The Dawgs (12-7) lost in truly bizarre fashion in College Station on Saturday afternoon. With a little over 16 seconds left, J.J. Frazier brought the ball up the court with his team trailing by a point. When the clock hit 5.6 seconds, Frazier found himself in trouble, facing a double-team near the perimeter. Fortunately, Frazier managed to find Yante Maten on the block, where he quickly turned and drew a foul going towards the bucket. At the moment, it appeared that Maten was headed to the line with a chance to put his team ahead of Texas A&M (9-9). The problem, however, was that the clock still showed 5.6 seconds. The officials gathered, discussed and determined that more than 6 seconds had eclipsed since the game clock ceased running, and they decided that the contest was over, giving the Aggies the 63-62 home win.
While this decision certainly deserves some explaining from the SEC’s league office, Georgia can hardly be that upset considering how horribly the Dawgs played down the stretch. After building up a 56-43 advantage with a little over 10 minutes remaining, UGA’s final 17 possessions resulted in 10 turnovers and a 1 for 7 performance from the floor. The Aggies full court trap press mystified Georgia and forced the Dawgs into 4 turnovers in the final 2 minutes of play. Texas A&M ended the game on a 10-0 run and stole a victory from the Dawgs in a contest that UGA led for the majority of the afternoon.
As bummed as I am regarding the loss, I’m equally curious as to whether Coach Mark Fox’s team actually has a press break offense. The A&M trap was tough, but nothing that a Division I team from a Power 5 conference shouldn’t be able to figure out. The Dawgs, however, seemed content to go the route of a broken record as they repeatedly inbounded the ball far too low and to the corner, making it incredibly easy for the Aggie defenders to trap Frazier. Not once during this nightmare of an ending did Georgia pass the ball into a player above the free throw line.
UGA’s offense over the last quarter of this game completely contrasted what it had done over the previous thirty minutes. For most of the afternoon, the Dawgs were highly efficient on offense, carving up the Aggies 2-3 zone by getting the ball to either the short corner or free throw line. Before the meltdown, Georgia hit over 46% from the floor and 6 of 10 from beyond the arc, and they had 14 team assists to just 7 turnovers. Texas A&M’s 10-0 run to end the game was payback for the one that UGA went on going into the intermission. Yante Maten and Tyree Crump hit back to back three-pointers to send the Dawgs up 39-29 at the half.
Defensively, UGA’s match up zone kept the Aggies in check. A&M made only 36% of its shots from the floor, and the team’s leading scorer, Tyler Davis, finished with just 8 points. The Aggies out-rebounded the Dawgs 40-38 and they hauled in 18 offensive boards, but when a team starts two 6’9″s and two 6’10″s that can almost be expected.
The Aggies were led offensively by Robert Williams and D.J. Hogg, who finished with 18 and 16, respectively.
Georgia had just two players finish in double-figures: Maten (19) and Frazier (11).
After committing only 6 turnovers on Tuesday against Vandy, the Dawgs returned to their careless ways, giving the ball away 17 times.
UGA now has two losses to teams with RPI’s above 100: Texas A&M (110) and Oakland (127). Both of these games will fall into the old “bad loss” category in regards to Georgia’s NCAA tournament resume, which took a major hit today in College Station.