Dawgs knocked out of NIT by Saint Mary’s

Georgia followed up its best offensive output of the season – a 93-point effort in the win over Belmont – with one of its worst performances on Sunday night in Moraga, California. The Dawgs couldn’t finish on the inside, and their outside shooting was terrible, making just 4 of 17 three-point attempts.  Saint Mary’s, on the other hand, didn’t have any trouble  scoring the ball as they knocked down 50% of their field goal attempts en route to a relatively easy 77-65 win over UGA in the second round of the NIT Tournament.

The Dawgs offense looked inauspicious from the start.  Yante Maten, coming off the best offensive performance of his career against Belmont, struggled mightily in half number one.  Maten made just 3 of his 13 field goal attempts, with many of his misses coming on very makable shots.  Things didn’t get any better for Yante in the second half either as he finished the game with 12 points on a 6 for 22 shooting effort.

As a team, UGA made under 30% of its shots prior to the intermission. Georgia endured one of its typical scoring droughts in the first half, this one lasting nearly 8 minutes.  During this stretch, Georgia failed to convert a field goal, while Saint Mary’s went on a 15-3 run that bolstered its lead to 27-17.  The Gaels would take a 36-23 advantage into the break.

Georgia’s defense was equally as frustrating as its offense.  Coach Mark Fox moved his guys from a zone to man, and then back to zone.  Regardless, the Dawgs were slow to close out on the Gaels all game.  Saint Mary’s moved the ball quickly around the floor, and it seemed like the Georgia players were always a second late getting to the right spot.  The Gaels made 9 shots from beyond the arc, knocking down almost 38% of their attempts.  Saint Mary’s had four players finish in double-figures, with Emmett Naar leading the way with 15 points.

The Dawgs also had four starters end the game in double-digits.  Charles Mann and J.J. Frazier led Bulldogs with 13 points apiece.

This loss ends Georgia’s season as the Dawgs finish up at 20-14 overall.  Today’s game also marks the last for seniors Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann, who both finished in the top twenty of UGA’s all-time scoring leaders.

The Dawgs had another chance today to notch an RPI Top 50 win (ESPN had the Gaels at 40), but alas it wasn’t meant to be, making Georgia 0 for 6 on the year against teams of this caliber.

Next year, UGA is going to have to win some of these games if they want to be playing on CBS, TBS, TNT or TRU TV this time of year, rather than ESPNU.

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4 thoughts on “Dawgs knocked out of NIT by Saint Mary’s

  1. Tough to win a game when you’re 1A player is hobbling around in a boot and your 1B is having the roughest offensive game of his career. St. Mary’s is a very efficient and well coached team. The one thing that I was very suprised by was their physicality in the paint. Maybe that bothered Maten? I’m not sure what his problem was.
    On to next year!

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  2. The Gaels seemed to be able to have a big slow body hanging off of Yante w/some help that swiped and fouled him at will when the ball was fed to him in the post! Coach Fox seemed to point this out to the zebras who had no interest in his assistance! I guess they wern’t aware that he had lived through an entire season of SEC play with the same problem! As great as Yante was against Belmont, he was equally bad against St. Mary’s! I also noticed what I thought was another verbal/physical altercation between Charles Mann and Michael Edwards! Did any one else notice this in the game against Belmont as well???? Apparently Mann did not appreciate the youthful hustle of Edwards and may have felt a bit threatened in his last few games as a Dog! Good Luck to Mann and Gaines in their future endeavors!!! They may have ended their careers as 2 of the winningest Dogs’ ever! Three straight 20 win seasons is pretty good!

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  3. I second Sansho’s shout out to hoop for a job well done. Now on to next season. I was pleasantly surprised with how far Yante came this year and would expect him to remain a prime time performer. JJ also came a long way. One of my friends out here (California) watched JJ twice and , as a Warrior fan, paid JJ the supreme compliment by comparing his game to Steph Currey’s. Once JJ began to come inside with his soft floaters and trips to the rim, he suddenly became more than a long-range bomber. (Now he needs to become better at distributing the rock and suddenly he’s in Ulis territory). If Edwards and Ogbeide come half as far next year as Maten came this year, and if Turtle and Wilridge continue to develop, next year’s team could well contend for the SEC title. Of course, that means we will have to get some meaningful play from the two freshman guards, some senior leadership out of Geno and Kessler, and, hopefully, the successful return of Parker. I can’t help from lamenting the absence of a slashing small forward this past year(Brandon Morris would have made the team especially formidable). So I hope that the one guy that Fox still hopes to add to next year’s class is that type of player just in case Wilridge doesn’t progress as far as I hope. All in all, I think that is a real basis for being optimistic about the next couple of years (and beyond if
    Fox can ever successfully recruit a few of the blue-chippers who are likely to stay for more than a year or two).

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