat during one of the most critical stretches of any basketball game – the first 5 minutes of the second half – and Georgia paid dearly by having to play uphill for the final 20 minutes.
This loss puts the Dawgs at 11-8 on the season, and it leaves their NCAA tournament chances looking bleak at best. At this point, Coach Mark Fox needs something short of a “Dennis Felton-esque” tornado to enable his team to win the SEC tournament if UGA has any hopes of dancing. For Georgia, the NIT is looking like a more attainable goal; though the Dawgs need to string together a few wins at some point for the NIT to even materialize.