Dawgs take Kentucky to overtime before losing 90-81

The Georgia Bulldogs (13-9) were a J.J. Frazier floater away from stunning the #8 Kentucky (18-4) Wildcats on their home floor and giving Coach Calipari his first ever three-game losing streak as the team’s skipper. But J.J.’s shot drew all glass (similarly to the Florida game) and sent the game into overtime, where the Dawgs simply ran out of magic.  The Cats overpowered Georgia in the extra 5 minutes and snapped its two-game losing streak by pulling out the 90-81 home win.

What went well for Georgia…

The Dawgs were at their best at the beginning and end of regulation.  Coach Mark Fox could not have scripted a better start for this game as his team jumped out to a 12-0 lead after barely 3 minutes of play.  Kentucky came out and tried to play the Dawgs in man defense and that just didn’t work.  Yante Maten scored the game’s first 7 points, and 4 of those came in the paint over the Cats’ Bam Adebayo.  The Dawgs connected on 9 of their first 10 field goals and held a 19-5 lead with 14:07 left before the break.

UGA played equally strong over the latter stretch of regulation.  With just 6:26 remaining and the Cats leading 66-58, the game started to feel as though it was slipping away for Georgia.  But the Dawgs would not relent.  Frazier scored 9 points over the last 6 minutes, making off-balanced lay ups and hitting an off the dribble three-pointer to bring his team within 2 points.  Freshman Jordan Harris stepped up as well and made an old-fashioned three-point play and later hit a shot from beyond the arc with 1:56 left that actually put the Dawgs up 73-71.

What didn’t go well for Georgia…

Coach Cal realized quickly that his team was struggling to defend Georgia in man, so he switch them into zone so that the bigs could double down on Maten whenever he touched it in the paint.  The result: Maten went scoreless over the final 18 minutes of play before the intermission and the Dawgs made only 3 of their final 15 shots from the floor.  After scoring 12 points before Big Blue Nation could find its seats, Georgia managed just 17 points over the final 16:48 of the half.

UGA failed to limit Kentucky to just one shot for much of the night.  Despite opening up a huge lead to begin the game, Georgia and Kentucky went into the break knotted up at 29 apiece because the Dawgs could not defensive rebound.  The Cats shot just 29% from the floor before halftime, but thanks to 11 offensive boards that led to 13 second chance points, they were able to claw their way back into the game.  Before it was all said and done, Kentucky would have 17 offensive rebounds and a whopping 24 second chance points.

Georgia’s matchup zone worked well for much of the night, but occasionally superstars just take over, and that’s exactly what happened inside Rupp Arena last evening.  Malik Monk, who only scored 6 points prior to the intermission, scorched the Dawgs for 31 over the final 25 minutes of this one.  Monk hit 7 three-pointers on the evening, many of which were with a hand in his face.  And it was Monk who delivered the contested baseline jumper over the outstretched arms of Derek Ogbeide to tie the game at 76, which forced this contest into overtime.

The other Wildcat that UGA failed to corral was Isaiah Briscoe, who has to be one of the most physical guards in the country.  Briscoe tirelessly pounded the ball inside and got himself to the line, where he scored 11 of his 23 points.  In addition to the offense, the Cats’ point guard hauled in a team-high 11 rebounds.  Ultimately, Monk and Briscoe were too much for Georgia to handle in Lexington, and I shudder to think of how UGA will match up with this Kentucky team when they come to Athens with the services of starter De’aaron Fox, who was out last night with a stomach bug.

Final thoughts…

Maten and Ogbeide played great, scoring 22 and 18, respectively.  Ogbeide also snagged 13 boards en route to a double-double.  These two dominated the inside on offense, and they really forced Calipari to change the way he wanted to defend the Dawgs.

Frazier had kind of a tough game until the final moments, but he did end up with a gutty 23 points, though it came at the expense of an 8 for 21 shooting effort.

But credit Coach Fox’s team for putting up a heck of a fight against a top 10 team in a building where they lost by 34 points a year ago.



14 thoughts on “Dawgs take Kentucky to overtime before losing 90-81

  1. Great win for the Dawgs! When I saw JJ take the shot from the lane with 2.0 left in the game, I knew we had won.

    Oh, wait…well, great effort by the Dawgs, especially clawing back in and taking the lead at the end. Hope to see that effort going forward the rest of the season.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting that Wilridge tends to get Kessler’s minutes against the most athletic teams we face. Of course, since he barely plays otherwise the game remains too fast for him. That our most athletic opponents seem also to be the best ones, one might posit a correlation that could prove helpful throughout the season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Does Crump ever play? I thought he was a key recruit for us? If so, then is he going to be satisfied sitting all year?

      I get that players need to develop, but it’s hard to convince some hot shot to come to UGA and sit for a couple of years for a chance to go to the NIT.


      1. Crump has been getting 2 to 3 minutes towards the latter part of the first half pretty consistently over the past several games. But he rarely sees the floor after halftime. I can’t imagine he is satisfied with his playing time.


  3. i had the same reaction as Russ. frazier is going to take it down and hit it! dawgs win!
    but he missed. both teams had a shot with the game on the line at the end of regulation. their guy made his, our guy missed. is my memory failing me, or is frazier not as clutch at the buzzer as he was in years past?
    gutty, physical games by maten and ogbeide. this game could have meant a lot to georgia. a tough one.


  4. I’m in a dark place after 8 years of this. I am usually the fan that says we still have a chance. they played tough. After last night, I fully appreciate the effort. The game was fun to watch, but we have reached a point where we have to start winning some of these types of games. We have been “so close” for so long. I agree with the above about Wilridge. If he is needed against the best teams, why is he benched against average teams. I cannot take it any longer. Need a change or a 10 game win streak to dig me out.

    On another note, I keep reading articles about Fox having this team at another level than Felton. Since I went to every game in the Steg during those years, I might disagree. The opposition that Felton faced was much greater than Fox. Felton’s teams (although bad) had to face a good but not great Kentucky, a great Florida team, a good Pearl led Tennessee team, and Stalling’s Doors during their sweet sixteen runs TWICE a year. I agree recruiting might be better but I’m not so sure our current team could be above .500 against that competition night in and night out.

    Just my two cents. Still hoping for the best and the kids are trying. I would just like to see something different..


      1. And Felton recruited well toward the end – remember, he is the one who landed Sundiata Gaines, Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie.


  5. I don’t get why JJ has been passing up wide open deep shots all year to drive in and try an off balance floater over somebody thats a foot taller than he is. If I’m not mistaken he was close to perfect on his 3’s last night, or at least the ones he took when uncontested. Both defenders on that last push dropped down into the paint inviting him to come in there. If he stops at the perimeter then he has a wide open uncontested look to win the game. I would take that over the shot he settled for all day every day.


  6. I haven’t seen anyone address this, but part of JJ’s difficulties tend to be his consistent lack of support from his backcourt mates. Last year he had Mann as the main option going to the hoop and Gaines to take some of the pressure off him on the perimeter when they were both in the game. Now it falls on JJ to be the driver if penetration is needed, a tough task for someone under 6 ft. (compared to Mann’s 6’5″). But he, too, is the most viable outside option who is consistently drawing the opposition’s best perimeter defender. I was originally a booster of his, but face it, Turtle has not done the job. I haven’t seen a game in person this year, now living in Nevada, but is it that Turtle is too slow to be effective at penetrating? I saw him shoot lights out from long range in high school but Turtle simply seems unconfident shooting from outside from what I can glean from TV coverage,
    . Perhaps if Harris or Crump had been another year along JJ would have the backcourt support he needs to play his game and not have to do everything. That;’s a tough task for any guard at the major college level.


    1. To me, the biggest thing Turtle lacks is confidence. He’s had a few moments where he’s beaten his man off the dribble and driven the ball to the basket, but those moments have been few and far in between. And on each of those occasions I’ve wondered why he doesn’t do that more often, and the only answer I can think of is that he just doesn’t feel sure enough of himself yet at this level.


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