Hoop Dawgs

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Posts Tagged ‘Bulldogs

Looking ahead to next season

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Just like the season before, Georgia will be losing two key seniors from its roster as it heads into the offseason. With the departures of Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann, UGA will need to replace 23.7 points per night.  In addition to the loss of offensive production, the Dawgs will also need someone to step up and assume the role of shutdown defender that Gaines has occupied for the past four years.

The good news, however, is that Coach Mark Fox’s team returns its two leading scorers, J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten, both of whom finished with over 16 points per game.  Frazier and Maten were named to the postseason All-SEC second team this year, and surely they will each find a spot on the preseason All-SEC first team heading into next season.  Georgia is fortunate to have bonafide stars at both the guard and forward positions.

The biggest concern offensively for the Dawgs next year at this point has to be perimeter shooting.  Both Frazier and Gaines knocked down over 38% of their three-point tries this year, but Gaines is gone, leaving Georgia with only one legitimate outside threat.  What happens when J.J. has to sit?

Georgia’s incoming freshman guards, Tyree Crump and Jordan Harris, each connected on over 40% of their shots from beyond the arc in their senior seasons in high school.  At least one of these guys will need to come in an establish himself as an outside scorer from the start.  I also understand that Mark Fox is actively recruiting a graduate transfer for next year, so here’s to crossing my fingers and hoping that he gets one who can fill it up from the perimeter.

Joining Yante Maten in the paint will be sophomores Derek Ogbeide and Michael Edwards. Ogbeide proved himself to be a tenacious rebounder in his freshman campaign, averaging over 5 boards per contest in just 15 minutes a game.  Next year he should see increased minutes, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the big fella ring up more than a few double-doubles.

Michael Edwards is an intriguing player who could either have a Travis Leslie-esque jump next year, or he could continue doing more of the same from what we saw this season.  If you recall, Leslie appeared wild and uncoordinated in his first year of UGA basketball, netting just 6 points a game. However, Leslie burst onto the season in year number two, netting nearly 15 points and 7 rebounds a night.  Much like Leslie, Edwards, who possesses an imposing 6’9″ frame, showed signs of that same sort of raw athleticism as a freshman. If Edwards can learn to improve his footwork and get better control of his body, Dawgs fans could see significant gains from the sophomore big.

ESPN released its “Way too early Top 25” and Joe Lunardi posted his initial “Bracketology” for the 2017 season; Georgia wasn’t included in either of them.  Maybe its for the best, since the Dawgs were projected in the NCAA tournament field by Lunardi prior to this year and, well, we all know how that turned out.

But make no mistake: UGA SHOULD make the NCAA tournament next season with the personnel the Dawgs are returning.  Whether that happens or not is on Coach Mark Fox.  In the past five regular seasons, Georgia is now 4-34 against the RPI Top 50, a record that is truly atrocious.  Playing good competition is not enough.  At some point, UGA needs to break through and start winning some of these games.  Another NIT appearance is unacceptable.

Written by hoopdawg

April 9, 2016 at 7:40 am

Dawgs knocked out of NIT by Saint Mary’s

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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.

Written by hoopdawg

March 20, 2016 at 8:58 pm

Dawgs advance to 2nd round of NIT with win over Belmont

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With a little over 5 minutes remaining in the game and Georgia leading by just 2 points, Yante Maten picked up a ball booted by Belmont’s Craig Bradshaw, took it the length of the floor and finished with a thunderous dunk that electrified the UGA crowd.  Belmont could have easily folded at this point, but instead the Bruins fought to stick around, trimming the Dawgs’ advantage back down to four points with 2:13 left.  On the next possession, though, J.J. Frazier knocked down a three-pointer from just inside the construction site for the new indoor football practice facility, giving UGA 83-76 lead with under two minutes remaining.  Belmont would not get any closer as the Dawgs earned a 93-84 win and the right to play St. Mary’s in the second round of the NIT.

Though Frazier may have delivered the dagger in this one, the story on the night was all about Yante Maten.  Maten scored 20 of his career 33 points in the first half, including a 3 for 3 performance from the three-point line.  Shockingly, Belmont opted not to double on Maten when he received the ball on the block, and the Bruins paid dearly for this decision as Yante was an astounding 14 for 17 from the floor.  In addition to his prolific scoring, he also grabbed 10 rebounds to notch his 10th double-double of the season.

Almost overshadowed by Maten’s phenomenal performance was Charles Mann, who scored a season-high 23 points this evening. Surprisingly, the majority of Mann’s points came from beyond the arc, where he buried 4 of his 6 three-point attempts. I’m not sure what to make of Mann’s newfound outside shot, other than I wish it had showed up a bit earlier in his career.

J.J. Frazier and Kenny Gaines both struggled from the floor as each of them shot below 40% on the night.  However, they finished with 16 and 12 points, respectively.

This game did not feature much defense as both teams got the ball up the court and into scoring opportunities with relative ease.  Belmont shot over 47% from the field as a team, and they were right on their season average from the perimeter at a little bit above 37%. The Bruins had 5 players end the game in double-figures, with senior Craig Bradshaw leading the way with 19 points.

Tonight’s victory marked Georgia’s 20th of the season, making it three-straight years in which the Dawgs have eclipsed that mark.  Seniors Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann have been an integral part of this successful run, and hopefully this evening’s game will not be the last time we see these two play inside Stegeman Coliseum.  However, should 1-seed Valpo knock off 4-seed FSU tomorrow night, Georgia would not get another home game even if the Dawgs manage to win on the road against St. Mary’s in the second round.

But for now, UGA can be satisfied knowing that its season will continue on to another game.

 

Written by hoopdawg

March 16, 2016 at 8:43 pm

Georgia offense wakes up at home against Ole Miss

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The Georgia offense, which had been relatively dormant over the past few weeks, finally came to life on Saturday inside Stegeman Coliseum; and by UGA offense, I’m referring to J.J. Frazier, Kenny Gaines and Yante Maten, who combined to scored 68 of the team’s 80 points today in Athens.

Frazier, who led all scorers with 26 points, carried the Dawgs down the stretch, netting 14 points in the game’s final 10 minutes.  Georgia was clinging to a 54-53 lead with 10:40 left when J.J. buried a three to send the Dawgs up by four. He would hit two more three-pointers during this same stretch, the second one putting UGA up 70-59 with a little over 5 minutes remaining.  That second three sealed the game for Coach Mark Fox’s team, and Georgia came away with the 80-66 home victory, snapping a three-game losing streak.

Gaines and Frazier each hit 5 three’s on the afternoon, torching the Rebels from the outside.  Kenny Gaines also did a phenomenal job defending Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody, who entered today’s contest leading the conference in scoring at over 23 points per SEC game.  On Saturday, though, Moody couldn’t find any room to work due to Gaines’s stingy defense, and he finished with just 15 points on a sub par 5 for 13 shooting performance.  Gaines looked every bit the part of an All-SEC guard in this contest.

At times this season Mark Fox’s substitution patterns have been confusing, moving guys in and out of games at a torrent pace.  However, today Fox had it right as he played Gaines and Frazier 38 and 37 minutes, respectively, which was certainly the right call considering that both guys were on fire.

Georgia just appeared more hungry in this one than the Rebels.  The Dawgs got 19 second chance points to Mississippi’s 7, with a large chunk of those coming from Yante Maten, who nabbed another double-double, scoring 19 points to go along with 10 boards.  UGA forced Ole Miss into 14 turnovers, and they opportunistically converted those mishaps into 22 points.

The Dawgs looked like they were on pace to cruise early on in this game, opening up a 27-16 first half lead after a tip-in by freshman Michael Edwards.  But then the Georgia offense stalled, and Ole Miss closed out the final 7 minutes of the half with a 16-6 run, cutting the UGA advantage to 33-32 at the break.

The Rebels continued to roll out of the intermission, hitting 5 shots from beyond the arc in the first five minutes of the second half, which gave Andy Kennedy’s team a 49-41 lead 14:56 left in the game.  Credit Coach Fox’s team for digging in and getting themselves in a position to win the game after enduring this barrage from the perimeter.

This win puts Georgia at 15-12 overall and 8-8 in the SEC.

Written by hoopdawg

February 27, 2016 at 5:18 pm

Georgia can’t overcome slow start on The Plains

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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.

Written by hoopdawg

February 24, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Vanderbilt shuts Georgia down in Nashville

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The loss to Florida was bad, but if they could just win the next five games they’d still have a chance to make a push for the NCAA tournament.

This is what I told myself as I made the five and a half hour drive from Athens to Nashville on Friday night.

That wishful thinking was crushed early in Memorial Gym on Saturday, as Georgia fell behind quickly and stayed behind, losing 80-67 to the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Georgia put up another offensive dud today, shooting only 38% from the floor en route to a 67-point performance.  J.J. Frazier (21) and Yante Maten (19) combined for nearly 60% of their team’s output, while the rest of the supporting cast was nowhere to be found.  Kenny Gaines managed only 5 points on a 2 for 10 shooting effort, making it the 4th time in the last 5 games that he has failed to finish in double-figures.

The Dawgs’ offense is becoming increasingly stagnant as the season progresses.  In the early Mark Fox UGA years, Georgia scored regularly on both cuts down the lane and backdoor cuts set up by off-ball screens.  Today, Fox’s team looked completely one-dimensional, relying heavily on pick and rolls, which Vanderbilt eventually got very comfortable defending. The result: UGA scored one point more than its SEC game average of 66 points.

Get this: in conference games, the Dawgs are now averaging the least amount of points per contest in the league.  Team assists, which were once a staple of Mark Fox’s teams, are now hard to come by as UGA is dishing out only 11 per game, ranking them 11th in league in the category in SEC play.  The numbers don’t lie, and at this point, I think it’s safe to say that Fox does not have the talent that he had when he first came on board in Athens.

Georgia has dropped 3 of its last 4 games, and not surprisingly, it has shot under 40% in all three losses.  The Dawgs have become incredibly easy to guard, especially when Yante Maten is not on the floor. Even when Yante is in the game, UGA at most has 3 viable scoring threats, assuming J.J. and Gaines are playing, and that’s just not going to cut it against decent teams.

Georgia’s defense wasn’t much better, though, as they allowed all five Vanderbilt starters to finish in double-figures.  The Dores were led by Wade Baldwin IV’s 17 points as well as Damian Jones, who netted a double-double, scoring 15 to go along with his game -high 16 boards (I should mention that Maten too had a double-double).  On numerous occasions the Vandy guards made passes to wide open bigs, resulting in a string of uncontested dunks.  The Dores shot nearly 46% from the floor, which is a point higher than their SEC game average.

The Dawgs are now 11-0 against teams ranked outside of the RPI Top 100, and 3-11 when playing teams inside it.  Georgia is 2-7 on the road this year, which is bad news considering that they travel to The Plains on Wednesday for a rematch with Auburn.  Today’s loss put UGA one step closer to playing on Thursday of this year’s SEC tournament; losing to the Tigers next week would almost assure it.

 

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February 20, 2016 at 10:44 pm

Dawgs get second road win of season

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Georgia got what it needed on Saturday night in Starkville: a win.

For just the second time this season, UGA won a game away from Athens, boosting its overall record to 14-9 overall, 7-5 in the SEC.  More importantly, the Dawgs avoided what could have been their worst loss of the season as the Maroon Dogs entered tonight’s game with an ugly RPI of 164.

Coach Fox’s team won tonight’s game with defense.  The Dawgs played matchup zone for  a majority of the night, limiting Mississippi State to just 31% from the floor.  Missy State entered this contest with the 3rd best shooting percentage in the conference in SEC games at over 45%; yet, Georgia managed to hold them in check, contesting shot after shot.  UGA also did an excellent job of securing their opponent’s misses, out rebounding State by a tally of 45-35.  The Dawgs have the best defensive rebounding percentage in the SEC in league games, and tonight was no different as Georgia hauled in 75% of the Missy State misses.

The Maroon Dogs were led offensively by Quinndary Weatherspoon, who netted 17 points. The team’s leading scorer, Gavin Ware, finished with only 6 points, nearly 10 below his SEC average.

UGA closed out the first half with an 11-4 run, capped off by a Yante Maten jumper that sent the score to 32-21 going into the break.  Maten, who finished with a game-high 25 points, scored 15 of them prior to the intermission. He was unstoppable this evening, scoring on an array of layups, hook shots, and midrange jumpers.

Georgia began the second half with an 11-2 run, and after a pair of free throws from none other than Yante Maten, the Dawgs’ lead had blossomed to 43-23 with a little over 17 minutes remaining in the game.  From this point on UGA coasted, leaving Starkville with the 66-57 victory.

Charles Mann played arguably his best game of the season, scoring a season-high 21 points, six of which came on a pair of three-pointers.

Freshman Derek Ogbeide got the start tonight at the five spot, a position that has been somewhat of a revolving door for the Dawgs this season. While Ogbeide only netted 4 points, he did grab a team-high 13 rebounds.

The Dawgs have two days off before they returning to action on Tuesday night in Athens for a big time showdown with the Florida Gators.  Both Florida and Texas A&M lost today, putting UGA in a four-way tie for 4th place in the conference (with Vanderbilt being the other 7-5 team).

The contest with the Gators could have huge SEC and NCAA tournament ramifications.

 

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February 13, 2016 at 10:28 pm