Offensive woes sink Georgia in loss to Texas A&M

Last weekend Tom Crean said publicly that he basically made some mistakes in keeping some of the players on this Georgia Bulldog (10-14, 1-10) roster. I know he apologized, but that doesn’t erase the fact that the words were said and those thoughts existed (and maybe still do) in his mind.

Either way, I expected the Dawgs to come out with a little more fire than they showed on Tuesday night in College Station. I guess I presumed that some, or all, of those UGA players might want to prove Crean wrong.

Instead, Georgia mustered up just 56 points in the loss of a game that they could have stolen on the road against a Texas A&M (10-13, 3-8) team that has been decimated by injuries this season.

The Aggies played zone defense against UGA the entire game. This strategy by Coach Billy Kennedy seemed appropriate considering Georgia entered this contest last in the SEC in both field goal percentage (39.8%) and three-point percentage (30%) in league games.

There are basically two ways teams can exploit a zone: they can shoot the defense out of it or drive the ball to the soft spots to draw defenders and create opportunities. Georgia failed to employ either of those aforementioned tactics. The Dawgs shot an abysmal 3 for 23 from beyond the arc. Tyree Crump made only 2 of his 11 three-point attempts, with numerous of those shots coming from well beyond the line. UGA got outscored in the paint 36-28 in a game in which they had a distinct size advantage inside. Derek Ogbeide, who’s been this team’s best back-to-the basket offensive player, took only 4 shots; Rayshaun Hammonds, the team’s leading scorer, had just 3 attempts from the floor himself, and he finished with only 5 points and 3 turnovers.

The only Georgia player who held their own in this contest was Nic Claxton, who notched a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Georgia definitely played at a slower pace on Tuesday than we have seen in a while, and my guess is that was intentional on Crean’s part in an effort to limit turnovers, which it did as the Dawgs only coughed the ball up 12 times against the Aggies. However, Georgia’s execution on offense was an exhibition in futility, and honestly, it was painful to watch.

The Dawgs played a lot of zone defense themselves against A&M, particularly 2-3, which was most likely done in an attempt to take some pressure of the Georgia guards defensively. This look befuddled the Aggies for early on, but eventually A&M got comfortable offensively and buried 4 triples during the final stretch of the first half as they finished 45% from the field heading into the locker room with a 34-21 advantage.

The Aggies offensive rhythm continued to improve as the game progressed. Kennedy’s team pounded the ball inside to Christian Mekowulu, who responded with 15 points and 15 boards. Sophomore point guard T.J. Starks had his way with UGA for much of the night as he ended up with 19 points and 4 steals.

The dagger in this one came during a 7-0 Aggie run in the initial segment of the second half when Jay Jay Chandler sunk a triple to make it 47-29 A&M with a little over 14 minutes left in the game. Any Georgia fan who changed the channel at this point undoubtedly had a more pleasant Tuesday evening than the ones who stuck around to the end of this contest.

Rayshaun Hammonds foul tracker

The sophomore only committed 1 personal foul in College Station. He still has 77 on the year, but maybe he won’t completely destroy last year’s total of 81 PFs. At the half of this game, Hammonds had 0 points and 3 turnovers. As a stretch big, Hammonds should be the perfect fit for a system like Crean’s, yet he continues to play below expectations.

Box score:

5 thoughts on “Offensive woes sink Georgia in loss to Texas A&M

  1. I wonder if they have quit on Crean. They play hard to start games, but as soon as something changes, they fall behind big and never recover. Losing by nearly 20 to A&M is not a good sign. Is there another win on the schedule this year?

    Since these guys played nothing but defense under Fox, you’d think they would remember some of it. I’m really happy to see Edwards pick the Dawgs, but it’s going to take more than him to fix this team.

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  2. I agree Russ, other than MAYBE Missouri at home, there don’t appear to be many winnable games left on the slate. Also, you are spot on about the hot starts and the fizzles. This team has not adjusted well in games this year when faced with different looks from the opposition.

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  3. Some of those threes never hit the rim or only hit the back board, 2-4 point losses usually fall on the staff, 14 -20 point losses fall on the players (pick a sport) i watch with intent only to wind up just barely watching….the sec is a tough row this year…GO DAWGS!

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  4. Crean unfortunately is right. He does not have the players. No matter how bad they want to win these guys unfortunately do not have the skills. Guard play is a shame and just watch the one instance where Hightower just forgot to get back and then Crump tries to throw an across court pass at the top of the key. Not sure how you get these guys to understand basics at this level. If it has not clicked yet then it probably will not happen. The games would be closer if we played Fox’s grind the shot clock down style, but Crean is here to bring energy. He cannot slow things down to match current talent as he is trying to showcase to recruits what style they could join in the future.

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  5. These margins of defeat have begun to take on a “name the score” feeling. Last 9 games, -15, -20, -10, -10, -10, -6 (the only game that went down to the final minute), -15, -16, -17. We’ll no doubt be better next year thanks to Edwards and whatever talent coattails he might provide, but I wonder how many roster holdovers we’ll be working with. Claxton, unless he gets advice from Travis Leslie’s people. Harris has earned his way into a larger role, which I assume would mean he’ll return. But Hammonds, Hightower, and Crump all strike me as significant flight risks.

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