Dawg put together complete game, advance to play Florida

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In a truly bizarre day of basketball in which the NCAA announced it would be playing its tournament without fans, the Georgia Bulldogs (16-16) opened up the SEC tournament against the Ole Miss Rebels in the only day of action for this competition in which spectators would be allowed to be present.

After a depressing week of UGA hoops which resulted in losses to both Florida and LSU (in quite embarassing fashion), the Dawgs stepped on the court in Nashville and played their most complete game in a while against a Rebel Black Bear team that beat them earlier this season in Athens.

From the opening tip, Georgia appeared more energized, and the Dawgs were certainly the aggressors as they won the majority of 50-50 balls in this one. From the start, UGA’s offense was a thing of constant motion. The Rebels tried to slow the Dawgs down by playing some combinations of 1-3-1 and 2-3 zones, yet Georgia just continued to methodically move the ball to the soft spots in the defense. Tom Crean’s team finished the game with 19 assists, which is incredible considering how much this team as struggled to remain productive against zone defenses all season.

Senior Jordan Harris definitely wins the “Most Active” award, though. Harris moved without the ball the entire game and it resulted in his best performance of the year: 21 points and 7 rebounds. He scored off of cuts from the top of the key and the baseline, and Harris kept positioning himself as a perfect target on the perimeter, where he canned 3 of 4 triples.

The other offensive stud of the night was Rayshaun Hammonds, who bullied the Rebels with 22 points and 11 boards. Coach Kermit Davis had no answer for Hammonds, who scored from just about everywhere on the court as well: on the block, short corner, around the free throw line and from beyond the arc.

As a team, the Dawgs made over 54% of their shots from the floor, which was significantly higher than their season average of 43%. But again, UGA’s unselfishness with the ball and the players’ ability to create offense without the ball in their hands led to 42 points in the paint to Ole Miss’s 38.

All of the positives on offense this evening are even more significant considering that UGA’s leading scorer, Anthony Edwards, had an off night as he mustered only 6 points on a 2 for 13 effort from the floor.

The other big story of the night was the Georgia defense, which has definitely been a limiting factor for this team all season. Tonight’s UGA squad looked nothing like the bunch that traveled to Baton Rouge last weekend. Players were rotating and helping on penetration. Shots were being contested from all angles. Breein Tyree ended up with 18 points, but that’s still more than 4 below his SEC average, and he did it at the expense of a 6 for 16 shooting effort. Georgia forced Ole Miss into 15 turnovers on the night to UGA’s 12, which is impressive considering the Rebels were the 4th best team in the conference this season in turnover margin (+.5).

The one scary part of this game came at the 5:59 mark when Khadim Sy converted a dunk to make it an 8-point game and every UGA fan started to think “here we go again” in the back of their head (since Georgia has had a knack for blowing double-digit leads this season). Sahvir Wheeler had other plans, though, as the freshman went into attack mode and scored 8 of this 15 points down the stretch to help the Dawgs hang on to the 81-63 victory and play into the second round.

Tomorrow, Georgia gets its third shot at Florida, a team that has beaten them twice this season with rather suffocating defense. However, it is difficult to beat a team three times in a year. Also, the last time UGA knocked off Ole Miss in its first game of the SEC Tournament and the remainder of the games were played without fans (like this one will be from here on out) was 2008, and well, you know what happened.

Georgia basketball’s Achilles’ heel

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The regular season came to a grinding halt yesterday in Baton Rouge, and Georgia Bulldog (15-16, 5-13) basketball fans most likely breathed a collective sigh. After being treated to a little mini-run of success a few weeks ago in which the Dawgs won 3 of 4 games, including a dramatic buzzer-beater against Vanderbilt in Nashville, UGA spent the past game and a half getting pulverized by LSU and Florida.

Yesterday’s drubbing at the hands of LSU was just a microcosm of an epidemic that has plagued this Georgia team all season: its defense (or lack thereof). The Dawgs ended the year with the second-worst scoring defense in SEC play as they allowed over 78 points a contest. In 13 of 18 conference games this year, Georgia allowed the opposing team score above their season SEC average in points. All season, this UGA team has been slow to react and provide help on penetration, and yesterday was no different as the Tigers scored 42 points in the paint and shot over 58% from the floor.

Probably the most concerning piece of the puzzle regarding the UGA defense is the lack of improvement that this team has shown. Over the past 3 games, the Dawgs are ranked 344th in the nation in defensive efficiency. The fact that this team is young is no excuse; they should have gotten better in this regard as the season progressed, yet they didn’t. In fact, one could go so far as to say that UGA regressed on the defensive side of the ball.

Tom Crean had his guys in a matchup zone for most of the game in Baton Rouge. However, it still appears that too many of Georgia’s players don’t understand the concepts of this particular defense. Sure, UGA’s perimeter guys switch off screens and movement on the wing. But once an opposing dribble-driver gets into the lane, there’s still little indication that any of Georgia’s 4 other defenders knows how to react. The Tigers had little issue shattering their season average of 80 ppg as they almost pushed the scoreboard to triple digits against a UGA team that provided little resistance. LSU hasn’t been a particularly strong three-point shooting team this year (32.5%), yet against Crean’s zones the Bayou Bengal Tigers canned over 52% of their attempts from beyond the arc.

With the losses of Nic Claxton and Derek Ogbeide from last year’s team, coupled with the sudden departure of Amanze Ngumezi, some drop off had to be expected. Obviously, this year’s squad was not built to deal with a lot of size from opposing frontcourts. However, this is a highly-athletic team, especially Anthony Edwards, Jordan Harris and Toumani Camara. Despite the glaring size disadvantages, Georgia should have been able to contain teams better on the defensive side of the ball.

Georgia opens up the SEC Tournament next week on Wednesday in a rematch with Ole Miss, a team that beat the Dawgs 70-60 in January back in Athens. Depending on which UGA team shows up, this experience in Nashville could go one of two ways: it ends painlessly on Wednesday, or Georgia plays into the start of the weekend. If the Dawgs do manage to get by the Rebel Black Bears, I think they have a realistic shot of beating Florida in the next round. I mean, surely UGA can find a way to hold onto a double-digit lead against a team that has beaten them twice this year, right?

Best case scenario: the SEC does not permit fans to attend due to concerns regarding the coronavirus, and Georgia steals the championship similarly to the 2008 tornado team.

Florida stops Georgia’s momentum in its tracks

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The Georgia Bulldogs (15-15, 5-12) came into Wednesday’s game against Florida in the midst of their best stretch of basketball all season. Winners of 3 of the last 4 games, UGA had to feel confident that they had a chance to avenge an earlier loss to the Gators, a game in which Georgia let a 22-point lead evaporate.

Sadly, the rematch resembled the first game between these two teams in several key ways, and the Dawgs emerged as the loser once again. Here are a few thoughts on what went down on Senior Night in Athens:

The turning point in the game

Tye Fagan’s layup with a little under 8 minutes to go in the game gave Georgia a 46-45 advantage in what had been a tight contest. Key words: “had been”. In less than 3 minutes, the Dawgs managed to commit 3 turnovers that coincided with a pair of triples from Noah Locke and an uncontested dunk from Keyontae Johnson that sent the Gators up 55-46 with 5:08 left. Locke hit another triple 3 minutes later that gave Florida a 64-52 lead and UGA fans a reason to head for the exits.

It all happened so quickly that I didn’t even have time to get properly frustrated and watch the lead slip away; instead, it vanished in an instant. Mike White’s team closed out the game on a 23-8 run as they completed the season sweep of this young UGA team.

UGA defense didn’t return from the locker room for the 2nd half

Florida entered this one as the best shooting team in SEC play. The Gators had been hitting almost 47% from the floor and nearly 38% from the perimeter. Through the first half against UGA, Florida had mustered just 41% on field goals and they had missed all 10 of their attempts from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs held the Gators, a team that was netting almost 74 a game, to just 28 points at the half.

Half number two was a different story, though. The UGA defense either became winded or just less interested in rotating and covering the perimeter. Florida took advantage and buried 7 of 13 three-point attempts to go along with a robust 54% shooting effort from the floor. The Dawgs have struggled all season to put together a defensive effort for a full game, and tonight was no different. Actually, this game was eerily similar to the loss in Gainesville in that Georgia kept Florida in check for the first 20 minutes (26 points) until letting the floodgates burst open after the intermission (55 points). I suppose Tom Crean’s team can take some solace in the fact that they only permitted the Gators net 40 on them in the final twenty minutes.

Georgia stars struggled

After taking just 2 shots in the first half, Anthony Edwards immediately asserted himself into the flow of the 2nd half as he drew 3 fouls attacking the basket in less than 3 minutes. He had 4 points as well during this stretch and the Dawgs had built up a 6-point cushion. However, aside from a monstrous dunk several minutes later, the Ant Man never really got any kind of offensive rhythm going in this one. He finished with 14 points, but that came at the expense of a 3 for 10 shooting effort from the floor and 3 turnovers.

Probably more frustrating for Tom Crean, though, was the disappearance of Rayshaun Hammonds in the second half. For whatever reason, Hammonds has struggled to stay engaged on offense for entire games this season even though he is an integral part of this team’s scheme on that side of the ball. The junior played a solid first half as he notched 10 points and snagged 7 boards. After the break, though, Hammonds scored only 2 more points and he ended up with 6 turnovers on the night. Two of those giveaways came during the aforementioned “turning point” when this UGA squad needed an upperclassmen to settle things down as Florida made its run.

Up next:

The Dawgs close out the regular season with a road trip to Baton Rouge to take on LSU.

Postseason projection:

None

Box score:

Is this UGA basketball team…dangerous?

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Just two weeks ago, Georgia (15-14, 5-11) was just 2-10 in conference and the Dawgs had lost 8 of their past 9 games. Things felt bleak, to say the least.

After holding serve at home today against the Arkansas Razorbacks, UGA finds itself in the midst of its best stretch of basketball this season as the Dawgs have now won 3 of their last 4 contests. Similarly to the South Carolina game earlier in the week, Georgia was up against a team fighting to stay on the NCAA bubble. It’s safe to say that Tom Crean’s team just smacked the Hogs out of Joe Lunardi’s “Next Four Out”, and they nearly eclipsed 100 points in doing so.

Two pivotal moments of the game

With 6:41 remaining in the first half, Georgia enjoyed a 38-20 lead as the Dawgs were making everything they threw at the rim. UGA’s first half shooting numbers were absurd: Georgia hit over 55% from the floor and made more than 45% of their attempts from beyond the arc.

However, Georgia had already blown 4 double-digit leads in SEC games this season already, so no one watching this one ever felt safe, and for good reason. The Hogs closed out the half on a 19-9 run, and Eric Musselman’s team went into the half feeling relieved that they only trailed by 8 points.

Mason Jones, who sleepwalked through the first half, woke up quickly coming out of the break as he scored 5 points to bring Arky within 3 with 19:12 left in the game.

Georgia responded with coast-to-coast layups from Sahvir Wheeler and dunks from Toumani Camara and Jordan Harris. Instead of sulking about the change in momentum, UGA took it back through a series of high-energy plays that saw them bolster the lead to 58-50 with 14:17 remaining.

Pivotal moment number two came with 2:45 left in the game and Georgia leading by a point. Tyree Crump, who has made almost nothing but three-pointers during his time in Athens, took his defender off the dribble from the top of the key and finished at the rim on a layup. On the ensuing UGA possession, Crump again got by his man and found a wide open Rayshaun Hammonds for the easy stickback. On Georgia’s next trip down the court, Crump buried a triple from 5 feet outside the new extended three-point line to make it 90-84 with only 1:35 left. That shot was essentially the dagger that sunk Arkansas, and Crump has now put his stamp on two of UGA’s recent victories.

No defense from either side

Georgia and Arkansas entered Saturday’s game averaging in the low 70’s in scoring in SEC games, yet both teams were able to shatter those expected outcomes. Little defense was played inside Stegeman, but fortunately for UGA its offense was just a bit more effective down the stretch.

Georgia’s defensive lapses continue to remain perplexing. On multiple possessions, Sahvir Wheeler let Mason Jones blow by him to the rim. Given his height disparity, one would think that Wheeler could at least have provided some resistance around the perimeter on the Arkansas star. There were also several trips late in the second half in which the Hogs got uncontested baskets by simply outrunning the UGA defenders down the court.

Arkansas’s defense obviously wasn’t any better as they let Georgia pulverize them inside for 50 points (UGA allowed just 30 inside to Arky). Maybe both teams made a gentleman’s agreement prior to tipoff to take it easy on that end of the court?

I wonder if this team has the capability or willpower to play two games of defense in a row?

Anthony Edwards has hit his stride

The Ant Man is netting 31 a night in his past two games, and he’s making over 50% of his shots from the floor. Edwards is enjoying his best moments of SEC basketball lately, and it’s clear that he is in rhythm.

When the season started, it was evident that the Ant Man had all the physical attributes and skills that NBA teams covet. However, those gifts were not always translating to success on the court, especially when league play got going.

That’s not the case anymore. Edwards looks incredibly comfortable with the ball, and he’s creating great looks for himself off the dribble. All of his recent dominance is even more impressive considering that both South Carolina and Arkansas basically had a man playing flat out deny on him for nearly the entire game.

One more shout out…

Shout out to Ray Hammonds, Jordan Harris, Wheeler and Camara. As mentioned above, Arkansas tried to take Edwards away (though it didn’t totally work as the freshman scored 26 points) by face-guarding him in their man set so as to force the other Georgia players to beat them. That strategy didn’t work out so well for the Hogs as Hammonds dropped 22 points and the other three guys all finished in double-digits.

Up next:

Florida at home on Wednesday

Postseason projection:

NIT

Box score:

Georgia plays better in OT loss to South Carolina

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When these two teams locked up in Athens over two weeks ago, the Dawgs were trailing 27-5 with a little over 6 minutes left in the first half. In that game, UGA didn’t even look like they deserved to be on the same floor as South Carolina.

On Wednesday night in Columbia, the Dawgs almost pulled off their 3rd straight win in as many games despite playing the final 3 minutes of overtime without 3 starters: Rayshaun Hammonds, Toumani Camara and Jordan Harris. Georgia had a chance to tie the game with 4 seconds left, but the referees chose to award Maik Kotsar a charge instead of a block on Sahvir Wheeler’s final drive.

Here are some quick thoughts on tonight’s game:

Ant Man put on a show

Tonight’s game was really the first time that Edwards absolutely took over in an SEC game. No matter who Frank Martin put on the freshman, he found a way around. Carolina didn’t have anyone who could stay in front of Edwards, and he ended up with 36 points to go along with 7 boards.

Edwards’s numbers were even more impressive considering how much attention he was garnering. USC played primarily man defense the entire night, and whoever was on the Ant Man typically denied him the ball as soon as he crossed half court. Edwards ended up bringing the ball up himself in the point guard role on a number of possessions just so he could be assured of a touch. When the freshman drove, Carolina readily had one to two defenders shading over to double- and triple-team him.

This was definitely a performance in which it was obvious which player on the court was destined for the NBA in the immediate future.

UGA’s defense was virtually nonexistent

Thank goodness Tom Crean’s team found a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball because the Dawgs provided little resistance on the defensive end. I thought after the subpar effort at Vandy last weekend, Georgia would return to a form that more resembled how they played against Auburn a week ago. That just wasn’t the case.

Whether the Dawgs were in man or zone, they did not communicate effectively enough to keep the Gamecocks from scoring around the rim. Rotations were either too slow to react or just didn’t happen. At halftime, Carolina had already dunked the ball 4 times to go along with 10 layups. By the time the final horn sounded, USC had punished Georgia for 54 points in the paint as they shot 66% on two-pointers. Alonzo Frink, who entered this contest netting a meager 4.3 a night, looked like Shaquille O’Neal on Wednesday as he torched UGA for a career-high 22 points.

As I mentioned, Hammonds fouled out and so did Camara. Georgia’s defense continues to be the Achilles Heel of this squad, and that’s primarily because this team does not have a true big man.

Final thoughts

There isn’t a ton of solace in moral victories, but when your team is 4-11 in conference play, sometimes you have to take what you can get. Jordan Harris logged just 10 minutes last night before eventually fouling out. Sahvir Wheeler played only 6 minutes after the break and Hammonds played 9; both guys were in foul trouble for the final 20 minutes of regulation. Yet UGA still had a chance to win in OT.

Georgia trailed 59-52 with over 12 minutes remaining after a 9-2 Gamecock run in the second half. But just like in the game against Vandy, the Dawgs didn’t wilt; instead, they responded with a 13-4 run of their own that saw UGA recapture the lead 65-63 following a pair of free throws from Edwards. Georgia recently started a trend of getting themselves back into games and overcoming deficits, on the road nonetheless.

It’s going to be difficult for UGA to climb out of that Wednesday slot of the SEC tournament considering they trail Arkansas by 2 games with just 3 games remaining. However, the way this team has been playing away from home gives some hope to the possibility that they could win several games on a neutral court in Nashville, Tennessee.

Up next:

Arkansas

Postseason projection:

At 14-14, Georgia is on the outer parts of the NIT bubble and going to need a strong finish to work their way into the bracket.

Box score:

Role players carry UGA in win over Vandy

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Three consecutive missed free throws by Vanderbilt and a heroic 30-foot three-pointer at the buzzer by Tyree Crump enabled UGA to put together its first SEC win streak of the season (2). For Georgia (14-13, 4-10) fans, the ending to this one was the icing on the cake of what was a fairly entertaining watch, considering this contest featured two teams that entered this matchup with 4 conference wins between them.

Here are some thoughts on what transpired in Nashville last evening:

Georgia’s role players stepped up big

Sahvir Wheeler picked up his 4th foul with over 17 minutes of game time remaining. For the next 14 minutes, Tom Crean was forced to keep his floor general on the bench. With Wheeler out of the game, Vanderbilt turned its entire attention onto Anthony Edwards. Anytime Edwards would penetrate inside the arc, one or two Commodore defenders would shade over to essentially double- or triple-team him.

Edwards made a layup at the 11:56 mark to give UGA its first lead (52-51) since the early stages of the game, but the freshman phenom would go scoreless for the remainder of the contest before fouling out with 6 seconds remaining.

So how did Georgia, a team that has blown 4 double-digit leads in losses this season, overcome a 9-point deficit with less than 7 minutes remaining? As miraculous as Crump’s triple was maybe even more miraculous was the fact that the Dawgs were even in that position to begin with.

The key to UGA’s comeback lied in the fortitude of its role players:

  • Tye Fagan scored stickbacks on offensive rebounds on consecutive possessions and then made a jumper in the middle of the lane to make it 65-58, Vandy, with 7 minutes left. Even though the Dawgs were still trailing by 7 at this point, without Fagan’s efforts Georgia could have fallen behind to a point that was insurmountable, given the amount of time left.
  • Before Crump hit the game winner, he made a triple and another bucket (that seemed like a three that was never reviewed) that helped UGA clip further into the Vanderbilt lead. Crump’s three-pointer with under 6 remaining brought the Dawgs within 4 points.
  • When the game finally started to feel as though it was slipping away with Vandy up 7 with only 4:28 left, Jordan Harris banged down a pair of triples to make it a one-possession game with 2:30 on the clock.
  • Sahvir Wheeler, who I mentioned sat for most of the second half, reentered the game at the 3:10 mark and scored 6 points in the final two minutes, including two monster free throws to bring the Dawgs within a point with 6 seconds left. Wheeler’s ability to come off the bench after sitting for so long and instantly facilitate offense for his team highlighted just how important the freshman is to this team. Over the past 8 games, Wheeler is netting over 12 ppg, a remarkable progression on offense for a first year player going through his first SEC slate.

The Dawgs limited turnovers after the break

During the first half, Georgia’s offense resembled a game of “Hot Potato” at times as UGA played loose with the basketball. The Dawgs committed 10 of their 13 turnovers prior to the intermission, and Vandy turned all those mishaps into 20 points on the night.

The centerpiece of the Vanderbilt’s defensive scheme involved a little junk trap on the ball handler outside the arc. For whatever reason, this action had the Georgia perimeter players flustered for the initial 20 minutes of play.

At halftime however, Tom Crean must have reminded his crew that the Commodores were the second-worst scoring defense in the league (74.3) and there was no reason to fear any of Jerry Stackhouse’s defensive sets. The Dawgs finally just started dribbling around the traps, which led to a lot of open looks as the Dores defenders scrambled to cover open UGA players. Georgia only committing 3 turnovers in the second half was a catalyst to this team’s comeback.

What the heck happened to Georgia’s defense?

If I hadn’t watched UGA hold Auburn to just 55 points on Wednesday, I wouldn’t have believed it after seeing this team’s defensive effort in Nashville on Saturday.

Tom Crean tried to put his team in a man defense in the first half, but no one could stay in front of Saben Lee or Scotty Pippen, Jr., who Georgia made look a lot more like Sr. yesterday. Lee went off for 22 of his game-high 34 points before the break, and it was almost comical how easy it was for him to blow by UGA’s perimeter players en route to the rim.

Crean moved his team into a 2-3 zone in an attempt to provide more help on Vandy’s backcourt, but the Dawgs failed to communicate and that led to more backdoor cuts and uncontested layups and dunks for the Dores.

As much fun as the Dawgs are going to have rewatching Crump’s buzzer beater, they are going to cringe when they examine the possessions when they were allegedly on defense. Georgia permitted Vanderbilt to connect on over 57% from the floor and better than 46% from beyond the arc. In SEC play this season, the Dores have been one of the worst shooting teams in league games at under 43% from the field, and they’ve been making barely over 33% from the perimeter. The Dawgs should feel a renewed sense of confidence after winning both games this week, but they should also be a bit disgusted by their lackadaisical effort on the defensive side of the ball yesterday.

Up Next:

Georgia has a rematch with South Carolina in Columbia on Wednesday night. Considering how overpowering the Gamecocks looked compared to UGA in Athens during the first matchup of these two teams, this contest will be a great opportunity for Tom Crean’s team to measure up and see how much they’ve grown (or haven’t) over the past few weeks.

Postseason projection:

NIT bubble

Box Score:

UGA defends the entire game and gets the result it wants

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The Georgia Bulldogs (13-13, 3-10) snapped a four-game losing streak on Wednesday night against the #13 Auburn Tigers in a game that Las Vegas had made UGA a 4.5-point underdog. It should definitely be noted that Bruce Pearl’s team was playing its second consecutive game without NBA prospect Isaac Okoro, the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.1 ppg. Nonetheless, this young Bulldog team found a way to win despite holding a double-digit lead for a brief 35 seconds early in the second half.

A couple thoughts on the game:

Here we go again…

The big “here we go again moment” came around the 6-minute mark of the second half after Anthony Edwards had knocked down a free throw to make it 52-43, Georgia. Over the next four possessions, Sahvir Wheeler, Mike Peake, Jordan Harris and Edwards all took three-point attempts that failed to convert. For the record, Harris shoots 28% from the perimeter and Peake shoots just 12%, so why those two were launching from beyond the arc during the game’s final stretch is beyond me.

Thankfully, the Ant Man converted on a floater that made it 54-47 with 4 minutes left, but Samir Doughty buried a triple on the ensuing possession and Auburn found themselves trailing by only 4 points. For anyone who has watched even a sliver of this UGA basketball season, this felt like the time when the wheels were supposed to start coming off for Georgia. Edwards sunk a huge three-pointer two possessions later, though, that turned out to be a dagger as it put the Dawgs up by 8 with 2:15 remaining. The cacophony of sounds circulating inside Stegeman following this bucket was a blend of cheers as well as collective sighs of relief from the Bulldog nation.

40-minute defensive effort from Georgia

Tom Crean finally convinced his team to play defense for an entire game, and it resulted in Auburn scoring its second-lowest output (55) of the season. This Tiger team entered this contest with the 3rd highest-scoring offense in SEC play at over 77 a night, further highlighting how impressive UGA was on that side of the ball this evening.

When Georgia struggled to stay in front of J’Von McCormick, who ended up with 22 points, Crean switched his team into a matchup zone in order to give his perimeter players more help up top in dealing with the senior guard. The Dawgs frustrated Bruce Pearl’s team into a 31% effort from the field and just 15% from beyond the arc; both of these results were well below the Tigers’ season shooting averages in league games. Georgia’s defense was so stifling that Pearl sweated completely through his suit, making him the second coach in less than a week that UGA has caused to perspire profusely.

Even though Auburn kept trying to pound the ball inside to Austin Wiley so as to take advantage of Georgia’s undersized frontcourt, the Dawgs were only outscored in the paint by a tally of 28-26; the last time these two teams met the Tigers brutalized UGA on the interior for 44 points. Protecting the rim has been a real challenge for this Bulldog squad this season, so it was refreshing to see them finally put together a complete effort in that facet of the game on Wednesday.

Georgia did yield 16 offensive boards to the Tigers and those did lead to 18 second chance points, but considering this Auburn team is the top offensive rebounding squad in SEC games (14.3), this is forgivable.

Crean’s frosh step up

While Edwards did knock down two important shots during the final stretch of this game, he also committed a game-high 7 turnovers, and those could have been more costly for Georgia had some of his fellow freshman not stepped up.

Sahvir Wheeler finished with 13 points and 4 assists as he looked in complete control of the UGA offense for much of the game. There was a moment in the first half when a Georgia big brought an on-ball screen to Wheeler on the perimeter. After Wheeler took his defender into the screen off the dribble, he found himself isolated with Auburn’s center (Wiley) defending him. Sahvir attacked the Tiger big man and had him backpedaling so quickly that Wheeler pulled up for a wide open jumper just inside the free throw line, which he made. It was such a mature decision by the freshman to take the wide open shot versus forcing something contested around the rim.

The other newcomer that was seemingly everywhere on the court on Wednesday night was Toumani Camara, who scored 12 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 3 steals (he also took at least two charges).

Up next:

Georgia heads to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt with a shot at putting together its first SEC win streak of the year.

Postseason projection:

NIT (outer fringes of the bubble)

Box score: