Georgia Overpowers Alabama in the Paint to Win 70-63

This is Decatur Dawg guest blogging through the SEC tournament while Hoop Dawg is wandering the Mexican desert.  I will do my best to fill his large shoes during this critical part of the season.

Georgia owned the paint on Senior Night against a big Alabama front line and won an entertaining game 70-63.  The Dawgs dominated the glass, posting a huge 48-26 rebounding advantage and scoring almost all of our 70 points inside or from the foul line.

After a nice ceremony for seniors Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann pregame, the Dawgs came out shooting cold, missing 8 of our first 9 shots while the Tide staked a 10-4 lead over the first five minutes of play.  Coach Fox presumably directed the ball inside during the first timeout and Yante Maten promptly scored 7 straight points – including a nice three point play off an alert interior pass from Derek Ogbeide – to give the Dawgs an 11-10 lead.

The Dawgs led most of the way from that point but the Tide did make a quick 7-0 run to grab the lead 40-38 with a transition bucket off a block of Kessler’s shot.  Georgia was not going to lose this game though, and the Dawgs got the crowd on its feet when JJ Fraiser fed Maten in transition for a monster dunk that put the Dawgs up for good with 7 minutes left.  JJ then made 10 of 10 free throws down the stretch to ice the game.

Maten was Georgia’s player of the game with 19 points and 5 rebounds and converted three old fashioned three point plays along the way.  Freshmen Ogbeide and Mike Edwards also played probably their best games as Bulldogs as well, combining for 12 points and 9 rebounds in 37 combined minutes.  Ogbeide was particularly effective in the first half with 8 points and 5 rebounds but mysteriously spent a lot of time on the bench in the second half.  This was clearly the best game of the season for the Bulldogs’ young front line and showed much promise for the future.

Gaines and Mann had solid, if unspectacular games in what was likely their last game at the Steg.  Mann in particular played great defense and contributed 7 rebounds.

Alabama was led by a surprising 25 point night from Shannon Hale off the bench.  His ability to shoot from outside seemed to create a bad defensive matchup for Maten in the second half.

WIth this win, Georgia ended the regular season on a three game winning streak and heads to Nashville with strong momentum for the SEC Tournament.  Georgia also finished the SEC schedule with a winning record for a third straight season and that makes four straight SEC campaigns of .500 or better — the first such streak in Georgia history and a major accomplishment for Coach Fox.

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9 thoughts on “Georgia Overpowers Alabama in the Paint to Win 70-63

  1. Thanks Decatur Dawg, nice job! How great it was to again excel in rebounding and free throws enough to overcome turnovers and some poor shooting. It was really touching at the end of the game to hear the ovations for Charles and Kenny. Although I wish Arkansas had beaten Carolina today to give us the #5 seed, I’ll take the 6. Hopefully we can smoke the Maroons and beat the Gamecocks one more time to get us to the semi-finals. Goooooooooooo Dawgs!

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  2. Good write-up. Great way to end the season with wins over good Gamecock and Tide teams. No easy road through this tournament, but I am happy with the match-ups we have for this round and the semis. What’s the prognosis, would two wins be enough to get us in the tournament, or do we need to get win the automatic bid? With our out-of-conference SOS, I’d think just getting to the finals should be enough. Go Dawgs!

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      1. I do think it is possible for Georgia to make the NCAA without winning the tournament. Look for a blog about our prospects this afternoon.

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  3. Obviously I’m prejudiced, but if Carolina is in, 2wins should be enough to get us in! The SEC is so young this year, every game was a trial, even for TAM and KY. 19-13 with 5 straight wins should get us some consideration! I was so tired of watching this Joe Lunardi guy over the weekend! Quite often he had us playing FLA in the SEC and not even gettting any consideration for the Big Dance! All this guy did was spread confusion! Still the Dawgs finished pretty strong! Good Luck where ever the Dawgs go!

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      1. One thing is certain at this point! The Dawgs play Fla.in the First round of the SEC tournament and 19-13 probably won’t get us in. We have to beat some one we are not expected to beat! (and) Joe Lunardi is on the Gonzaga-BYU game spreading his confusion! I’m still hoping to get in! Go Dawgs!

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