Dawgs knocked out of NIT by Saint Mary’s

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.

No NCAA’s for Georgia, but the Dawgs do get an NIT bid

If Georgia was on the NCAA bubble heading into the Selection Sunday, they were on the very outer fringe of it.  The Dawgs, who just fell short of knocking off the Kentucky Wildcats yesterday, ultimately didn’t have enough quality wins to convince the committee to include them in the field of 68.

However, when one door closes, another one opens.  In this case, that other door is the NIT, where Georgia has been named a 3-seed, and they will play the sixth-seeded Belmont Bruins.  As the higher seed, the Dawgs will take on the Bruins in Athens on Wednesday night.

Belmont won the regular season Ohio Valley Conference title, but the Bruins were knocked out of their league tournament, which shut the door on any aspirations that they might have held in regards to dancing.  At quick glance, the main thing that jumps out off the Bruins’ stat sheet is their proclivity to knock down three’s – Belmont made over 36% of its attempts from beyond the arc this season.

Both teams share a common opponent – Murray State- whom they each beat on their respective home courts.

I am definitely curious as to what Georgia’s mindset will be heading into this game.  Not making the NCAA Tournament has to be a tough pill for this UGA team to swallow, especially for the two seniors.  What will UGA’s mentality be on Tuesday evening, just days removed from the loss in Nashville and the letdown this afternoon?

 

Georgia comeback falls short as Dawgs lose to Gophers in NIT

If only the Georgia Bulldogs could have just pressed the reset on the first half of today’s game with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, maybe they would have avoided their second loss in the preseason NIT.

Before the break, UGA committed 15 of its season-high 18 turnovers, which allowed the Gophers to take a 37-25 lead into the intermission.  Georgia was flustered early with Minnesota’s full court pressure, and they looked like they were rushing on offense for much of the game’s first 20 minutes.

There wasn’t any reset button though, and the Dawgs spent the entire second half trying to dig themselves out of the hole that they had created – which they nearly did.  Despite the fact that Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines combined for only 4 points on the night, UGA trimmed the Minnesota advantage to 65-62 following a three-pointer from J.J. Frazier.  But a free throw on the other end for the Gophers coupled with a missed three from Juwan Parker resulted in Minnesota sealing the 66-62 win.

Charles Mann had a really tough game, scoring zero points and committing 4 turnovers in the first half.  He must have gotten in the doghouse with Coach Fox at the half because he only saw the floor for 4 minutes after the break, and that was only because Kenny Gaines went out for a spell with a neck injury.

With Mann out, J.J. Frazier stepped up and played admirably, scoring 12 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists.  Even more importantly, the sophomore point guard did not give the ball away once.

Marcus Thornton recorded another double-double, scoring 14 points and snagging 10 rebounds, and freshman Yante Maten chipped in another 12 points.

Other than the turnovers, another major difference in this contest came from the perimeter, where Minnesota knocked down 10 three-pointers to Georgia’s 3.  The Dawgs connected on only 21% of their shots from the outside today, and they are now barely above 25% from beyond the arc as a team this season.  If UGA cannot locate its three-point shot, they are going to have some serious trouble putting up points this season.

While it definitely stings for Georgia to leave New York completely empty-handed, it should be noted that this is a descent Minnesota team, picked by many to finish 7th in the Big Ten this year – a team that could very well sneak into this season’s NCAA Tournament.

Coach Mark Fox’s team must regroup quickly before embarking on a road trip to Chattanooga next Tuesday to play the Mocks, a team that Fox Sports suggested could challenge for the SoCon title this year.

Dawgs fall to LA Tech in second round of NIT

The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs looked primed and ready for the early tipoff in Athens this morning, while Georgia appeared hungover.

Tech’s pressure overwhelmed the Dawgs from the opening tip, forcing UGA into 4 turnovers before the game was 3 minutes old. In addition to the stingy defense, LA Tech was on fire from the outside, connecting on 7 of its first 8 three-pointers, allowing the other Bulldogs to open up a 39-13 advantage with 7:27 left before the intermission.

Georgia was completely overmatched to start the game, unable to slow down Louisiana Tech’s onslaught.

The Dawgs did manage to cut the lead to 19 points heading into the break, but the initial pummeling that Georgia took at the beginning of the game ended up being too much to overcome.

UGA was less careless with the basketball in the game’s final 20 minutes and LA Tech cooled off a bit, but the hole that Georgia dug for itself was just too deep.

The Dawgs gave the home crowd a glimmer of hope when they trimmed the LA Tech advantage to 62-54 with 6:06 remaining in the game after a three-pointer from Kenny Gaines. However, the other Bulldogs quickly quieted Stegeman Coliseum by going on a 7-2 run which was capped off by a Kenny Smith three, making it 69-56 with just 2:40 left.

LA Tech would go on to win 79-71, and the UGA season came to an abrupt end at about 1 o’clock in the afternoon.

Georgia’s 19 turnovers led to 17 points for Tech, and 16 of those came in the first half.

Charles Mann, who finished with 13 points and 6 rebounds, unfortunately committed another 7 turnovers, matching his total from the first-round game against Vermont.

Freshman J.J. Frazier paced the Dawgs offensively, scoring a career-high 15 points, including a 4 for 7 performance from beyond the arc.

Today’s loss puts UGA’s record for the season at 20-14, which is certainly better than most anticipated coming into the 2013-2014 season.

While Georgia certainly overachieved this year, for whatever reason, this team did not appear to be that interested in being a part of the NIT. The Dawgs needed a late second-half comeback to beat a less talented Vermont team at home in the opening round. This morning, UGA turned in maybe its worst first half of the season.

Some teams use the postseason NIT as an opportunity to tack on some additional wins in the hopes that it builds momentum going into the next season.

That did not happen for Georgia.

Dawgs fans should feel optimistic about next year’s basketball season, but the sleepy performances that UGA provided in its two NIT games felt a little too similar to the games Georgia played back in November to start the season.

If the Dawgs hope to be closer to the NCAA bubble next March, they must find a way to avoid these lackadaisical games going forward.

Georgia escapes Vermont in the first round of the NIT

Georgia appeared dead in the water after Sandro Carissimo – who led Vermont with 11 points – hit a jumper to put his Vermont team up 52-45 with just 6:30 left in the game.

The Dawgs had relinquished a 29-20 halftime advantage, and they looked as if they had no interest in defending the perimeter.

Charles Mann, however, had other plans, scoring 11 of his career-high 29 points in the game’s final minutes, helping his Bulldog team finish the game on an 18-4 run en route to the 63-56 victory.

Vermont could not handle Mann, allowing the sophomore to get to the rim at will.  

Marcus Thornton chipped in 16 points, which gave him and Mann a combined 45 of the team’s 63 points on the night.

UGA’s biggest problem in this game was itself as the Dawgs committed 22 turnovers against the Catamounts.  Charles Mann may have netted 29 points this evening, but he also carried the turnover load as well by giving the ball to Vermont a team-high 7 times.

Georgia escaped tonight’s game against Vermont by mostly relying on its athleticism.

Unfortunately for UGA, Georgia’s next opponent in the NIT – 3-seed Louisiana Tech – is far more athletic than Vermont and the other Bulldogs tend to play the game at a more uptempo pace. 

The Dawgs will need to be less careless with the ball against LaTech of they hope to keep playing in this tournament.

 

Georgia receives NIT bid, set to play Vermont

It appears that the Georgia Bulldogs (19-13) basketball season will continue as the Dawgs were selected to play in this year’s National Invitational Tournament (N.I.T.).

UGA received the 2-seed and the Dawgs should host (since they are the higher seed) Wednesday’s game against the Vermont Catamounts, a team that finished the year 22-10 overall and 15-1 in the American East Conference. Vermont was the top seed in its conference tournament, but the Catamounts were ousted in the semifinals by Albany.

Other than Donte Williams and Marcus Thornton, Wednesday’s game will be the first postseason experience for this young Georgia team.

Georgia basketball adding some games

The Georgia Bulldogs Men’s basketball team will open up the 2012-2013 season against the Jacksonville University Dolphins on Friday November 9th in Athens.  The Dolphins, who hail from the Atlantic Sun conference, finished last year with an 8-22 record.

Looking ahead to 2014, it appears that the Dawgs will play in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Season Tip-Off, a 16-team tournament that was won last season by Syracuse.

The game with Jacksonville should serve as a nice warm-up for Georgia before they begin play in the 2012 Legends Classic.  The Dawgs will serve as one of the regional hosts for this prestigious tournament along with Georgetown, Indiana and UCLA.  The championship double-headers will be played on November 19-20 at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Coach Mark Fox’s team could see Tony Parker very early in the season – in a UCLA uniform.