Posts Tagged ‘Auburn’
Just when it seemed like J.J. Frazier could officially do no wrong, he did. With 12 seconds left and Georgia leading 79-78, Frazier tried to force a pass through the teeth of the Auburn defense and it was stolen. All of a sudden, Frazier’s Senior Night fairy tale ending seemed in jeopardy. The Tigers inbounded the ball to Jared Harper with only 7 seconds left, and he promptly tossed up a three-pointer which missed and allowed UGA to hold on for its third straight win.
Other than Frazier’s mental lapse in the final moments of this contest, the Dawgs did an excellent job of taking control of this game when it counted down the stretch. The two teams went into the final media timeout knotted up at 73-apiece. UGA tightened up its defense when it counted, though, and they held Auburn to just 1 of its final 6 field goal attempts.
Even though J.J.’s turnover could have been incredibly costly, the Dawgs would have never even been in a position to win without him. Frazier, who came into this game averaging 31 a night over the past three contests, fittingly scored 31 tonight against Bruce Pearl’s team. He knocked down 5 of his 9 shots from beyond the arc, and J.J. also scored on an array of tricky drives that I will sorely miss seeing inside Stegeman next season. South Carolina’s Sindarious Thornwell may have been the leading SEC Player of the Year candidate a week ago, but I have to imagine that Frazier is giving him a serious run for his money at this point because what J.J. has done without the help of Yante Maten has been nothing short of miraculous.
The Dawgs started out super slow in this one as they allowed the Tigers to hit 4 three-pointers en route to a 20-9 lead a little over 10 minutes into the game. UGA also struggled to contain Auburn on the offensive glass as they let the Tigers haul in 7 of their own misses. In addition, Georgia turned the ball over 9 times before the break, so all things considered, the Dawgs should have felt fortunate to go into the intermission trailing 37-30.
UGA had trouble defending the perimeter for most of the night as Auburn knocked down 12 of its 27 three-point attempts. But this is a Tiger team that can get hot from beyond the arc, where Auburn is making 9 three’s a game in SEC play. Mark Fox mixed up zones and man in an attempt to close out on the Auburn shooters, but the Tigers were still successful from the outside. Tonight’s game marks the 6th SEC contest in which they have made 10 three-pointers or more, and the 10th time overall this season.
While Auburn got after the glass early, Georgia won the overall rebounding effort by a count of 39-36, and much of that credit goes to big man Derek Ogbeide. Ogbeide, who does the dirty work for this team night in and night out, entered this contest 3rd in SEC games in rebounding with 8 boards a night. This evening, Ogbeide finished with a double-double, snagging 15 rebounds to go along with 10 points as he controlled the paint for the Dawgs.
The only other UGA player to score in double-digits was Tyree Crump, who poured in 10 points in 11 minutes off the bench. Crump knocked down 2 of his 3 shots from beyond the arc, and he’s now scored 22 points over his last 28 minutes in the past 3 games.
Georgia is now 18-12 overall and 9-8 in the conference, and they now have a legitimate opportunity to punch an at-large NCAA berth ticket this Saturday with a win at Arkansas.
SEC openers have not been Mark Fox’s specialty during his tenure in Athens as his teams have gone a combined 2-5. Georgia (9-4) looked overwhelmed at the start of this game, and following a tip-in by Austin Wiley the Auburn Tigers (10-3) held a commanding 33-20 lead over the Dawgs just a little over halfway through the opening twenty minutes. The sold out Auburn Arena was rocking as this hot Tiger team, coming off a huge road win at Connecticut, seemed poised to deliver a knockout punch to a shell-shocked group of Dawgs.
But UGA hung around. J.J. Frazier got handsy, ratcheting up a game-high 5 steals. Jordan Harris looked like a 4-star recruit, scoring 12 points on a combination of three-pointers and drives. Yante Maten got hit with 2 quick fouls, but managed to only accumulate 1 more over the final 30-something minutes. Even Juwan Parker, who’s jumper has been anything but consistent this season, buried a key shot from the corner that put the Dawgs up 90-80 with only 2:31 left.
Below are two major reasons why Georgia managed to pull off this 96-84 victory on The Plains:
Switch to zone
The Dawgs tried to play Auburn in a man defense to begin the game and that strategy was rendered ineffective pretty quickly. The Tigers pushed the tempo early, and UGA failed to close out well on the perimeter, which led to a barrage of Auburn three-pointers. The Tigers hit 7 of their first 11 shots from beyond the arc and held a 36-26 advantage with a little over 8 minutes left in the first half after a triple from junior T.J. Lang.
Credit Mark Fox, however, for recognizing and reacting to Auburn’s pace by putting his team into a combination of matchup, 2-3 and 3-2 zones. The Tigers missed their final 3 shots from the perimeter heading into the intermission, and they made just 2 of 12 from beyond the arc in the second half. After hitting over 56% from the floor in the first twenty minutes of play, Auburn made only 37% of its field goal attempts following the break. UGA’s zone looks reduced the number of open shots from the outside for Bruce Pearl’s team, and it helped Georgia slow down the tempo of the game, which turned out to work very much in Dawgs’ favor.
In the latter quarter of this game, Georgia abandoned its typical half court offensive sets, which can become slightly rigid at times, and instead put the ball in the hands of its two playmakers. On nearly every possession, the Dawgs offense consisted of a high screen by Yante Maten for J.J. Frazier, and then those two would take it from there. Maten, who led all scorers with 31 points, netted 10 of those in the game’s final 8 minutes. Frazier, who poured in 27 points as well, scored 8 during the same stretch and dished out 2 of his 5 assists. The UGA offense looked much more NBA-like than collegiate in the game’s final minutes, and Georgia closed out this contest with a 22-10 run after trailing Auburn 76-74 with 7:27 remaining. After connecting on just 42% of its field goal attempts in the first half, Georgia almost knocked down 60% of its shots from the floor following the intermission en route to a season-high output of 96 points.
The fact that Georgia was even in a position to possibly tie the game in the waning seconds is a testament to J.J. Frazier’s heart. Frazier, who score 24 of his game-high 29 points in the second half (he netted 11 points in final four and half minutes), went to the line with the Bulldogs trailing Auburn 84-81 and only 1.6 seconds left. J.J. missed the first shot unintentionally, which forced him to have to miss the second intentionally with the hopes that the ball might kick out for a long rebound and a potential last second three-point attempt. None of that happened, though. Instead, Auburn’s Cinmeon Bowers corralled the miss and the Tigers secured the home victory.
Kenny Gaines deserves a lot of credit for the late surge as well, hitting 3 three-pointers in the game’s final minute, giving him 23 points on the night.
Ultimately, though, the Dawgs could not overcome another sluggish first half.
In the game’s first twenty minutes, UGA made just 26% of its shots. Auburn wasn’t much better at 38% from the floor, yet the Tigers held a 39-23 advantage at the break. This lead was somewhat surprising considering that Cinmeon Bowers, who averages a double-double for Auburn, spent the majority of the first half on the bench with two fouls.
Despite Bowers’s absence, Maten could not take advantage, putting up a goose egg in the scoring department prior to the intermission, continuing his recent offensive woes. Entering tonight’s contest on The Plains, Maten had connected on just 11 of his last 38 shot attempts. Yanted ended up with 10 points and 8 boards, but this contest marked the 3rd straight game where Maten has had trouble offensively.
While Auburn leads the conference with nearly 9 three’s per game in SEC contests, the Tigers have only been making 33% of their attempts from beyond the arc. Tonight, however, Auburn torched Georgia from the perimeter, knocking down 11 three-pointers en route to a 46% shooting performance from the outside.
The Tigers were led by T.J. Lang and Jordon Granger, who scored 21 and 18 points, respectively. These two also combined for 7 of Auburn’s 11 three’s.
Winning on the road in college basketball is not easy, and Georgia has the 2-8 road record to prove it. But this was not a very good Auburn basketball team. Actually, it’s a pretty bad Auburn basketball team.
The Tigers entered tonight’s contest at 4-10 in the SEC, second to last in the league. Prior to this evening, Auburn had dropped 8 of its last 9 games. Not to mention that they have been playing without the services of Kareem Canty, who was removed from the team last month due to disciplinary reasons – at the time, Canty was the Tigers’s leading scorer.
Good teams don’t lose games like this one, even away from home. But at 14-12 overall and 7-8 in the SEC, it’s starting to look like UGA is not that good of a team.
The NIT, which is Georgia’s only hope for a postseason experience at this point, is starting to look out of reach for Coach Mark Fox’s bunch.
After Auburn graciously tossed the ball the length of the court and out of bounds with 1.8 seconds left, Georgia had one last look at the rim, trailing the Tigers 69-68. Unfortunately, the Dawgs couldn’t get the ball in to anyone close to the basket, which ultimately led to Neme Djurisic shooting an off-balanced airball from the corner of the court.
Auburn won the game and erased any good mojo that UGA might have been feeling after their win in College Station earlier this week.
Actually, this loss is going to sting the Dawgs down the road, considering Auburn entered Stegemen with just 3 SEC wins before 2:00PM. Georgia has now dropped games to Georgia Tech, Minnesota, South Carolina and Auburn, all of which are considered “bad losses” as far as the NCAA selection committee is concerned.
After sleepwalking on offense for the first 30 minutes of this game, UGA managed to build a 9-point lead with just 5:08 remaining. But the Dawgs defense was unable to stop the Tigers, allowing Auburn to connect on its final 5 field goals. The Tigers scored 21 points in the last five minutes, almost as many as they scored in the entire first half (29). Georgia’s offense failed them for the first three-quarters of this contest, but it was its defense that let them down in the end.
The Dawgs were led by Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann, who scored 18 and 14 points, respectively.
Bruce Pearl’s backcourt carried his team this afternoon, with K.T. Harrell and K.C. Ross-Miller combining for 38 of their team’s 69 points.
Georgia had one of its best performances of the season from the free throw line, hitting nearly 86% of its attempts. However, the good shooting from the stripe did not translate over to the field, where the Dawgs made only 37% from the floor and just 21% from beyond the arc.
This loss puts UGA’s SEC record at 7-5, which sits them at 4th in the conference – for now.
Georgia has South Carolina coming into Athens on Tuesday, and they simply cannot afford another letdown.
The Georgia Bulldogs basketball team didn’t take the lead once in last night’s game against Auburn…they were barely even in it.
With 8:22 left in the first half, the Dawgs pulled within one point on a Dustin Ware three-pointer to make the score 23-22 Auburn. However, this was the closest Georgia came to catching the Tigers, and they essentially spent the entire second half down by more than 10 points.
The Dawgs shot poorly from the field (36.5%), committed 19 turnovers (only 9 assists) and played lackluster defense.
Auburn’s senior forward Lucas Hargrove, who came into the game averaging 13 points a game, was unstoppable all night and matched his season-high of 24 points…The Dawgs bigs made Hargrove look like Lebron James or Kobe Bryant.
Trey Thompkins played only 13 minutes due to foul trouble. He finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds and 6 turnovers before fouling out with 8:33 left in the second half.
The lone bright spot for Georgia was the play of Travis Leslie, who finished with 19 points and 17 rebounds.
Dustin Ware played decently, chipping in 10 points on 4 of 8 shooting (and he didn’t commit any turnovers).
The Georgia Bulldogs are now 10-12 overall and 2-7 in the SEC. Last night’s game solidified the fact that Georgia is an extremely mediocre team away from the confines of the Classic City (0-8 in true road games).
The Dawgs hopes of making the NIT took a big hit last night, as they now need to win 5 out of their next 7 to finish with a winning record overall.