For the first time in 13 years, I’m not going to be blogging about the University of Georgia’s men’s basketball team. I will certainly be watching every game and engaging with fans via Twitter, so hopefully I will see many of you on that platform. Thank you to everyone who has read this blog over the years, and I hope to be back at it again next season!
Georgia will enter the upcoming season without its top 6 scorers from last season’s team that managed a 7-11 conference record before being bounced by the Missouri Tigers in the Dawgs’ only SEC tournament game. UGA will return just one starter – P.J. Horne – as it heads into Tom Crean’s 4th season at the helm of this program. If that doesn’t get your juices flowing full of optimism for next year, I’m not sure what will.
Obviously, the biggest losses from the roster were Sahvir Wheeler, Toumani Camara and K.D. Johnson. All three averaged double-figures last year, and both Wheeler (All-SEC Second Team) and Johnson (All-SEC Freshman Team) garnered postseason conference accolades. Possibly the biggest gut-punch of all of this turnover is that the Dawgs will have to play against 3 former starters next year when they take on Kentucky (Wheeler), Auburn (KD) and Ole Miss (Tye Fagan).
While the transfer portal taketh away, it also giveth, and UGA’s roster for next season is about as piecemeal as they come. Georgia is trying an experiment of bringing in guys that barely saw the floor on NCAA tournament teams to see if they can gel and turn UGA into a competitor. Even though Justin Kier transferred to Arizona, Crean did bring in some three-point shooting with the additions of Aaron Cook, Jailyn Ingram and Noah Baumann. Both Cook (Gonzaga) and Baumann (Southern Cal) come from schools with strong basketball pedigrees, yet neither really produced much for those programs as they netted just 4.2 ppg and 3.6 ppg, respectively. Cook had more success at his previous school, Southern Illinois, where he averaged 15 ppg in his junior season; however, one has to consider that Wheeler scored 14 ppg in the SEC, so for now I’m going to assume that there will be a bit of a drop off at the point guard position for the Dawgs next year.
Ingram averaged double-figures for 3 of his 5 years at Florida Atlantic, yet both Kier and Andrew Garcia were double-digit scorers at their previous schools before arriving in Athens, and neither of them were able to replicate that type of production through an SEC slate of games.
The biggest wildcard of all of Georgia’s new additions has to be Jabri Abdur-Rahim, a 4-star recruit out of high school who went to Virginia only to play less than 5 minutes a contest. He could have been underutilized in Charlottesville, or he might have been slightly overhyped out of high school; only time will tell.
Last season’s team was severely undersized in conference play, yet the only addition to the roster to help shore up that handicap was Braelen Bridges, a 6’10” forward from Atlanta who netted 9 ppg off the bench for the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames. Hopefully he can help to protect the rim on defense because I imagine he may struggle to find baskets against bigger, stronger and more skilled SEC bigs.
Barring a late addition of Tre Mitchell (UMASS), next year’s team might struggle to continue the upward trajectory that Crean had this program on for the past three years. In my opinion, the best-case scenario for this crew would be another 7-11 run through the league.
The transfer portal has completely upended the recruiting landscape of college basketball. Just yesterday, I read that 35% of the players that entered the portal have yet to find a new home. It’s quite possible that this is a fad that corrects itself naturally over time as players learn that not everyone can play for Kentucky, Kansas and Duke.
However, this is the current state of college basketball and for now I’d say that Crean is failing in regards to making Georgia a legitimate SEC contender/NCAA tournament team. Players transfer either because they want to play on a team that wins or they want more playing time. Right now, it feels like UGA is offering playing time to guys that were unable to earn it at their previous schools. If Crean has any hopes of making Georgia a winner, he has to figure out how to keep and develop the talent he has, or how to attract the caliber of players that can instantly transform a team into a potential at-large NCAA bid-getter.
The first time Georgia (14-11, 7-11) and Alabama played this year the Tide broke a school record by hanging 115 points on the Dawgs in a lopsided 33-point win. No matter how riveting Nate Oats’s pregame speech might have been, you can’t tell me that the Crimson Tide players didn’t come into their matchup with Georgia a little less focused on the task at hand than they should have been. How else do you explain the fact that after 10 minutes of play, Bama had just 1 three-pointer, 6 turnovers and trailed Georgia 20-13? Georgia managed to take a 36-30 advantage into the break after a chaotic 20 minutes in which these two teams combined for 25 turnovers.
The problem, however, is that Bama simply has a more talented team, and when one team is just plain better, there’s not a lot that can be done. The Dawgs shot better from the field (47%) and from beyond the arc (42%) than their SEC season averages. Georgia played carelessly and turned the ball over 20 times, but Alabama didn’t value the ball either as the Tide had 22 turnovers. Free throw shooting wasn’t great for Tom Crean’s team this afternoon as they hit 13 of 23; however, UGA has made only 69% from the line this year in conference play, so even if they shot like they have been, that’s just 3 extra points from the stripe, which wouldn’t make up the deficit in today’s 89-79 loss.
Not to state the obvious, but the Tide are a really good team, hence the SEC regular season championship. Bama has 3 players projected to go into the NBA in the next two years, according to NBADraft.net. The Tide had 5 players finish in double-figures and 4 players make at least 2 triples; Villanova transfer Jahvon Quinerly, who led the Tide with 18 points, may be their most dynamic offensive player and he comes off the bench. Bama’s second half offense took me back to what transpired in Tuscaloosa as the Tide connected on over 63% from the floor and 80% from the perimeter.
Nobody likes moral victories, but considering UGA was beat by 21 points by a lackluster South Carolina team on this same court a week ago, the fact that Georgia had this contest down to a one-possession game with a little over a minute remaining is somewhat remarkable in itself. Don’t lose sight of the fact that this UGA team won two more SEC games than they did a year ago when they had Anthony Edwards and Rayshaun Hammonds. The nucleus of this squad is coming back next year and there’s no reason to think that they won’t make even more progress.
Become a Georgia basketball fan at your own risk. That’s probably the single-best piece of advice that I could impart upon anyone considering entering the world of fandom for this program.
Because being a fan of the basketball Dawgs means that you have to endure rollercoaster-like conditions. How else does one explain how Georgia, who recently cruised past SEC power LSU, just dropped their 10th straight game to Frank Martin’s team?
Let’s be perfectly clear: this year’s South Carolina team is BAD. They coasted into Athens on nothing but the fumes of a 6-game losing streak in which they were yielding 82 points a contest, yet they held this UGA team to just 70 on Saturday, which is below Georgia’s season average (76.7). This South Carolina squad is not the defensive juggernaut they made themselves out to be this afternoon. They came into this one 12th in scoring defense and 11th in field goal percentage defense, and still their matchup zone managed to give Georgia fits. The Gamecocks have Jedi mind control over the Dawgs, plain and simple. That’s the only explanation that I can muster as to why a team with 4 SEC wins (half of them coming against Georgia) has now beaten Tom Crean’s bunch by 20+ points in both meetings this season.
Georgia’s defense, which had been improving as of late, was a no-show today. UGA hadn’t given up over 90 points since the 115-point effort by Alabama; not surprisingly, the Dawgs won 2 of 3 since that fiasco. After today, though, Georgia has now given up 90+ points 6 times in league play, and they’ve been on the losing end of all of those contests. South Carolina’s 91 points today were a season-best for this team. The Dawgs were slow to close out on the perimeter, something has plagued this UGA team, and the Cocks made them pay as they connected on 10 triples. SC hit almost 44% from beyond the arc, which is 13 percentage points higher than their SEC average. If anyone can help a team reach its offensive potential its Georgia.
Frank Martin’s guards completely overpowered Georgia as 4 players from the Carolina backcourt finished the game in double-figures. Sophomore guard Jermaine Couisinard led all scorers with 23 points as he bested his previous SEC-high this year of 18 points, which also came against Georgia. Trae Hannibal notched 15 points to tie his season-high in conference play; this was just his 4th time this year in which he eclipsed 10 points. Watching the game, the SC guards appeared so much more physical than the Dawgs, and they really seemed to impose their will on the UGA defense. It’s quite mind boggling as to how a team that has been as pedestrian as South Carolina has this year can make the talent gap between the Cocks and Dawgs appear insurmountable for Tom Crean’s team.
Georgia’s offense was as disappointing as its defense. The Dawgs shot just 36% from the floor and gave the ball away 19 times. Sahvir Wheeler, who was coming off the first triple-double in school history, followed up his best game of the season with arguably his worst. The sophomore couldn’t facilitate offense in the half court as he ended up with only 7 points on a 2 of 13 shooting performance (including 0 for 4 from beyond the arc). Probably the most glaring stat of the afternoon for Wheeler though were his 7 turnovers as he couldn’t create space between himself and the SC backcourt.
Despite all of Georgia’s faults, the Dawgs were within striking distance in this game with a little over 14 minutes remaining. UGA overcame a 41-29 halftime deficit to trim the Carolina lead to 48-44 after an old-fashioned three-point play by Andrew Garcia. However, the next stretch of play that transpired was just brutal for Georgia, and ultimately sealed the fate of this game. Over next 6 minutes, UGA went just 1 of 7 from the floor and committed 4 turnovers, and that ineffectiveness allowed the Gamecocks to build up a 66-48 advantage. Game. Set. Match.
Georgia’s consolation prize for this drubbing is that they get a week to lick their wounds and figure out how on earth they are going to slow down Alabama next Saturday. Holding the Tide under 100 points would certainly be a good start if the Dawgs want to keep their 6-seed in tact for the NIT.
The Georgia Bulldogs (14-9, 7-9) cruised by LSU 91-78 on Tuesday night in Athens. This Tiger team entered this contest on a three-game winning streak and tied for 2nd in the SEC standings. The Dawgs opened up a double-digit lead with over 2 minutes left in the first half in a game that Georgia led for nearly 94% of the time. The closest Will Wade’s team got to UGA in the second half was 14 points in what was just a dominant performance by UGA.
Let’s just get the most obvious point out of the way first, and that is that Sahvir Wheeler is absolutely living his best life. The sophomore followed up his career-high 27-point effort against Florida with the first triple-double in UGA basketball history (14 points, 11 boards, 13 assists). Lately, Wheeler has been doing it all. However, he has been most notably hitting his stride on the break, where he is letting his teammates get set and finding them in the open spots in the transition offense. Wheeler has improved so much this season in that context as he’s realized that he doesn’t have to take everything to the rim as hard as he possibly can.
The Dawgs were clicking on all cylinders this evening as they hit over 46% from the floor and were just a bucket shy of having 3 guys finish with over 20 points; Toumani Camara had 22, KD Johnson had 21 and Tye Fagan ended up with 18. This triumvirate along with Wheeler completely shredded an uninspired LSU defense.
The Tigers’ defense was nothing short of atrocious. Honestly, they look like 5 guys who just met and got next in a pick-up game and then proceed to play zone because nobody wants to or knows how to play man. Will Wade’s team possesses all the key attributes of that type of defense: low effort, poor rotations, and no communication. I recognize that this has been an issue for the Tigers all season as they entered this one ranked 10th in the SEC in scoring defense, but when you see how little intensity they play with firsthand it’s eye-opening. The Dawgs ended the first half on a 21-6 run over the final 5 minutes and had hung 45 on the Tigers heading into the intermission.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well at the start of the game, but the difference was that Georgia stuck with its defensive gameplan throughout. After 10 minutes of play, Georgia had made only 40% of its shots and LSU just 31%. The Dawgs’ offense obviously picked things up (see paragraphs 2 and 3). However, it was UGA’s defense that appeared to frustrate the Tigers. Tom Crean’s team did an excellent job of staying in front of LSU’s ballhandlers, and the Tigers ended up settling for a lot of outside shots. This strategy didn’t pan out well for Wade’s bunch as they made only 40% from the floor and just 26% from beyond the arc. This was a solid defensive performance by the Dawgs against a team that came into this game with the second-best scoring offense in the SEC (81 ppg) as well as the second-best shooting percentage from the field (46%).
With 7 league wins and counting, Tom Crean has this program trending in the right direction. His first season, UGA won just 2 SEC games, and last year they managed 5. There’s no reason to think that next year’s team won’t have a legitimate shot at the NCAA tournament.
That being said, Georgia just won its 3rd Quadrant 1 game of the year, and the Dawgs are once again in that territory where the NCAA tournament bubble is still a far-off place, but it’s not unreachable. To get closer to that magical spot, UGA has to get it done against South Carolina and not allow Frank Martin to extend his program’s winning streak over Georgia to 10 games this Saturday.
Days removed from a stunning upset of #20 Missouri, Georgia came out extremely flat at Florida, which allowed the Gators to complete the season sweep of UGA. I’m not going to lie, I fell into the all too familiar trap of getting my hopes up prior to this one and thinking that maybe, just maybe, the Dawgs could steal a win in Gainesville and take another step towards a .500 conference record. Thus is the life of a UGA basketball fan, though; the highs are few and far between, and they are typically quickly followed up by lows. Here’s my quick reaction to the game:
Ultimately, the Dawgs couldn’t the overcome the first-half offensive debacle. With 15:50 left before the break, Georgia held an 8-7 advantage after a layup from Sahvir Wheeler. The next 9+ minutes for UGA included 0 makes, 12 misses and 5 turnovers; that kind of production typically doesn’t pay dividends, and this afternoon was no different as the Gators had amassed a 25-12 lead with a little over 6 minutes remaining in the first half. Georgia shot an ugly 32% from the floor and made just 1 of 12 from beyond the arc prior to the intermission, which enabled Florida to garner a 37-23 halftime advantage.
While Mike White’s team shot it well (48%) in the first 20 minutes, they weren’t exactly a model of efficiency. The Gators committed 9 first-half turnovers, but Georgia only converted them into 6 points. Florida’s sloppiness persisted into the second half as they ended up with 20 giveaways on the afternoon; however, the Dawgs couldn’t capitalize and scored just 17 points off the turnovers. For all UGA’s first half faults, this game was there for the taking due to Florida’s poor ball security.
On the other hand, Georgia’s defensive effort against the Gators was much improved. In the first meeting between these two teams, Florida blitzkrieged the Dawgs for 92 points, with 22 of them coming on second chance opportunities. Tom Crean’s team did a much better job of chasing the ball and contesting shots, and the result was that UGA held the Gators slightly under their SEC scoring average and permitted just 6 second chance points. Florida’s shooting from the perimeter after the break nearly mirrored Georgia’s first half effort as the Gators made only 1 of 13 triple attempts.
Sahvir Wheeler played his best game yet as a Georgia Bulldog, but he didn’t have much support. The sophomore scored a career-high 27 points and he looked fantastic doing it. Wheeler was so savvy bringing the ball down the court on the break and regularly making the correct decision as to when to attack the rim.
UGA’s other steady offensive contributors all turned in clunkers this afternoon, though. This team has consistently had 4 or more players finish in double-figures this season, but today Tom Crean only had Wheeler and Tye Fagan (14 points) reach that mark. Grad transfers Justin Kier and P.J. Horned shot a combined 1 for 16 from the floor and they missed all 6 of their three-point attempts; Kier had 4 turnovers as well in what was truly a forgettable performance. Sophomore Toumani Camara once again dealt with foul trouble, and he managed only 7 points to go along with 4 turnovers before fouling out with over 8 minutes of game time remaining. Freshman K.D. Johnson couldn’t ever really get things going offensively as he netted 8 points on a 3 for 11 shooting performance.
UGA closes out the regular season next week with two chances to avenge earlier losses as they take on LSU and then South Carolina.
Just days after giving up 115 points to Alabama, Georgia’s (13-8, 6-8) defense carried it in a 80-70 win over #20 Mizzou. Toumani Camara, who’s made under 30% of his three-point attempts this season, buried a pair of triples in the first half to start this game. Justin Kier, who’d missed his previous 8 three-point attempts leading up to this contest, hit both his attempts from that spot tonight en route to a team high 16 points. Bizzaro world? Nope. Just Georgia basketball.
After an evenly played first half that saw Mizzou head into the locker room with a 37-33 advantage, Georgia had a brutal start coming out of the intermission. The Dawgs opened up the second half with 3 turnovers and a miss, and before 3 minutes had transpired the Tigers lead had ballooned to 46-33. Tom Crean put in Jaxon Etter and Andrew Garcia with the hopes that they could provide a spark off the bench, and those two did just that as they combined for 11 points over the next 6 minutes which brought Georgia to within a bucket.
Georgia’s defensive intensity when Etter, Garcia and K.D. Johnson are on the floor is infectious, and ultimately it helps to facilitate offense for the Dawgs. After committing just 2 turnovers prior to the break, Mizzou coughed the ball up 11 times in the final 20 minutes and those errors led to 9 Georgia points. The Dawgs held the Tigers without a field goal for over 4 minutes down the final stretch of this contest, which allowed Georgia to turn a 66-64 lead into a 78-64 edge; Tom Crean’s team essentially closed out the game with its defense. Let that sink in for a moment.
In all fairness to Mizzou, they were playing without big man Jeremiah Tillman, who is unfortunately dealing with a death in the family. Tillman is a huge part of Coach Martin’s gameplan as he is netting over 13 points and grabbing more than 7 boards in SEC play.
Still, Georgia’s perimeter defenders did a superb job of keeping Martin’s backcourt stars in check. Xavier Pinson and Dru Smith entered this game averaging nearly 29 points combined a night; yet against Georgia, these two mustered just 20 points between them on an unforgettable 8 of 23 performance from the floor.
If you are trying to figure out this UGA team, best of luck. Despite losing leading scorers Anthony Edwards and Rayshaun Hammonds from last year’s squad, the Dawgs have now won more SEC games (6) than last season. At the risk of becoming repetitive, UGA’s defense, which is the worst scoring defense in the conference, took over the second half against Mizzou and won this game.
Tom Crean was brought to Athens to fix UGA’s offense. What the administration didn’t know is that he would be helping out opposing offenses as well. The Dawgs allowed Alabama to set an SEC school scoring record this afternoon in Tuscaloosa as the Tide tallied a whopping 115 points (to Georgia’s 82). After today, UGA is really starting to create some separation between themselves and the other worst scoring defenses in the league as the Dawgs are now permitting almost 85 a contest in SEC play (and they are 14th in the league in that category).
Before we get more into the debacle that was the UGA defense, it should be noted that Georgia guards K.D. Johnson and Sahvir Wheeler both turned in impressive offensive performances. Johnson led all UGA scorers with 24 points as he eclipsed the 20-point mark for his second consecutive game. Wheeler was effective as well as he notched 16 points on an array of drives and penetration. The rest of the Georgia offense wasn’t as memorable as the Dawgs shot an abysmal 2 of 19 from beyond the arc.
The real kicker about UGA’s haplessness from the perimeter was just how darn efficient Alabama was from that part of the court. By halftime, the Tide had matched their season SEC average of 11 triples en route to a 51-38 advantage. Bama would end up knocking down 18 three-pointers in this one on an impressive 60% shooting effort from the perimeter. The Tide didn’t just have 5 players finish in double-figures, but they were just 7 collective points shy of having 4 players end up with 20 points or more. I suppose when the SEC’s #1 scoring offense locks horns with the league’s worst scoring defense anything is possible.
It’s no secret that this Georgia team struggles to put up much resistance on the defensive side of the ball. But the manner in which UGA got torched today was fairly astounding considering that everyone knew that this Bama team is the not only the best three-point shooting team in the SEC, but one of the most effective in the nation as well. Yet, Georgia still didn’t close out with a purpose and contest shots. I’ve included screenshots of 6 of the Tide’s first 7 triples. I say this just to let the reader know that these images were not cherry-picked; I could have continued rewatching Bama knock down uncontested three after uncontested three, but that just felt like a waste of my Saturday evening. Anyhow, notice how open the Bama players on are all 6 of these looks; frankly, this is just a microcosm of the entire game:
The most sobering realization from today’s game is the reminder of just how far away Georgia is from the SEC’s top programs. The Dawgs have lost to the league’s top 3 teams – Bama, Tennessee and Arkansas – by an average of 24 points, and that number would be more if the Vols hadn’t lost interest in UGA and kept the pedal down. I’m not ready to give up on the Tom Crean experiment yet; he deserves another season. However, if next year does not include a trip to the NCAA tournament, then I feel as though it will be time for the Dawgs and Crean to part ways.
The Georgia Bulldogs (12-7, 5-7) offense this season has been fairly productive despite a consistent lack of ball security. Even though the Dawgs are committing a league-leading 17 turnovers a night, Georgia is still 6th in scoring (75.9 ppg), which can largely be attributed to the team’s stellar field goal percentage (46.1%), the second best in the conference.
Against #16 Tennessee on Wednesday, the Dawgs gave the ball to the Vols 18 times, yet UGA still managed to hang 81 points on the SEC’s best scoring defense as Tennessee has been yielding just 65 a contest in league games.
Georgia’s Achilles Heel may lie in its inability to defend well enough beyond the arc. Tom Crean’s team is just 1-5 in SEC games in which the opposing team connects on greater than 38% of its three-point attempts, with Vandy being the lone exception as the ‘Dores made just under 40% in a 73-70 loss to the Dawgs last weekend. Conversely, in UGA’s other 4 SEC wins, teams are making only 25% of their shots from the perimeter. Could the key to whether this team wins or loses rely heavily on its ability to close out and contest triple attempts?
In Wednesday’s loss to the Vols, Georgia ultimately could not overcome a massive halftime deficit that saw Rick Barnes’s team take a 44-26 advantage into the break. The Dawgs halfheartedly defended around the arc in the first half and Tennessee, a team that entered the game making only 6 triples a night, had 8 of them by halftime. UGA cleaned this up following the intermission and limited the Vols to just 2 more triples in the game’s final 20 minutes, which enabled Georgia to cut the UT advantage down to single digits.
I’m not going to declare UGA’s defensive rebounding issues as completely solved, but protecting the glass hasn’t been nearly as problematic for the Dawgs lately as it was for much of the SEC slate. The Vols managed just 6 offensive rebounds that led to 9 second chance points against Georgia, marking the 3rd consecutive game in which the Dawgs held an opponent under 10 offensive boards. Tom Crean’s staff has obviously lit a fire under this team in regards to their effort when it comes to defensive rebounding; they’ve got to find a way to spread that intensity to UGA’s perimeter defense.
Enter #11 Alabama, UGA’s foe on Saturday. The Crimson Tide will mark Georgia’s second game against a ranked team this week, and on top of that, Bama is the best three-point shooting squad in the SEC. The Tide are knocking down almost 40% of their shots from beyond the arc, and they are manufacturing nearly 12 triples a night in league play. Bama is primed to capitalize on UGA’s ineffective perimeter defense.
With the amount of times this UGA team turns the ball over per game, they can’t afford to yield 5 additional triples to Bama like they did on Wednesday with the Vols (those 5 extra three-pointers were the difference in the game). The Dawgs must find a way to make the Tide uncomfortable from the outside if they want to have a shot at pulling off the upset on Saturday.
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.