Here are some of my thoughts from that 82-48 shellacking:
Epic scoring drought
Georgia, a team that has had its offensive issues as of late, took it to a whole new level in Lexington on Tuesday night. To be specific, Kenny Gaines hit a three-pointer to cut the Kentucky lead to 19-13 with 13:36 left in the half, and then UGA didn’t score a field goal for the next 18 minutes. Let that sink in for a second.
By the time Charles Mann finally broke the dry spell on a lay up in the second half, Kentucky’s lead had grown to 52-26 with a little over 15 minutes remaining in the game. Not making any field goals for nearly half the game is a recipe for disaster against just about any college basketball team, but it’s especially detrimental when it happens at Rupp against the #22 Wildcats. Georgia’s 11 field goals tonight set a season low for Power 5 conference teams (UGA hit just 22% of its attempts from the floor).
Kentucky experienced an offensive rut of its own in the first half, going almost 7 minutes without a field goal, which allowed the Dawgs to get to within 6 points. Coach Calipari’s team snapped out of its funk, though, while Georgia didn’t, ending any hopes that Coach Fox’s team might have had of keeping the game close heading into the intermission; Kentucky led 42-24 at the break.
Kentucky’s backcourt dominance
UGA came into Rupp hoping that its backcourt would carry them on the road. Unfortunately, the Dawgs trio of J.J. Frazier, Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines were simply outplayed by the Wildcat guards. Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis scored 24 and 14, respectively, with Murray knocking down 6 of his 10 three-point attempts. In addition to his 14 points, Ulis had 8 assists and 3 steals, and he had J.J. Frazier’s number from the opening tip.
Frazier, Gaines and Mann combined for just 21 points, hitting 5 of their collective 24 attempts from the field. Frazier, who had only 4 of those points, failed to connect from the floor, missing all 8 of his attempts.
The Dawgs do not have the firepower on their roster to go into Lexington and play sloppy, and yet, that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday night for Coach Fox’s team. Credit the Wildcats – they have great athletes and Calipari does get them to play hard man defense. But Georgia was extremely careless with the ball on Tuesday, turning it over 15 times. Unfortunately, Kentucky committed just 7 turnovers, so Georgia gifted the Wildcats, who made over 52% from the floor, an extra 8 possessions. The culprit for 6 of UGA’s turnovers was none other than senior Charles Mann.
Georgia is now 13-9 overall and 6-5 in the SEC. Sadly, UGA just made its second consecutive appearance on ESPN’s “Bubble Watch” prior to tonight’s game. But after suffering their second beatdown to a ranked team on national television, the Dawgs are more than likely off that bubble now.
UGA has a couple of days off before hitting the road again to take on Missy State in Starkville this Saturday night.