Georgia Hosts High Point Tuesday Night 7PM

The Georgia Bulldogs (7-2) will take on the High Point Panthers (5-4) on Tuesday night in Athens, GA.

According to Rivals.com in this year’s preview of the Big South Conference, the Panthers “could be sleepers in the league race.”  High Point was projected to finish 5th in the conference, however, they are currently tied with Liberty for first with a 2-0 record in league play.

The heart and soul of this High Point team is its backcourt, led by preseason Big South Player of the Year Nick Barbour.  Barbour, a junior guard named to the All-League First Team, is a streaky shooter that is currently leading his team in scoring with 16.8 points per game.  He is not afraid to shoot it either, averaging nearly six three-point attempts a night while connecting on 31.3% of them.

Joining Barbour in the backcourt is fellow junior Shay Shine, who is the only other Panther scoring in double-figures at 12.9 points per game.  Shine is freakishly athletic – check out this dunk from a game earlier this season – and will definitely provide a challenge for Georgia guard Dustin Ware.

The Panthers do not start a player over 6’6″, and other than 6’8″ freshman Travis Elliott (12 minutes per game) they do not have anyone coming off the bench over 6’6″ either.  This lack of size on the inside has caused problems for the Panthers – in their four losses this season, they have posted a -7.25 rebounding margin.

When High Point gets killed on the glass, they get killed on the scoreboard as well.

Enter Stage Right:  Trey Thompkins (6’9″ 247 lbs), Jeremy Price (6’8″ 264lbs) and Chris Barnes (6’8″ 240lbs).

Mark Fox has 751 lbs of power forward at his disposal to unleash against this smaller High Point team.

Barnes is coming off one of his best games as a Bulldog, pouring in 12 points on 5 of 6 shooting from the floor in Georgia‘s win over Arkansas State last Saturday.  He looked very strong in the paint on offense, establishing great interior position and getting most of his shots right under the basket.

Trey Thompkins should have a mismatch at just about every moment on offense in this game.

If High Point comes out in a man defense, Gerald Robinson, Jr. and Dustin Ware should be prepared to feed their bigs the ball inside as much as possible.

If the Panthers show Georgia a 2-3 zone (which they may given their size disadvantage), GR2, Ware and Sherrard Brantley need to be ready to knock down open looks – this could open things up on the inside as well.

It all sounds so simple.

How well will the Dawgs execute?

Geogia Holds On for 68-59 Win Over Arkansas State

The Georgia Bulldogs (7-2) built up a 19-point lead over the Arkansas State Red Wolves (3-7) with 7:35 remaining in the game following a Trey Thompkins jumper.

But the end of this game was anything but smooth sailing.

The Dawgs had to withstand a furious 17-5 Arkansas State run that got the game as close 66-59 with 1:34 left before holding on to close out the game.

Red Wolf senior guard Donald Boone had only 2 points after 33 minutes of play, but quickly caught fire and buried four three-pointers during his team’s late push.  Boone finished the game with a team-high 14 points, 12 of which came in the second half.

Georgia got out to a slow start (as might be expected after an 11-day break from the hardwood), but they were able to build up a 36-27 lead going into the break.  The Dawgs looked pretty solid for the game’s first 30+ minutes, especially on offense where they shot nearly 52% from the field as a team.

The offense today might have looked the best it has all season, with Georgia racking up 20 assists to just 12 turnovers – the Dawgs‘ passing was superb.  Dustin Ware (7 assists) and Gerald Robinson, Jr. (4 assists) both did a great job of feeding the ball inside and hitting the cutters coming down the middle of the lane.  The official statistics only had Trey Thompkins down for one assist, but I could have sworn he had at least two on entry passes to fellow big Chris Barnes…I could be wrong though.

Though Thompkins led the Dawgs in scoring with 15 points, I felt like this was one of the better games that Chris Barnes has had as a Bulldog, thus making him worthy of the “Player of the Game” award (no hardware included).  Barnes finished with 12 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 monster block late in the second half against ASU big Martavius Adams – Chris was just reminding Adams (a Georgia native) how not to take the ball to the basket when in the state of Georgia.  Barnes did a great job of asserting himself on offense by establishing great position near the basket, connecting on 5 of his 6 field goal attempts.

It was nice to see Travis Leslie getting back into an offensive rhythm, especially in a game that was played at a fairly slow tempo.  Leslie finished the game with 14 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the field – none of which were dunks.  He was scoring on mid-range jump and turn-around shots – he did a nice job of letting the game come to him.  Leslie led the Dawgs in with a team-high 8 rebounds, and he also chipped in 3 assists.

Georgia’s trio of bigs – Thompkins, Price and Barnes – defended Martavius Adams beautifully on Saturday, limiting him to just 9 points on 2 of 8 shooting from the floor.  Adams never really looked comfortable on the block all game, and I credit that to the efforts by the Georgia’s defenders.

And finally, I was pleasantly surprised by the fan turnout for this game considering the early holiday tip-off time.  I think the official attendance was listed at just over 6,000 people, which isn’t anywhere close to full, but certainly not too shabby.

Did anyone else go to or watch the game?  Any thoughts?