Georgia basketball wins its second game in a row

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Mike Edwards finishing a lob from J.J. Frazier.

Last night’s contest with Mississippi State had trap game written all over it.  Sandwiched right in between last Saturday’s thrilling comeback over Tennessee and next Saturday’s showdown with SEC monster Kentucky was an unassuming matchup with another team brandishing a 5-7 conference record.

For the first twenty minutes of this one, Georgia looked as if they just weren’t all there. On offense, UGA clunked and clanked around the court as they turned the ball over 9 times and mustered a subpar 25% shooting percentage from the floor.  J.J. Frazier, the hero from the game in Knoxville, went the whole half without a field goal, and his teammate, Yante Maten, managed only one himself.  Defensively, the Dawgs played as if they hadn’t been made aware in the film room that the Maroon Dawgs could be dangerous from the perimeter.  Missy State came into this game making 8 three-pointers a night in SEC games, yet by the intermission they already had connected on 6 of them.

Fortunately, somebody got the team some 5-hour energy at the break, and they actually came out of the locker room with a little poise.  J.J. Frazier began to push the tempo more on offense, and the Dawgs went on a 12-3 run to start that half that erased the Maroon Dawgs 32-28 halftime advantage and gave Georgia a 40-35 lead after just 5 minutes of play.

The UGA offense snapped out of its funk and much of that had to do with Frazier, who started to resemble the player who dropped 29 points in Knoxville just a few days earlier.  Frazier scored all 17 of his points last night in the final twenty minutes, 9 of which came off of three-pointers.  Yante Maten took over in the paint, scoring 15 of his game-high 24 points following the intermission, and he snagged 5 more boards to give him 9 on the evening, just missing another double-double.  As a team, UGA hit 67% from the floor over the game’s final twenty minutes of play as the Dawgs improved their shot selection as a team.

 

This game was actually tied at 54 apiece with 6:30 left, but UGA went on a critical 8-0 run that was capped off by a pair of free throws from Maten that saw Georgia take a 62-54 lead with just over 4:06 remaining.  This stretch of game turned out to be too much for the Maroon Dogs to overcome as they couldn’t close the gap on UGA, and Mark Fox’s team earned the 79-72 home victory, which marked the Dawgs first SEC win streak since early January.

The offense wasn’t the only thing that underwent a metamorphosis after the break.  Following the intermission, Georgia guarded much tighter on the perimeter and held MSU to just 3 second half buckets from beyond the arc.  The UGA bigs played strong as well, holding the Missy State starting posts to just a 1 for 5 effort from the floor.  Both Maten and Derek Ogbeide played incredibly sound post defense as they stayed on the floor and forced the MSU bigs to try to shoot over them.

The unsung heroes of this game for Georgia had to be Juwan Parker and E’Torrian Wilridge.  Parker, who has officially brought the midrange jumper back to college basketball, quietly put together a 16-point effort after turning the ball over twice in the game’s first 4 minutes, and if his shot hadn’t been on last night then this contest could have easily turned out differently.

Wilridge seemed to benefit from the “first career start” mojo that Tyree Crump enjoyed on Saturday in Knoxville when he dropped 13 points on the Vols (Crump only played 5 minutes last night, which is certainly a head scratcher).  On Tuesday, Wilridge earned Fox’s token start, and he did not disappoint as he peppered the stat sheet with 5 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a block.  Three of his assists came during that 8-0 run that knocked the life out of MSU as Wilridge consistently got the ball inside to a cutting Maten.

 

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12 thoughts on “Georgia basketball wins its second game in a row

  1. Well, a win is a win. Wasn’t pretty but they got the job done.

    I did see Crump hit a three and then was immediately taken out. I guess Fox doesn’t like him hitting 3’s since that means we have to give the ball back to the other team. I think Fox’s perfect half of basketball would be 39 straight misses of shots followed by an offensive rebound each time.

    Anyhoo…glad to see Juwan Parker playing well, and Ogbeide and Edwards seem to be growing. I’d love to see a starting 5 of Maten, Ogbeide, Parker, Crump and JJ. Harris, Wilridge, Jackson and Edwards substituting. Kessler is a DGD, but he doesn’t need to play beyond designated fouler or mop up time.

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  2. Good that the Dawgs came back in the second half. I was thinking this could be Alabama all over again.
    Fox game management continues to be awful. He admitted after the game “I was running too many guys in and out. I played too many guys. We just had no rhythm offensively.” What he didn’t say was “I’ve been doing this for years! What in the heck is wrong with me?”
    Harris and Crump got 5 minutes each. With a team sorely lacking 3 point scorers (UGA ranks 326), why Fox would want to keep a shooter like Crump on the bench is beyond me.

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  3. Things are starting to get interesting with these Hoop Dawgs as some depth finally may be developing with Crump, Willridge and Edwards all coming out of their shell it would seem.

    Wilridge showed some skills I did not know he had (shooting and passing) and actually looked pretty good any time he was not trying to dribble the ball.

    This is a team that should have some confidence and no pressure on them when Kentucky comes to town. Hopefully we have a strong home crowd.

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    1. Given this team’s inability to beat any of the few quality teams in the league to this point, there is actually quite a bit of pressure on them to beat UK if they want to make the NCAA tourney. This is their last chance for a true resume’ building win. While almost beating UK in Lexington offers some hope, a close road loss to UF didn’t help when UF came to Athens. They handled us easily in that 2nd game. Also, DeAaron Fox did not play for UK in our first meeting and he’s a huge difference maker for them. Combining all that with Mark Fox’s dismal record against top 50 opposition this year and throughout this tenure in Athens, I’d say we have a less than 5% chance of winning this game. Home crowd will help a bit, but I would think there will be at least 20% UK fans since it’s a Saturday game.

      Anyway, we can all hope for a miracle. If the Dawgs do somehow beat UK, the door opens again to the NCAA tourney provided they finish the season strong. Very little margin for error now considering we currently have only 1 top 50 win and that team (UT) may not be in the top 50 much longer.

      For what it’s worth, there are a couple of NIT prediction sites – nycbuckets.com and dratings.com – and they both have UGA as a 2 seed in the NIT at this point.

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  4. I am hoping (almost against hope) that the Dawgs will rally and squeak into the NCAAs somehow. Short of that, there is an NIT matchup that could be made which might generate a lot of interest both in Athens and here. That would be matching UGA against Fox’s old team, the Nevada Wolfpack, either in Reno or Athens. Were such a matchup to be made, it would probably happen in Reno as the Pack plays to sellout crowds a lot of the time and we all know that that doesn’t happen often in Athens. I thought about this scenario wistfully as I only live about 45 miles from the Nevada campus. Yet the match may not happen because Nevada is pretty good and could get to the NCAAs. But if it does happen I’ll be there!

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  5. Good win Dawgs! Now to Fox. Why are you still tinkering with the line up?Crump played 5 minutes after a great first start for someone who avg 5 minutes a game. Why wasn’t Crump back in starting line up? It seems as though Fox doesn’t want the kid to succeed. Fox has used defense to keep One of his better players off the court. UGA is screaming for offense, 13pts in 16 minutes gets you nothing unless you’re JJ, Yante, or Juwan. Crump is a starter! Turtle should NEVER play more minutes than Crump, sorry. Fox would be lucky if this kid doesn’t transfer! #FreeTyree

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    1. How does a player go from barely playing to starter and then back to barely playing in the span of a week? That makes zero sense. There is no way that Crump could have done anything in practice over the past week to warrant such dire swings in his playing time.

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  6. Seth asked the question yesterday if Fox substituting so much affects the team. The players (obviously) said it didn’t bother them, but I still wonder about it. Being able to swap players and still play at about the same level of effectiveness may mean that the team is running as well as it can. Or, it can mean that the team effectiveness has been reduced to the lowest common denominator. I suspect it’s the latter.

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  7. @hoop dawg, I think u may be wrong my friend. Crump did do something wrong, he proved Fox wrong. Crump wasn’t suppose to play as well as he did. Fox expected Crump to lay an egg. Obviously he doesn’t know his personnel. See if Crump didn’t play well he could justify not playing him but it backfired. If u can recognize talent you’ll realize Crump is legit! Kid is a scorer. JJ seems to be the voice for Fox ,wonder why he hasn’t said anything! This team could easily be in tournament talk if Fox had given Crump a fair opportunity. Who starts in front of him really? #FreeTyree

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