Georgia hangs on to beat High Point

Mark Fox’s team took a page out of the UGA football playbook tonight in Athens, proving that games can in fact be won with little to no offense.

The Dawgs (2-1) surged to a 33-22 halftime lead, riding a 14-5 run into the locker room.

However, Georgia forgot to bring its offense back out for the final twenty minutes.  The Dawgs went for nearly 15 minutes without a field goal during the second half before Kenny Gaines knocked down a jumper with 2:35 remaining.  The damage was done, though, as the UGA drought allowed High Point to erase Georgia’s double-digit lead.

High Point had a shot at tying the game on the final possession, but neither of Anthony Lindauer’s three-point attempts went in, giving UGA the 49-46 home win.

J.J. Frazier and Charles Mann, who both played otherwise underwhelming games tonight, both made key baskets for the Dawgs in the final minute of this contest.  Frazier hit an off-balanced jumper as the shot clock was winding down to put his team up by three with just 28 seconds remaining, and Mann knocked down a pair of free throws that again gave Georgia a three-point advantage with only 11 ticks left on the clock.

Mann was just 2 for 7 from the floor, but he shot a perfect 8 for 8 from the stripe as he led all UGA scorers with 13 points.

Frazier followed up his 1 for 11 shooting performance against Murray State with a 3 for 10 effort this evening, although he did manage 8 rebounds to go along with his 10 points.

The most curious aspect of the Dawgs’s offensive strategy in this contest was the limited number of shots that Kenny Gaines was afforded.  After scoring a career-high 35 points last Friday against the Racers, Gaines took just 8 shots against High Point; he did make 4 of those attempts en route to 12 points.

Coach Fox’s team shot under 30% from the floor as a team for the second straight game, but luckily they held the Panthers under 30% as well.  The Dawgs defended John Brown very well, limiting him to just 11 points, which is 9 below his season average.

Though it wasn’t the prettiest 40 minutes of basketball ever played inside Stegeman Coliseum, the bottom line is that Georgia found a way to win against a solid mid-major opponent.  The Dawgs have a tough road test looming this Saturday when they travel north for a date with Seton Hall, and that game would have had much more a desperate feel had UGA been upended at home this evening.

 

Dawgs should get another tough test from High Point

Georgia’s string of consecutive games against quality mid-major opponents will continue on Wednesday when the Dawgs host the High Point Panthers.

UGA began the season with an overtime loss to Chattanooga, a media favorite in the preseason SoCon standings.  A week after taking down the Dawgs, the Mocs went up to Champaign and took down Illinois 81-77. Chatt picked up its first loss of the season last night following an 83-63 drubbing from #4 Iowa State.

Georgia’s first win of the season came last Friday over the Murray State Racers (3-1), a team that ESPN projected to win the Ohio Valley Conference this season.

Now, enter High Point, a team that many in the media predicted would win the Big South Conference this year.  The Panthers, who return three starters, including hyper-athletic senior John Brown, have either won or shared the conference title over the past three seasons.

According to an NBC Sports College Basketball analyst, High Point is the favorite to win the Big South:

“In my mind, it would probably be High Point. There will be several teams that have really good players back, but High Point has several really good players back and John Brown has been one of the top players in the league for the last three years.”

Picked for the fourth time as the conference’s Preseason Player of the Year, here is NBC Sports’s depiction of Brown:

“I’d say John Brown should be the favorite for preseason player of the year. There are a lot of good ones, but he’s definitely been really good for a long period of time. I think it starts with his motor and how hard he competes and how physical he is. He just stays after it every possession. He really plays so hard on both ends. He’s great at working at working on catching the ball at the rim and using his size and athleticism to score in the paint. Then he’ll get stuff in transition and on the offensive glass. He’s a monster.”

CBS Sports deemed Brown the #1 dunker in college basketball for 2015:

Georgia could definitely use the services of freshman center Derek Ogbeide in its efforts to contain Brown on Wednesday.  Ogbeide, who has missed the first two games of the season with a shoulder injury, was a “game time” decision against Murray, so he must be getting closer to returning.

John Brown and his Panthers will view Georgia as a potential NCAA Tournament resume-builder, and the Dawgs should expect an intense effort from their opposition on Wednesday.