Posts Tagged ‘Dawgs’
They double-teamed him. They threw junk traps at him when he crossed half court. At times, Alabama even had a defender completely face guarding him without any help responsibility. Tide coach Avery Johnson threw the kitchen sink at Georgia’s J.J. Frazier, and in the end, none of it worked. Frazier scored 11 of Georgia’s final 12 points and helped guide his team to a 60-55 road win over an Alabama team that is trying to position itself for an at-large NCAA tournament bid.
J.J. seems to be saving his best basketball for the finish of his UGA career as he followed up last Saturday’s 36-point effort in the loss to Kentucky with a 28-point game tonight in Tuscaloosa. Frazier once again put the Dawgs on his back and dropped 17 points in the second half, but one play in particular truly typified the toughness and fight that he brings to this team, night in, night out. With over 4 minutes left in the game, Alabama took a Derek Ogbeide miss and quickly pushed it up the floor with a chance to take its first lead of the night, only to have Frazier chase down point guard Dazon Ingram and strip the ball away. J.J. then jetted past the lone Tide defender and soared for the basket, which pushed the UGA advantage up to 54-51. Just when Alabama appeared poised to take control of the game’s momentum, Frazier masterfully stole it right back.
While J.J. was certainly fantastic in this contest, Georgia definitely missed Maten inside. After opening up a 30-18 halftime lead in which the Crimson Tide shot an abysmal 22% from the floor, Georgia’s failure to handle its business on the defensive glass allowed the Crimson Tide to creep back into the game. Alabama ended up with 17 offensive rebounds, which is 3 more than their SEC average, and they scored 17 of their 55 points off of second chance points. In contrast, the Dawgs managed to grab only 3 offensive boards, and they were out-rebounded by a count of 42-30.
Even though Bama has been one of the more inept offensive teams in conference play, credit the Bulldogs for holding them to 16 points under their SEC game average. The Tide had two stretches in the first half – one of 7 minutes and one of 5 – in which they were unable to convert a field goal.
For UGA, Frazier was the only player to finish in double-figures, while the Tide had three guys end up in double-digits, with Ar’Mond Davis leading the way with 17 points.
Ultimately, Coach Mark Fox’s team has to be breathing a huge sigh of relief as they avoided losing their 5th conference game this year in which the Dawgs held a lead in the final 4 minutes of the game. In addition, Georgia proved that while it will certainly be more difficult, they are capable of winning without Yante Maten.
The Dawgs have a super short turnaround before returning home to play the LSU Tigers in Athens on Saturday evening.
Last night’s contest with Mississippi State had trap game written all over it. Sandwiched right in between last Saturday’s thrilling comeback over Tennessee and next Saturday’s showdown with SEC monster Kentucky was an unassuming matchup with another team brandishing a 5-7 conference record.
For the first twenty minutes of this one, Georgia looked as if they just weren’t all there. On offense, UGA clunked and clanked around the court as they turned the ball over 9 times and mustered a subpar 25% shooting percentage from the floor. J.J. Frazier, the hero from the game in Knoxville, went the whole half without a field goal, and his teammate, Yante Maten, managed only one himself. Defensively, the Dawgs played as if they hadn’t been made aware in the film room that the Maroon Dawgs could be dangerous from the perimeter. Missy State came into this game making 8 three-pointers a night in SEC games, yet by the intermission they already had connected on 6 of them.
Fortunately, somebody got the team some 5-hour energy at the break, and they actually came out of the locker room with a little poise. J.J. Frazier began to push the tempo more on offense, and the Dawgs went on a 12-3 run to start that half that erased the Maroon Dawgs 32-28 halftime advantage and gave Georgia a 40-35 lead after just 5 minutes of play.
The UGA offense snapped out of its funk and much of that had to do with Frazier, who started to resemble the player who dropped 29 points in Knoxville just a few days earlier. Frazier scored all 17 of his points last night in the final twenty minutes, 9 of which came off of three-pointers. Yante Maten took over in the paint, scoring 15 of his game-high 24 points following the intermission, and he snagged 5 more boards to give him 9 on the evening, just missing another double-double. As a team, UGA hit 67% from the floor over the game’s final twenty minutes of play as the Dawgs improved their shot selection as a team.
This game was actually tied at 54 apiece with 6:30 left, but UGA went on a critical 8-0 run that was capped off by a pair of free throws from Maten that saw Georgia take a 62-54 lead with just over 4:06 remaining. This stretch of game turned out to be too much for the Maroon Dogs to overcome as they couldn’t close the gap on UGA, and Mark Fox’s team earned the 79-72 home victory, which marked the Dawgs first SEC win streak since early January.
The offense wasn’t the only thing that underwent a metamorphosis after the break. Following the intermission, Georgia guarded much tighter on the perimeter and held MSU to just 3 second half buckets from beyond the arc. The UGA bigs played strong as well, holding the Missy State starting posts to just a 1 for 5 effort from the floor. Both Maten and Derek Ogbeide played incredibly sound post defense as they stayed on the floor and forced the MSU bigs to try to shoot over them.
The unsung heroes of this game for Georgia had to be Juwan Parker and E’Torrian Wilridge. Parker, who has officially brought the midrange jumper back to college basketball, quietly put together a 16-point effort after turning the ball over twice in the game’s first 4 minutes, and if his shot hadn’t been on last night then this contest could have easily turned out differently.
Wilridge seemed to benefit from the “first career start” mojo that Tyree Crump enjoyed on Saturday in Knoxville when he dropped 13 points on the Vols (Crump only played 5 minutes last night, which is certainly a head scratcher). On Tuesday, Wilridge earned Fox’s token start, and he did not disappoint as he peppered the stat sheet with 5 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a block. Three of his assists came during that 8-0 run that knocked the life out of MSU as Wilridge consistently got the ball inside to a cutting Maten.
With 47 seconds left on the clock and Georgia leading by just 2 points, J.J. Frazier hoisted the Georgia Bulldogs onto his shoulders and found a way to notch an old-fashioned three-point play to ice the game. Frazier’s converted free throw made it 76-71 Dawgs with only 21 ticks left, and Georgia ended up sneaking out of Knoxville with a 76-75 road win.
The enormity of this victory for an ailing basketball program is almost impossible to put into words. Let me set the scene: Georgia’s star player and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award finalist, Yante Maten, hardly played in the second half, and he fouled out on a questionable offensive foul with over 5 minutes remaining in the game. For all intents and purposes, Georgia was down for the count. Except they weren’t. Tyree Crump, who garnered his first start of the season, scored 8 points during the final stretch of this contest, including a three-pointer that bolstered the UGA lead to 70-64 with just 2:26 left.
Tennessee brutalized Georgia to start the second half, going on a 17-5 run that saw the Vols open up a 53-39 advantage. The manner in which Tennessee scored during this stretch should have demoralized UGA as the Vols pounded the ball inside possession after possession. Yet for some reason, the Dawgs remained unfazed. Frazier scored 7 of his game-high 29 points during a critical 12-2 Georgia run that cut the UT lead down to 55-51.
The Dawgs absorbed a 30-point effort from freshman sensation Grant Williams. Only one other Tennessee player finished in double-figures.
Similarly, UGA had just one player besides J.J. Frazier – Tyree Crump – end up in double-digits. Crump scored a season-high (against Division I teams) of 13 points, and most of them came during the final quarter of this contest.
This win came out of nowhere, and while it is incredibly satisfying for Georgia basketball fans, it will surely leave many with a series of “what if” questions. What if the Dawgs didn’t melt down at Texas A&M? What if J.J. hit those last second shots against Florida and Kentucky?
For tonight, though, UGA fans should simply enjoy this win.
The Georgia Bulldogs are 3-0 and sitting atop of the conference standings, and if they continue to play at this level they have a real shot at earning an automatic bid to this year’s NCAA tournament.
If only the Dawgs played in the Big South Conference then everything in my opening statement would be true. Georgia has played three teams from the Big South this year – UNC-Asheville, Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern – and they trashed all of them. Sure, the Garder-Webb game was close at the half (UGA held a 3 point lead), but the Dawgs ended up coasting to a 77-59 win. Georgia easily bested UNC-Asheville, who is currently in first place in the league with an 11-2 record. Who’s to say that UGA couldn’t amass a similar or even better record if they were playing a Big South slate of games?
All of this is obviously parody, or maybe fantasy? The reality is Georgia is stuck in the SEC where they are 4-7 and in the midst of a five-game losing streak in conference games. Even though the Dawgs play in a Power 5 conference, they look a lot more like a mid-major, which is kind of sad considering they have two preseason All-SEC players on the roster.
But other than Yante Maten and J.J. Frazier, this Georgia team doesn’t have the type of talent you expect from a Power 5 school. Juwan Parker would be a solid 6th man on a lot of quality teams, but the third scoring option? Parker, who at 6’3″ is grossly undersized for the wing position, is shooting less than 38% from the floor and below 18% from beyond the arc, yet he has taken the third most shots on the team.
I love Derek Ogbeide’s effort on defense. He is a committed rebounder and a shot-blocking threat. But his offensive game is not where it needs to be at this point. Ogbeide has essentially one move that he does nearly every time he gets a touch on the block: turn left, hook shot. And SEC teams have begun to take notice. Several times against Florida on Tuesday, the Gator defender overplayed Ogbeide so much to the left that it appeared that he was gifting him the right side of the basket, but Derek didn’t bite and still went left.
It’s too early to make assumptions on Jordan Harris and Tyree Crump. As highly-touted recruits, both players are capable of making tremendous jumps between their freshman and sophomore years, especially Harris since he actually gets regular court time.
But what about the rest of UGA’s cast? Guys like Turtle Jackson, Mike Edwards, Houston Kessler, Kenny Paul Geno, E’Torrion Wilridge. How successful would those guys be in the Big South? All of them get regular minutes on Coach Fox’s team, but none of them is the least bit dangerous with the ball in their hands, which gives opposing defenses an incredible advantage over Georgia, especially when more than one of them is on the court at once. At times this year, J.J. Frazier has appeared to be pushing it a bit and maybe taking some shots that he shouldn’t. But when Maten is on the bench, can you really blame him?
I’m not trying to slam any of these guys. I realize that they are just college kids that were offered an opportunity to play for UGA and they took it. The fact that they might be in over their heads is not their fault; it’s Mark Fox’s.
In year eight of his ten-year plan, this is the team that Fox has assembled. They turn the ball over a lot (more than 14 a game) and they do not shoot well from the outside (281st in the nation in 3PT%). Apparently, both of these aforementioned reasons have Fox indicating that it’s time to slow things down. I guess I need to pop over to Jittery Joe’s before the game today because seeing this team play any slower is going to potentially put me into nap mode.
Going slow is definitely an option that a coach has when his team has a talent deficit compared to their opponent, which has been the case for Georgia in most SEC games this year. But he also has the choice to speed things up a bit. Turtle, Edwards and Wilridge might not put the fear of God into too many defenders, but they are all long players that are highly athletic. When Maten is out of the game, why not utilize their main collective strength and put them in a full-court trap press, similar to the one that Texas A&M ran. Sorry, too soon?
Anyhow, imagine Edwards guarding the ball and then trapping with either Turtle or Wilridge (or Parker or Geno for that matter), depending on which side the ball goes. Presses can create offensive opportunities for stagnant offenses, yet Georgia barely ever does it.
The Dawgs have one and a half outside shooting threats and only two guys who can create their own shot. But they do have some athletes, and athletes can put pressure on ball handlers in the open court.
Mark Fox had to be experiencing déjà vu inside of Stegeman Coliseum this evening. In the loss to South Carolina last Saturday, Georgia’s offense went over 8 minutes without a field goal; this evening, the Dawgs pulled a similar disappearing act, going more than 6 minutes without a bucket from the floor. By the time Yante Maten finished an open dunk inside to end the drought, UGA (13-11, 4-7) trailed 63-52 with only 3:50 remaining, and the Dawgs would go on to lose 72-60.
But it wasn’t just poor shooting that did the Dawgs in on Tuesday evening. Believe it or not, this contest was actually close at times. With 16:00 left in the game, Florida held a slim 41-38 advantage. Mark Fox’s team got careless, though, and turned the ball over on the next three possessions, which enabled the Gators to push the lead to 48-40 during a critical stretch of this game.
On the night, Georgia gave the ball away 16 times, and depending on how some other SEC games shake out this week, UGA could be leading the conference in giveaways by the weekend. To make matters worse, Florida was opportunistic this evening, converting those Georgia TOs into 18 points. Yante Maten carried the torch with 5 turnovers as he had trouble protecting the ball inside against multiple Florida defenders. Jordan Harris gave the ball over 3 times himself, and he continues to get it stripped easily from his hands when he attempts to drive the ball at the defense.
Georgia struggled tonight offensively against a Florida team that is second in conference play in team defense, holding opponents to just 66 points a night. The Gators are bigger and more athletic than UGA, and every time Yante Maten touched the ball inside the Florida zone collapsed on him. Maten finished with 19 points and J.J. Frazier chipped in 18, but for the most part the Dawgs were stymied when they had the ball. Georgia’s lack of shooters always becomes painfully apparent when they are playing strong defensive units that can overplay Maten and Frazier. The Dawgs hit only 33% of their shots as a team, but everyone not named Maten or Frazier shot a collective 26% on the night.
Florida overwhelmed Georgia quickly at the start of this one as they jumped out to a 30-14 lead. The Dawgs, though, responded with a 15-0 run of their own to cut the Gators’ advantage down to 30-29. Florida went without a field goal for nearly 8 minutes of play during the latter portion of the first half, but Kasey Hill broke the spell by hitting a jumper with 1:45 left, which gave the Gators a 35-33 lead that they would take into the intermission.
Other than this stretch of play in the first half, UGA for much of the night had trouble handling Florida on defense. The Gators’ backup point guard, Chris Chiozza, was a matchup nightmare for the Dawgs as he knifed into the middle of the lane whenever he wanted. Chiozza led all Florida scorers with 15 points to go along with 4 steals, and he was one of four Gators to finish the game in double-figures.
These two teams played a tightly contested game and went to overtime a month ago in Gainesville, but it was pretty clear tonight that one team is trending upward and in the right direction, and the other team is Georgia.
Now the really bad news. This loss marks the first time in Fox’s career that he has dropped 5 consecutive SEC games. Furthermore, UGA has yet to earn a conference win against a team with a winning record in league play. Georgia is 0-7 against what ESPN deems the RPI Top 50, and the Dawgs have now lost 22 straight games over the past five seasons to teams in ESPN’s RPI Top 25.
A year ago the Georgia Bulldogs (13-10; 4-6) beat the South Carolina Gamecocks (19-4; 9-1) three times and knocked them out of contention for an NCAA tournament berth. Today, South Carolina returned the favor, besting the Dawgs 77-75 at the Columbia Life Center on Saturday afternoon. Any more talk of this Georgia team going to the Big Dance should be put on hold until UGA either wins 6 of its final 8 games, or a tornado is spotted approaching Nashville in early march for the SEC tournament.
Ultimately, Georgia was undone by one of its infamous offensive scoring droughts that have become a staple of Mark Fox’s teams over the past several seasons. Yante Maten scored a bucket to make it 51-50 Carolina with 11:23 remaining in the game, only to see his team go the next eight and a half minutes without a field goal. Juwan Parker hit a jumper with 2:50 left to snap the spell, but by then the Dawgs were still trailing 67-60. Frank Martin put his team into a zone defense during this brutal stretch, and Georgia struggled to adjust when they were no longer able to rely on the J.J. Frazier and Maten two-man game.
The Dawgs also struggled to protect the ball today as they turned it over 15 times with Frazier and Parker leading the way with 5 apiece. Granted, South Carolina is probably the best defensive team in the conference as they lead the SEC in defensive scoring (63), field goal percentage (39%) and three-point percentage (25%), but for UGA’s offense to completely stall over the final quarter of the game is inexcusable.
Defensively, the Bulldogs failed to close out effectively on the Gamecocks on the perimeter, where South Carolina connected on 11 of 24 from beyond the arc. The Dawgs once again began the game trying to play Carolina in man defense, and Sindarious Thornwell made them pay as he hit 3 three-pointers in less than 8 minutes to put his team up 14-11. In Athens last month, Georgia struggled to defend Thornwell and P.J. Dozier one-on-one due to their superior size over the UGA backcourt. Today, it wasn’t much different as Dozier and Thornwell torched Georgia for 21 and 18, respectively. When Georgia switched to its 2-3 match-up zone they were able to cover the perimeter better, but SC obviously still got theirs from the outside off of transition plays and offensive rebounds.
Georgia’s abysmal second half was a complete contrast to its first twenty minutes of play. Prior to the intermission, UGA’s offense was deliberate, pounding the ball inside to Maten, who was able to score 10 points and get both Carolina bigs Silva and Kotar in foul trouble with 2 each. However, all of that stopped following the intermission as Yante primarily saw double-teams with every touch and it became harder and harder for the guards to dump the ball inside.
The Dawgs were led by Maten and Frazier, who scored 18 apiece.
Georgia has now lost its last 4 SEC contests, and the going isn’t going to get anything but tougher heading into next week when UGA hosts #24 Florida on Tuesday night in Athens before heading to Knoxville next Saturday to take on Tennessee.
The Georgia Bulldogs (13-9) were a J.J. Frazier floater away from stunning the #8 Kentucky (18-4) Wildcats on their home floor and giving Coach Calipari his first ever three-game losing streak as the team’s skipper. But J.J.’s shot drew all glass (similarly to the Florida game) and sent the game into overtime, where the Dawgs simply ran out of magic. The Cats overpowered Georgia in the extra 5 minutes and snapped its two-game losing streak by pulling out the 90-81 home win.
What went well for Georgia…
The Dawgs were at their best at the beginning and end of regulation. Coach Mark Fox could not have scripted a better start for this game as his team jumped out to a 12-0 lead after barely 3 minutes of play. Kentucky came out and tried to play the Dawgs in man defense and that just didn’t work. Yante Maten scored the game’s first 7 points, and 4 of those came in the paint over the Cats’ Bam Adebayo. The Dawgs connected on 9 of their first 10 field goals and held a 19-5 lead with 14:07 left before the break.
UGA played equally strong over the latter stretch of regulation. With just 6:26 remaining and the Cats leading 66-58, the game started to feel as though it was slipping away for Georgia. But the Dawgs would not relent. Frazier scored 9 points over the last 6 minutes, making off-balanced lay ups and hitting an off the dribble three-pointer to bring his team within 2 points. Freshman Jordan Harris stepped up as well and made an old-fashioned three-point play and later hit a shot from beyond the arc with 1:56 left that actually put the Dawgs up 73-71.
What didn’t go well for Georgia…
Coach Cal realized quickly that his team was struggling to defend Georgia in man, so he switch them into zone so that the bigs could double down on Maten whenever he touched it in the paint. The result: Maten went scoreless over the final 18 minutes of play before the intermission and the Dawgs made only 3 of their final 15 shots from the floor. After scoring 12 points before Big Blue Nation could find its seats, Georgia managed just 17 points over the final 16:48 of the half.
UGA failed to limit Kentucky to just one shot for much of the night. Despite opening up a huge lead to begin the game, Georgia and Kentucky went into the break knotted up at 29 apiece because the Dawgs could not defensive rebound. The Cats shot just 29% from the floor before halftime, but thanks to 11 offensive boards that led to 13 second chance points, they were able to claw their way back into the game. Before it was all said and done, Kentucky would have 17 offensive rebounds and a whopping 24 second chance points.
Georgia’s matchup zone worked well for much of the night, but occasionally superstars just take over, and that’s exactly what happened inside Rupp Arena last evening. Malik Monk, who only scored 6 points prior to the intermission, scorched the Dawgs for 31 over the final 25 minutes of this one. Monk hit 7 three-pointers on the evening, many of which were with a hand in his face. And it was Monk who delivered the contested baseline jumper over the outstretched arms of Derek Ogbeide to tie the game at 76, which forced this contest into overtime.
The other Wildcat that UGA failed to corral was Isaiah Briscoe, who has to be one of the most physical guards in the country. Briscoe tirelessly pounded the ball inside and got himself to the line, where he scored 11 of his 23 points. In addition to the offense, the Cats’ point guard hauled in a team-high 11 rebounds. Ultimately, Monk and Briscoe were too much for Georgia to handle in Lexington, and I shudder to think of how UGA will match up with this Kentucky team when they come to Athens with the services of starter De’aaron Fox, who was out last night with a stomach bug.
Maten and Ogbeide played great, scoring 22 and 18, respectively. Ogbeide also snagged 13 boards en route to a double-double. These two dominated the inside on offense, and they really forced Calipari to change the way he wanted to defend the Dawgs.
Frazier had kind of a tough game until the final moments, but he did end up with a gutty 23 points, though it came at the expense of an 8 for 21 shooting effort.
But credit Coach Fox’s team for putting up a heck of a fight against a top 10 team in a building where they lost by 34 points a year ago.