Dawgs win second game in a row, improving to 2-1

On Friday night, the Georgia Bulldogs made the Troy Trojans look every bit the part of a team that was projected to finish near the bottom of the Sun Belt Conference this season.  The Dawgs got the ball to the rim just about any time they wanted, whether in the half court set or on the run, helping them cruise to an 82-60 home win.

The game was really only close for about the first seven minutes, which was due mainly to the fact that it began tied at zero.  Neme Djurisic, who finished with 17 points, put UGA up 22-11 on a three-pointer with 13:47 remaining in the first half. Several plays later, Marcus Thornton, who also netted 17, threw down a dunk that gave the Dawgs a 27-16 advantage; Georgia’s lead stayed above double-digits for the remainder of the game.

From the opening tip, Troy looked completely outmatched in this one.  The Trojans defense was just plain pitiful, allowing Georgia players to routinely coast towards the basket virtually uncontested.  Mark Fox’s team scored an unprecedented 56 points in the paint, nearly 70% of the team’s offense on the night.

The Bulldogs enjoyed their second consecutive game with balanced scoring as Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines added 14 and 12, respectively, to compliment Thornton and Djurisic’s offensive production.

The lone bright spot for Troy was Wesley Person, whose NBA lineage includes his father Wesley Person, Sr., and his uncle Chuck Person, also known as “The Rifleman”.  Against the Dawgs, Junior led his team with 20 points in the losing effort.

I will say that while it is sometimes difficult to judge the level of play of a team when going against a lesser opponent, Georgia’s defense did look quite stifling tonight.  The Dawgs were quick to collapse on the ball when it got into the post, and they held Troy to under 37% for the game from the floor.  In addition, UGA snagged 43 boards to go along with 11 steals and 9 blocks.

The Dawgs have a game this Sunday against Florida Atlantic before they prepare for a big time showdown with the Gonzaga Bulldogs in Madison Square Arena next week.

Georgia edges out UNC-Pembroke 81-69 at home in Athens

The Georgia Bulldogs won their exhibition game on Monday night in Athens over the UNC-Pembroke Braves, but the game was probably a bit tighter than Coach Mark Fox and his staff might have preferred considering that the Dawgs were taking on a Division II opponent. While Georgia did manage to pull away late in the second half, UGA actually trailed at times during this game, including after the break.

Three takeaways from the game:

Georgia’s backcourt will be its strength

Not that this prediction is profound or original, but from what I saw in tonight’s game it appears that both Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines seem poised to take on larger offensive roles this season. Each of these guards finished in double-figures with Mann leading all UGA scorers with a team-high 18 points. Mann looked very comfortable running the Bulldog offense, and he had no problems penetrating and getting a majority of his shots close to the rim.

The Dawgs must have better ball security

Coach Fox’s team looked sloppy from the get-go in this game, committing double-digit turnovers and keeping the Braves in the game via UGA errors. I understand that this game represented Georgia’s first live competition of the season, but no way should an SEC team be as weak with the ball as Georgia was against a D-II opponent.

Cameron Forte will be starting soon

The JUCO transfer from Arizona looked like Georgia’s best big in his first action as a Georgia Bulldog. Forte showed the ability to take defenders off the dribble, and he seems to have an uncanny knack to be around the basketball when it is near the rim. Forte finished the game in double-digits, and I look for him to only improve as he gets more comfortable working in Coach Fox’s offense as the season progresses.

If anyone else caught this game let us know your thoughts below…

Top 30 College Basketball Breakout Players

Georgia Bulldog basketball fans may have been shocked to see the Dawgs receiving two votes in the season’s first Coaches’ Poll.

However, this piece of news may come as an even bigger surprise: Nemanja Djurisic was named to CBS Sportsline’s list of 30 potential breakout players for the upcoming season.

According to Jeff Goodman, one of the network’s college basketball insiders, Neme has the tools to make a serious impact on this year’s Bulldog basketball team:

“The skilled forward from Montenegro came on late last season, but put up mediocre numbers as a freshman at 7.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Look for him to be a major part of Mark Fox’s offense this year, along with Kentavious Pope-Caldwell.”

I’m confused by Goodman’s use of the word “mediocre” to describe Neme’s freshman season (7 points/4 boards per game seems pretty respectable for a frosh in the SEC), but I appreciate his optimism in regards to the Montegro Express’s second year in Athens.

Hopefully Georgia can continue to accrue national media attention as the season draws ever nearer.

Ebuka Anyaorah Transferring

ebuka anyaohora
EA won't be wearing red and black next season

Georgia Bulldog guard Ebuka Anyaorah aka “EA” has received a release from his scholarship and will transfer to another school in search of more playing time.

I guess that means that EA wants to be a starter, which would most likely not be the case were he to return to Mark Fox’s Dawgs team next year.

If you were to merely look at his stat line from last season – 10.5 minutes, 2.7 points, 1.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists – you might think, “So what?”.

However, if you watched this team play last year you would have seen that EA provided Mark Fox with quality minutes off the bench as a freshman.  Anyaorah is a very good athlete with a nice shooting touch, canning nearly 35% of his attempts from beyond the arc last season.

If I were to take a wild guess at the Dawgs starting five going into the 2010-2011 season, it might look something like this:

G – Gerald Robinson, Jr.

G- Dustin Ware

G/F – Travis Leslie

F – Howard Thompkins, III

C – Jeremy Price

There is no way EA was going to work his way into the starting rotation.  However, he and point guard Vincent Williams are the only guards on Fox’s team with SEC game experience under their belts going into next season.

Granted, the Dawgs beefed up their backcourt this off-season with the signing of Sherrard Brantley, a sharp-shooting athletic two-guard from Northwest Florida Community College.  I do think that Brantley will be a good player for Georgia, but the SEC is quite a few rungs up the ladder from the land of JUCO’s and community colleges.  Sometimes it’s nice to have a little experience on your roster going into a season, and that’s what Anyaorah would have provided (along with some extra depth at the guard position).

Do I think that losing EA will dash the Dawg’s hopes of contending for the SEC East and potentially reaching next year’s NCAA Tournament?  No.

But I do think that Georgia would have been a better team next season with EA on the roster.