After a nail biting 73-70 home win over Vanderbilt, the Dawgs are now 5-6 in SEC play and in the midst of their first 3-game conference win streak since the 2016-2017 season. In addition, UGA has already matched last season’s SEC win total, which gives Tom Crean’s squad a realistic opportunity at showing improvement in the win column in league play. Considering this team lost the #1 overall pick from this year’s NBA draft, that’s something that Crean can potentially hang his hat on. Here are some quick reactions to the Bulldogs’ victory:
Georgia has some legitimate threats from beyond the arc. Even though the Dawgs only knocked down 1 triple in the second half of the game against Vandy, Georgia still connected on over 46% of its attempts from the outside. Over the past 3 games, UGA has hit 50% of its three-point shots; P.J. Horne, who netted 14 points this evening, buried 4 of 5 from the perimeter. Horne has 8 triples over this same stretch of games, and his presence from the outside is preventing defenders from being able to provide as much weak side help on penetration. Guess who benefits from those missed rotations? None other than Sahvir Wheeler, who diced up the Dores for 16 points and 9 assists on a night in which he seemed to be living in the paint.
After committing only 13 giveaways in the win over Auburn, the turnover bug reared its ugly head and plagued Georgia on Saturday. The Dawgs coughed the ball up 21 times and those mishaps led to 29 points for Jerry Stackhouse’s team. If UGA valued the ball better this evening, they would have won by double-digits and not needed a lifesaving block by Toumani Camara to seal the game. What’s even more concerning is that 8 of those turnovers came during the first 5 minutes of both the first and second halves, which are critical sections of game that help set the tone for each half of play.
Tom Crean got big contributions off the bench that helped propel his team to the win. JUCO transfer Tyron McMillan put together his best half of basketball as a Bulldog this season in the first 20 minutes as he notched 8 points in just 5 minutes of play. The 6’9″ McMillan provided this undersized Georgia team with solid minutes in the paint, which made it even more bizarre that he only saw the floor for 2 minutes in the second half. The other non-starter that gave UGA a spark was Jaxon Etter, who scored 7 points, including some key buckets down the stretch. Etter also defended Scotty Pippen, Jr. for a chunk in the second half, and he helped frustrate Jr. into a 3 of 12 shooting performance that led to just 12 points. That’s an impressive feat considering Pippen entered this game netting over 20 a game in league play.