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With the way Marquette shot the ball on Sunday, it was hard to determine whether it was raining harder outside Stegeman Coliseum or in it.
After trailing by as much as 16 points early in the second half, Georgia cut the Marquette lead to 72-70 with 7:06 remaining following a pair of free throws from William “Turtle” Jackson. For a brief moment, UGA appeared to have resurrected itself from the land of the dead and looked poised to battle the Golden Eagles down the stretch. That moment was fleeting, though, as Marquette went on an 11-0 run that was capped off by a Markus Howard three-pointer, which put his team up 83-70 with just 4:29 left. Georgia wouldn’t climb out of this hole, and the Golden Eagles walked out of Stegeman with a 89-79 victory.
Howard hit 3 three-pointers on the night and finished with 15 points. He was one of four Golden Eagles to knock down 2 or more shots from beyond the arc. The last time Georgia had four players hit multiple three’s in one game was – er, quite a while ago, I’m guessing?
Marquette torched the Dawgs’ man defense for 8 three-pointers in the first half, only missing two. After the intermission, Coach Mark Fox switched his team into a matchup zone which enabled them to close out better on the Golden Eagle shooters, limiting them to just 5 three’s on 26% shooting from the perimeter in the second half. The Dawgs’ exterior defense wasn’t the only issue, though. Marquette had their way with Georgia off the dribble, and UGA’s help defense on the inside was seriously lacking. The Golden Eagles had four players finish in double-figures with Sam Hauser leading the way with 19 points. In addition to all the scoring, Marquette thoroughly dominated Georgia on the glass, winning the battle of the boards by a tally of 42-31, and 15 of those rebounds were of the offensive variety.
As much as I would like to point to strategic mishaps that ultimately led to UGA’s demise in this one, I really do not think that that was the case. Rather, Georgia simply doesn’t have the talent to play with and beat a team of Marquette’s caliber (or Clemson’s or Kansas’s, for that matter). Yante Maten and J.J. Frazier scored 24 and 22, respectively, and the Dawgs’ hit nearly 50% of their attempts from the floor, yet that still wasn’t enough firepower to match Marquette’s 89 points.
This UGA team has a serious talent drop off after accounting for Maten and Frazier. Center Luke Fischer, who is arguably Coach Wojo’s best player, only saw 7 minutes of court time in the first half due to foul trouble, and his team still took a 46-43 advantage into the break. Wojo has five legitimate scoring threats who at any time can either take their man off the dribble or hit a perimeter shot. How many guys like that does Coach Mark Fox have?
Right now, Fox has one guy who can consistently knock down outside shots (Frazier), and that is a problem. Georgia got nice efforts out of Mike Edwards and Turtle Jackson, who netted 11 and 8 points, respectively, but they are just not a very scary team to defend. If team’s can yield over 20 points to both Maten and Frazier and still win by 10, then the Dawgs’ postseason aspirations should go no further than the NIT.
UGA is now 5-3 on the season, and 0-3 in its attempts to secure a win against a team from another Power 5 conference.
Due to final exams, Georgia will have over a week to brood over this one before hitting the court again on December 14th, when the host Louisiana-Lafeyette.
After a shaky first half that was plagued by a slew of fouls for each team, the Georgia Bulldogs got it together after the break to outlast the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs 77-59 in Athens on Friday night.
The opening half was not a thing of beauty for Coach Mark Fox’s team. The Dawgs struggled to defend the perimeter well as they allowed the GW guards to consistently get into the lane and to the rim, where the Runnin’ Bulldogs buried 13 of their 17 attempts from the stripe. On offense, UGA endured one of its patented scoring droughts, going nearly 6 minutes without a field goal following an exciting fast break dunk by Yante Maten. By the time J.J. Frazier connected on a layup with 8:30 left in the half, his Georgia team trailed the visitors 20-18. Georgia’s offense did pick it up a bit heading into the break, and UGA took a 40-37 advantage into the intermission.
The Dawgs played primarily zone in the second half, clamping down on the GW guards on the outside. After shooting nearly 39% in half number one, the Runnin’ Bulldogs were held to just 25% from the floor following the break, and they managed only 22 second-half points. UGA forced GW into 19 turnovers, which led to 28 points for Georgia, a key factor in this victory for Coach Fox’s bunch. The only GW players to finish in double-digits were David Efianayi and LaQuincy Rideau, who scored 15 and 11, respectively.
Yante Maten led all scorers with 16 points, and he added to his stat line with 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals and 2 assists. The only other UGA players to end up in double figures were Frazier and Mike Edwards, who netted 10 apiece. J.J. played somewhat tentatively again on offense as he attempted just 6 shots; he did create 4 steals and dish out 6 assists, though. For whatever reason, Frazier has been less assertive this season compared to last. It’s possible that J.J. is still adjusting to being the team’s premier guard after playing alongside Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines for the first three years of his career. But even with both Mann and Gaines gone, Frazier is averaging less field goal attempts per game so far this year, taking 10.8 per contest compared to the 12.1 he put up a year ago. At some point, Frazier must force the issue a bit on offense as this team will have trouble navigating its SEC schedule if J.J. is tied for 4th on the team in field goal attempts as he was tonight against GW.
Coach Mark Fox got excellent scoring off his bench on Friday with Mike Edwards, Pape Diatta and Jordan Harris getting 10, 9 and 7, respectively. Edwards did a great job of making himself available in the lane when Maten faced double-teams, which occurred regularly this evening. Diatta, who scored 7 of his 9 before the break, also hauled in 6 rebounds, making for an incredibly productive 16 minutes.
The Dawgs shot over 48% from the floor against the Runnin’ Bulldogs, and they are now hitting nearly 44% from the field on the season, compared to the 42% that UGA shot last year.
Georgia gets another tune up on Wednesday when they play host to Morehouse, then the Dawgs get another crack at a Power 5 conference opponent when they take on Marquette next Sunday in Athens.
The turning point in the game…
After trailing Kansas 35-25 at the break, the Bulldogs made a run at the Jayhawks at the start of the second half. Yante Maten hit a three-pointer and Derek Ogbeide got a stick back, and less than a minute in UGA had trimmed the Kansas advantage to just 5 points. The Jayhawks responded with a three and a tip-in of their own, and with 17:35 left Kansas had already restored its double-digit halftime lead and sucked the air out of any thoughts of a UGA comeback. Instead, the Dawgs went into drought mode and allowed over 8 minutes to surpass before they would get another bucket. By the time Maten hit a jumper with 9:36 remaining, his team was down 52-36.
Yante was obviously unfazed by the gloss of playing the #5 team in the country. The junior led all scorers and rebounders with 30 points and 13 boards, respectively. Maten dominated the paint for much of the game, controlling the blocks and grabbing 8 offensive rebounds,which enabled him to score on a number of second chance stick backs. Defensively, Maten and the other UGA bigs were a force as well – the Kansas posts accounted for only 5 of their team’s 64 points on the evening.
But he couldn’t do it all by himself…
While Maten certainly enjoyed a monster game in the finals of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, the rest of the Georgia team, by and large, struggled. Yante shot 48% from the floor en route to 30 total points; everyone else in a red jersey combined for a total of 24 points and 22% from the field. J.J. Frazier and Juwan Parker were particularly cold on Tuesday. Frazier notched just 2 points, going 1 for 10 from the floor and o for 6 from beyond the arc. Parker had only 5 points, hitting 2 of his 9 attempts from the field and missing all of his three-point attempts. Freshman Jordan Harris, who had put together two consecutive decent games coming into this one, looked overwhelmed against the Kansas backcourt, committing a team-high 4 turnovers and scoring just 2 points.
The silver lining…
Georgia fans should be encouraged by the fact that the Dawgs lost by only 11 points to the #5 Jayhawks, considering that J.J., who entered the game averaging nearly 19 points a night, netted only 2 points. Frazier had been responsible for more than a quarter of UGA’s scoring load in the first 4 games, so it seems reasonable to expect the Dawgs to struggle when he is off (like last night). If J.J. makes half of his three-point attempts on Tuesday, this game would have been much tighter down the stretch. Coach Mark Fox’s team definitely showed a certain toughness in hanging around with the more talented Jayhawks, despite not getting any production from its best guard. Credit the Dawgs’ defense, which held Kansas to under 39% from the floor and basically kept them sort of in the game.
The strength of this Clemson Tiger team last season was its defense, and coach Brad Brownell road that defense on Friday night to a 74-64 victory in the season opener against the Georgia Bulldogs. All night long, the Tigers pushed the Dawgs away from the basket, using a strong man-to-man to stymie the UGA offense. Clemson held Georgia to under 43% from the floor, and they turned the Dawgs over 14 times inside Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Tigers jumped on Georgia from the start, opening up a 21-9 lead less than 10 minutes in following a three-pointer from Avry Holmes. Clemson star forward Jaron Blossomgame picked up two fouls early and sat for much of the first half, but guard Game DeVoe picked up the slack in his absence, knocking down two three’s before the break en route to 12 first half points. The Tigers held J.J. Frazier to just 3 points prior to the intermission, which enabled them to head into the break with a 40-30 advantage.
The Dawgs closed the gap in the second half after Turtle Jackson hit a pair of three-pointers to cut the Clemson lead to 51-48 with 10:18 remaining in the game. The Tigers jumped on Georgia immediately out the ensuing timeout though, going on a 12-2 run that was capped off by an old-fashioned three-point play by Donte Grantham, putting his team up 63-50 with 7:43 left. This stretch by Clemson took the life out of the Dawgs, and Clemson kept UGA at bay for the remainder of the night.
DeVoe led the Tigers in scoring with 15 points, and Blossomgame chipped in another 13.
Yante Maten carried the Dawgs on the night, scoring 19 points to go along with 12 rebounds, posting his first double-double of the season. Frazier was the only other UGA player to finish in double-figures, scoring 11 points; however, it took him a 5 for 13 shooting effort to get there.
Clemson’s defense definitely exposed a huge question mark that Georgia will have to address at some point this season: who will score other than Frazier and Maten? Other than Derek Ogbeide’s 9 point-effort on a 4 for 5 performance, most of the other UGA players struggled. Most noticeably among them being Juwan Parker, who shot an abysmal 3 for 10 from the floor. Coach Mark Fox must get offensive output from some of his role players, but I’m not sure Parker is a viable option. He certainly has enjoyed shooting it from the perimeter during his time at Georgia, but unfortunately for the Dawgs Parker has made just 19% of his attempts from beyond the arc. At some point, someone – either Parker or Fox – needs to decide that that’s not a productive shot for this team.
Teams are going to continue to overload their defense on Frazier this year, just like the Tigers did tonight. Coach Brownell had his guards stick with Frazier even when he didn’t have the ball in an effort to force the four other UGA players on the court to beat them, and, for the most part, it worked.
Coach Mark Fox’s team will get a chance to earn its first win of the year on Monday night in Athens when they play host to the Bulldogs from Asheville, North Carolina.
A couple of NCAA Tournament hopefuls will be squaring off on Friday night when Georgia travels to Littlejohn Coliseum to take on the Clemson Tigers. For now, UGA is in the “First Four Out” category of ESPN’s Preseason Bracketology, while Clemson was no where to be found. Although, any bracket predictions being made before the season has tipped off should be taken lightly.
The strength of this Tiger team last year was its defense. A rangy bunch, Clemson ranked first in the ACC last season in blocked shots at 5.2 per game, and they were third in fewest points allowed at 64.5 per contest. Last year, UGA was plagued in numerous games by long stretches of offensive ineptitude, a weakness that Coach Mark Fox’s team must eliminate if they want to play into late March this year.
A year ago, the Dawgs manhandled the Tigers in Athens 71-48. UGA was led by seniors Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann, who combined for 35 points to carry Georgia to the home win. In that game, UGA limited Clemson superstar Jaron Blossomgame to just 5 points, which was almost 13 under his average.
Fast forward to 2016. Georgia no longer has Gaines or Mann, and they once again will have to take on a Tiger team led by Jaron Blossomgame, a preseason First Team All-ACC selection. Blossomgame is currently projected by NBADraft.net to go #17 in their 2017 Mock NBA Draft. At this point, Georgia doesn’t have any players in that Mock.
This contest should present both a formidable challenge and an opportunity for UGA junior Yante Maten. In the exhibition game last week, Maten had his way against the inferior competition from Fort Valley, Georgia. Against Clemson, Maten will have his hands full dealing with a potential NBA first-round draft pick in Blossomgame. That being said, there should be an NBA scout or two inside Littlejohn on Friday; Yante will have a chance to show them what he can do while going head-to-head with a probable prospect.
Friday’s season opener at Clemson could definitely have selection implications in March. Coach Mark Fox’s team has the possibility of earning a quality win that could boost its NCAA resume, and we’re not even halfway through November.
One of the renovations that Georgia fans will quickly notice as they enter Stegeman Coliseum this season to cheer on the Dawgs is the new wall-to-wall mural that sits above the scoreboard, hovering over the student section.
The artwork features former UGA stars from the men’s and women’s basketball teams, along with several former gymnasts (disclosure: I cannot name any current or former Gym Dawg, so apologies for that).
Going from left to right, the first two men’s basketball players, Kentavious Caldwell Pope and Jarvis Hayes, both seem like excellent choices. Even though KCP and Jarvis only played two seasons each in Athens, they both made immediate impacts in the scoring column while donning the red and black. Jarvis was named First-Team All-SEC both years, and KCP made it once. KCP is currently in the midst of building a solid NBA resume, while Hayes played 7 seasons in the league before moving on to greener pastures. Hayes also led probably the most talented UGA basketball team since the early 80’s during the 2002-2003 season, although that team’s campaign was cut short due to Jim Harrick running amok.
By choosing KCP and Hayes for the graphic, UGA covered both the early and recent 2000’s, meaning that an obvious choice for the third and final former Dawg would be someone from the pre-high-speed internet era. But the people behind this renovation decided to immortalize Marcus Thornton instead (me thinks Mark Fox had some input into this). Nothing against Marcus, he had a solid senior season, averaging over 12 points and 7 boards a game en route to a All-SEC Second-Team selection. But is he really who UGA fans think of when they recollect on former Georgia basketball greats?
Here are some other names I might have considered:
‘Nique is definitely the most obvious choice. I mean, he is 4th on the all-time UGA scoring leaders list, even though he played just three seasons. Wilkins was a First-Team All-SEC selection twice, and he was named a Second-Team All-American two times as well. A nine-time NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer, the Human Highlight Film also ranks 13th on the league’s all time scoring leaders. For you young bucks, here’s a clip of some of Nique’s best dunks (#6 is particularly nasty):
Vern Fleming might be less of a household name than Dominique, but his accomplishments while at UGA were remarkable. A two-time All-American and First-Team All-SEC selection, Fleming ranks third on Georgia’s all-time scoring leaders. He also captained the Dawgs’ 1983 Final Four team, which still marks the deepest a Bulldog team has advanced in the Big Dance. After Georgia, Fleming played 11 years in the NBA.
Kessler ranks 2nd among the Dawgs’ all-time scoring leaders, and he was named an All-American in 1990. Kessler was also twice named to the All-SEC First-Team, though his four-year NBA career was much less glamorous than his time in Athens.
Overall, I like the idea of the artwork, I’m just questioning some of it’s content. Any thoughts?
Georgia followed up its best offensive output of the season – a 93-point effort in the win over Belmont – with one of its worst performances on Sunday night in Moraga, California. The Dawgs couldn’t finish on the inside, and their outside shooting was terrible, making just 4 of 17 three-point attempts. Saint Mary’s, on the other hand, didn’t have any trouble scoring the ball as they knocked down 50% of their field goal attempts en route to a relatively easy 77-65 win over UGA in the second round of the NIT Tournament.
The Dawgs offense looked inauspicious from the start. Yante Maten, coming off the best offensive performance of his career against Belmont, struggled mightily in half number one. Maten made just 3 of his 13 field goal attempts, with many of his misses coming on very makable shots. Things didn’t get any better for Yante in the second half either as he finished the game with 12 points on a 6 for 22 shooting effort.
As a team, UGA made under 30% of its shots prior to the intermission. Georgia endured one of its typical scoring droughts in the first half, this one lasting nearly 8 minutes. During this stretch, Georgia failed to convert a field goal, while Saint Mary’s went on a 15-3 run that bolstered its lead to 27-17. The Gaels would take a 36-23 advantage into the break.
Georgia’s defense was equally as frustrating as its offense. Coach Mark Fox moved his guys from a zone to man, and then back to zone. Regardless, the Dawgs were slow to close out on the Gaels all game. Saint Mary’s moved the ball quickly around the floor, and it seemed like the Georgia players were always a second late getting to the right spot. The Gaels made 9 shots from beyond the arc, knocking down almost 38% of their attempts. Saint Mary’s had four players finish in double-figures, with Emmett Naar leading the way with 15 points.
The Dawgs also had four starters end the game in double-digits. Charles Mann and J.J. Frazier led Bulldogs with 13 points apiece.
This loss ends Georgia’s season as the Dawgs finish up at 20-14 overall. Today’s game also marks the last for seniors Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann, who both finished in the top twenty of UGA’s all-time scoring leaders.
The Dawgs had another chance today to notch an RPI Top 50 win (ESPN had the Gaels at 40), but alas it wasn’t meant to be, making Georgia 0 for 6 on the year against teams of this caliber.
Next year, UGA is going to have to win some of these games if they want to be playing on CBS, TBS, TNT or TRU TV this time of year, rather than ESPNU.