Georgia loses a heartbreaker in Oxford

With 3.8 seconds remaining in the game, Georgia got the ball into Charles Mann’s hands near half court, providing the Dawgs with a chance at a  reasonable last second shot.  Mann’s pass to Kenny Gaines was deflected, though, forcing Gaines to take an off-balanced three-pointer that careened off the rim, giving Mississippi the 72-71 home win.

UGA yielded 29 points to Stefan Moody, though none were bigger than the two he hit to send his team up by one with less than 4 seconds remaining (even though it appeared as though he needed three steps to get that basket).

The Dawgs put up a gutty effor on the road, falling just short in Oxford on Saturday night.  Georgia played the final stretch of this one without its star player, Yante Maten, who fouled out with 3:36 remaining in the game; Maten left with a team-high 20 points and 9 rebounds, his team clinging to a 64-62 lead.

Neither team shot the ball well in Oxford on Saturday, with both squads hitting just 36% from the floor.  Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines were the only other Bulldogs to finish in double-figures for Coach Mark Fox, scoring 15 and 14, respectively.  Gaines’s points, however, came at the expense of a 3 for 14 shooting performance.

Georgia looked like it was going to get run out of the gym early, falling behind 19-11 with 12:50 left before the break after a layup by Rashad Brooks.

The Dawgs didn’t flinch, though. Rather, UGA responded with an impressive 16-2 run, capped off by a pair of free throws from Charles Mann that gave Georgia a 27-21 advantage. The Dawgs would go on to take a 44-35 lead into the intermission.

But Georgia went ice cold in the second half, hitting just 7 of its 24 field goal attempts.  Slowly but surely, Ole Miss cut into the UGA lead until it had been whittled down to nothing.

The biggest bright spot off the Georgia bench had to be Derek Ogbeide, who scored 9 points to go along with his 10 boards, falling just a basket shy of his first career double-double.  The Rebels opted not to guard starter Houston Kessler from the outside, which leaves one wondering just how long he will continue to see more minutes than Ogbeide, who seems far more productive than the senior at this point in the season.

This loss leaves UGA at 1-2 in conference, and it’s going to sting for a bit.  The Dawgs appeared to be on their way to their first SEC road win of the season before Moody knifed his way to the basket and put his team on top.

Georgia will need to get over this loss quickly, though,  as they have two difficult home games on the horizon next week against Tennessee and #21 Texas A&M.

Advertisements

Dawgs tame Tigers, improve to 1-1 in conference play

The Georgia Bulldogs (8-4) rebounded nicely from their loss last Saturday to the Florida Gators, blasting the Missouri Tigers (7-7) at home in Athens on Tuesday night.  The Dawgs didn’t waste any time either, jumping out to a 10-0 lead following a Yante Maten basket before even 3 minutes had the chance to expire.

Mizzou managed to trim he UGA lead to 24-18 with 7:30 left before the break after a pair of three’s from Wes Clark. However, this mini-run came at a time when Coach Fox had all but one starter on the floor.  He immediately sent in his starting five and 3 minutes later the Dawgs lead had blossomed to 33-20.

Georgia played great offensively tonight, though some of that was due to the Tigers’ soft defense.  Mizzou looked as if it was moving in slow motion compared to the Gators’ hectic defensive style of play.

However, the Dawgs do deserve some credit for their productivity.  Georgia shot a robust 55% from the floor and an even better 58% from three-point land.  In addition, UGA shared the ball incredibly well, dishing out 19 team assists.

Georgia had four of its starters finish in double-figures, with J.J. Frazier leading the way with 16 points.

Yante Maten, who had 15 points and 6 boards on the night, scored 13 of those in the first half.  Maten was unstoppable from the start, and with about 12 minutes left before the intermission he was outscoring the Tigers 11-10 on his own.   Had Georgia not been coasting so much in the second half, Maten could have easily gone for 20+ in this one.

Senior Charles Mann had a nice comeback game, scoring 14 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists.  Mann hit 2 of his 3 three-point attempts against Mizzou, and he is now making over 45% of his three’s on the season – although, he’s only shot 11 of them.

Ultimately though, Missouri didn’t have an answer for anything UGA was doing.  They couldn’t even begin to wrap their minds around how to deal with Maten, and on top of that, Georgia was stroking the ball extremely well from beyond the arc.

Not to take away from Coach Fox’s team, but this Missouri team is very young and they don’t shoot very well, hitting just 35% from the floor and less than 16% from the perimeter in tonight’s contest.  The Dawgs played pretty well defensively, but the Tigers weren’t much of a threat, missing a number of close shots around the rim.

This 77-59 home win evens Georgia’s SEC record at 1-1, with a road matchup against Ole Miss on the horizon.  While this game is going to be taking place outside Athens, the Rebels play Bama at home on Thursday evening, meaning that they will be dealing with a quick turnaround in order to prepare for the Dawgs.

Dawgs begin conference play with a loss

After winning four games in a row to close out December, including victories over Clemson and Georgia Tech, Georgia (7-4, 0-1) appeared to have finally met its match on Saturday in Gainesville against the Florida Gators.

Actually, UGA looked overmatched.

Florida’s defense overwhelmed the Dawgs.  Georgia had difficulty getting into its offense on a number of possessions, struggling to handle the Gators’ pressure.

The result: UGA hit less than 36% of its shots from the floor, including going just 2 of 12 from beyond the arc.  This offensive ineptness ultimately led to a 77-63 Florida win in both of these team’s first SEC game of the season.

Also, Florida hit 9 three-pointers, and the Gators had five players finish in double-figures, with KeVaughn Allen leading the way with 18 points.   Florida took a lot more uncontested shots than Georgia, which aided them in shooting a higher percentage on Saturday.

This contest seemed as though it was going to get out of hand early after Devin Robinson hit a three that gave his Gators a 24-11 advantage with a little over 9 minutes left in the half.  The Dawgs recovered, though, trimming the Florida lead to 38-31 going into the intermission.

Coming out of the break, Yante Maten scored 6 of his team’s first 8 points,  including a jumper with 16:58 left in the game that cut the Gator advantage to just 43-39.  It didn’t remain close for long, however, as Florida went on an 11-5 run that saw the score balloon to 54-44 with a little more than 12 minutes remaining.

The Dawgs were unable to close that gap over the final 10 minutes – actually, it increased – and Georgia suffered a double-digit loss at the hands of its rival.

Maten finished with 20 points and 7 rebounds, and it seems likely that he will end up on an All-SEC team by year’s end.

Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier were the only other Bulldogs to end up in double-figures, scoring 13 and 12, respectively.

Charles Mann ended up with 9 points, but he shot only 1 of 7 from the field and he failed to dish out a single assist. Additionally, Mann committed a team high 3 turnovers, and he now has 3 more turnovers than assists on the season, which is troubling considering he is a senior guard.

The Dawgs will be more successful this season if Mark Fox can convince Mann that his job on this team is to be a role player.  Mann is shooting under 31% on the season, and he continues to force things offensively – and not in a good way.

UGA’s best offensive options are Maten, Gaines and Frazier, so Mann and the rest of the Bulldogs should feel obliged to get these three players as many decent looks at the basket as possible, night in, night out.

At the end of the day, though, conference road wins are tough to come by in college basketball, so UGA fans should steer clear of the panic button.  Georgia hosts Missouri in Athens on Wednesday, and then the Dawgs have a winnable road game next Saturday in Oxford.

By this time next week, Georgia could have a winning SEC record.