My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Georgia-Kentucky hoops blog

Final: Georgia 77-70

There you go.

57.9 seconds left, Georgia leads 75-64

If somehow Kentucky comes back and wins I'll change this, but at this writing it appears Georgia is going to win this game. And what a big win it will be.

It's not a fluke, it's not last-second shot, or anything like that. Georgia has simply been the better team today.

Don't pencil the Bulldogs into the NCAA tournament quite yet, or crown them SEC East favorites. It's just the first league game. But it's a huge win for the team, perhaps even the program, and puts the Bulldogs on the course they need to be.

They should now be in the conversation with the rest of their powerful division.

3:14 left, Georgia leads 62-59

We're headed for a close finish here, which should be good news for a Georgia team that's played in almost nothing but close ones this season.

The even better news for UGA is that it has the lead entering the timeout, Gerald Robinson will be at the line and two of Kentucky's starters have four fouls. (That would be Terrence Jones and DeAndre Liggins.)

Free throws have been in Georgia's favor so far, as it's 18-for-21 and Kentucky is 9-for-15. The rebounding has also been above-average for the Bulldogs, particularly on the defensive end. And the Bulldogs did a good job of recovering after Kentucky's run.

But if the Bulldogs don't keep that up, and don't hold on in the final 3:14 here, they'll be thinking about this one for a long, long time. This one should be theirs to win.

7:53 left, Georgia leads 58-56

Briefly, Kentucky had its first lead, but Georgia got it back. Now we're in a timeout, and wondering if momentum has swung back in Georgia's favor, after a long Kentucky run.

Kentucky's Terrence Jones - who put Kentucky ahead with a three-point play - is back on the bench after picking up his fourth foul. It was a fortuitous fourth foul for Georgia: The officials, after catching heat from the crowd for an offensive foul against Georgia, let play continue after Kentucky's Doron Lamb was hammered attacking the basket. After the ensuing rebound, Jones was whistled.

And after a timeout, Dustin Ware drained a 3 to put Georgia back up.

Sequences like that are the kind of thing that don't happen for a road team. At Rupp, for instance, I'd bet Lamb would've been at the line. That's why home court matters, clearly.

13:21 left, Georgia leads 47-45

The Bulldogs weren't as crisp to start the second half, but it still took a few minutes for it to catch up to them.

Mark Fox just used a timeout after Kentucky got a layup to cut the lead down to two, the closest it's been since there was 7:02 left in the first half.

It's mostly been missed shots and poor defense for Georgia during the run, but it also had some careless turnovers throughout the half.

Georgia leads 41-30 at halftime

You can't help but be impressed.

Georgia takes a double-digit lead into halftime, and has looked every bit the team that hoped to take the next step this year. Now it needs to finish that way.

If the Bulldogs can hold on, this is their coming-out party, at least around the SEC and nationally. Kentucky may not be as stacked and as hyped as last year, but it's still ranked No. 10 and the favorite in the East.

Obviously, if Georgia continues its play into the second half - spreading the scoring around, playing solid defense, rebounding well - it will hold on. But the Bulldogs haven't played a complete 40 minutes in many games this year, so we'll have to see.

Kentucky has looked pretty sloppy at times, missing free throws and a few chippies around the basket. Terrence Jones, its second-leading scorer, also missed a good chunk of the half with foul trouble.

But make no mistake, this was Georgia's half, thanks to a team effort. Trey Thompkins had 14 points, Jeremy Price had five rebounds and Dustin Ware had four assists. Travis Leslie (eight points) and Gerald Robinson (nine points) also did their part, Marcus Thornton came off the bench to hit a well-timed 3, and Chris Barnes had some good minutes down low.

7:52 left in first half, Georgia leads 28-24

The Bulldogs have still never trailed, a fact that stands to change at some point, but every time Kentucky seems on the verge of a run, it gets stemmed.

It was 23-22 when Leslie, posting up near the lane, passed out to Ware, who drained a 3. Another basket extended the lead to six.

Still, Mark Fox isn't happy about, shedding his suit jacket after Kentucky's Doron Lamb was able to get an easy basket on a pass into an open lane. Fox doesn't show much outward anger with his team, which I find to be a pretty desirable trait in a basketball coach. He doesn't yell like a maniac, like a few coaches I've covered, but has other ways to get his point across.

11:23 left in first half, Georgia leads 18-15

Georgia has led the whole way so far, though it's been close and still is. But you have to like what you've seen so far from the Bulldogs, both in demeanor and production.

The Bulldogs seem to have a strong focus today, and aren't relying on the emotion of the game or the crowd. Travis Leslie just made a layup off a beautiful cut and pass from Jeremy Price near the top of the key. The Bulldogs' defense has been pretty solid, and the passing has been crisp. Not a slew of bad shots either.

As for Kentucky, John Calipari doesn't appear too happy with his team's play, particularly on the offensive end.

It's a pretty good atmosphere here, with loud cheers when either team score. As a Kentucky writer friend of mine pointed out, Stegeman can be a pretty good environment when it's packed. Too often, as we know, it's not close to that.

Mark Richt and a number of his assistants - Mike Bobo, Stacey Searels, Bryan McClendon, John Lilly and Rodney Garner - are taking the game in with recruits. They're sitting a bit to my left, so if for no reason I see all the coaches stand up and start celebrating, I'll try to find out which junior has told them he's coming back.

3:55 p.m.: Minutes until tip-off

I can honestly say this is the biggest crowd I've ever seen at Stegeman. Of course, I've only been the UGA beat writer for one season, and my previous trips here were to cover South Carolina-Georgia games. Still ...

While there's a substantial Kentucky presence, there's way more red and black in the arena. We may get a better feel when the game begins, but my estimate right now is a 75 percent pro-Bulldog crowd.

3:00 p.m.: Setting the scene.

It's a sellout here at Stegeman Coliseum. But that doesn't mean it'll be a massive home-court advantage for the Bulldogs.

There were a lot of blue-clad fans around Athens on Saturday afternoon, so I'd expect, as always, for Kentucky to have a healthy fan presence inside the arena.

And take the media representation as another example: Most of the heavy-hitters in the Kentucky media are here in Athens for the basketball game, rather than in Birmingham for the football team's bowl game. (Where, by the way, the Wildcats are not exactly doing the SEC proud.)

Meanwhile, you could argue that more Georgia fans are excited about football recruiting than they are this game. Not sure if that's absolutely true, but I do know that as I was leaving lunch, as I shouted "see you at the game" to my companions, a person passing by said, "What game?"


Anonymous said...

Why is this game not on tv, only on The wonder why uga fans don't care about basketball.

David Jones said...

If you live in Atlanta, it is on TV. Peachtree TV (the old TBS 17).

Anonymous said...

The Dawgs need this one, here's hoping they pull it out.

Anonymous said...

Thanks jones I found it

Anonymous said...

Where is Brantley

Anonymous said...

How bout them Dawgs!!!!!

Rick said...

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Fox was not happy with student section overrated
chant neither was I. If you are saying Kentucky overrated you are just down playing your current win you pulled off and saying you are not that good yourself. Students you were great but next te no overrated chant not
For Kentucky!!

Anonymous said...

I agree, I don't like the "overrated" chant at all. Like the previous comment says, it undervalues the win you just got.

Anonymous said...

Looks like Coach Fix has bee studying basketball. That was a cutting edge performance.

Way to go, Dawgs!

CSA said...

After a horrible football season, we're due for some athletic success. Great win, Dawgs!

Anonymous said...

Coach Fox has definately coached up the players he inherited from Felton. Richt could learn a few things from Fox.

Muckbeast said...

This is great and all...

But its still hard to care about it compared to football. :(

I live in Lexington, KY, and I was at the Barnes and Noble tonight wearing my Bulldog gear. I'm lucky I didn't get mugged. :P

Anonymous said...

That's just a stupid thing to say, it is very easy to care about basketball. If you don't like it, then spare us from your stupid comments.

Anonymous said...

Football sucks anyway, and i'm talking about the "sport" and not the team.

BulldogBen said...

Anon @10:10, agreed.

After the decade the Dawgs have just had in hoops and seeing what Mark Fox has ALREADY done over in Athens to change the culture of things AND just beating the #10 team in the country, maybe you just don't like basketball.

This was freaking awesome and a signature win for Fox. He is the real deal. This day may be looked back on as the one where things turned or at least turned in the eyes of the league. (see also: state recruits)

Also, quite cathartic given the last couple months the Dawgs have had in general (see: football FAIL)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, a great win for Fox. While other people are trying not to say it, I think the win proves that Georgia basketball is back. I look forward to the next game, because some of us actually care about basketball.

BuLLdawg said...

Kentucky is not as great a team, because it is so young. They also do not have as much depth on their team as we do.

Darius Miller is not a good shooter. He can make free throws; and that is about it.

DeAndre Liggins would not start for Mark Fox. Mark Fox would not even recruit DeAndre Liggins.

That those guys both start for John Calipari instead of Doron Lamb tells you all you need to know about John Calipari.

10,523 in attendance on HDTV.

Now, there is a difference between the 2 men's basketball teams. A Cow Palace in the School of Agriculture is not what Mark Fox should have to play in. We need a gym with twice that seating. We have held back both our men's and women's basketball, unwilling as Damon Evans was to spend money he didn't have. Pardon me, there is something called a 30-year loan. A mortgage. A loan. This entire nation lives on that dream.

Mark Fox has recruited very well. He has a ton of talent.

Terrence Jones doesn't shoot free throws well and he doesn't shoot 3-point shots well. But, his real issues also include that he has fouled way too much and John Calipari has done nothing about it all season long.

Josh Harrellson is gangly and awkward. The only area of his game that is great is rebounding position and free throw shooting.

Brandon Knight is a fine basketball player.

7-Deep, Mark Fox has recruited us better basketball players. He also has kept them here, having them buy into his system. He has taught these players how to play as a team. He has taught them each skills they will use the rest of their lives. He is a proven men's basketball coach who is a far better coach in his game, than Mark Richt is in his. Mark Fox's program is better off than Mark Richt's as well.

He has better players and they are better coached.

Trey Thompkins is a great basketball player out of Lithonia, who in his 3rd year here, has become a better shooter every year.

Jeremy Price, a senior out of Decatur, is quite a bit player for us who has done himself proud in this system.

Gerald Robinson is a hell of a pick-up for Mark Fox. He can beat his opponents off the dribble, take it to the hole, and dishes the ball off with the best of them. Gerald has a shooter's mentality, Mark Fox brought in this season for just exactly that reason. Kentucky had no one like Gerald Robinson today.

BuLLdawg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BuLLdawg said...

Dustin Ware out of Powder Springs has blossomed under Mark Fox. As our 1, he is truly amazing. He can actually hit his shots which no 1 before him here did. Dustin Ware is just the kind of player that Mark Fox probably came here because of.

Travis Leslie also out of Decatur wasn't even a Starter until Mark Fox got here. Go figure that. His game is underneath, and he has become a well-rounded basketball player under the tutelage of Mark Fox. Gottfried says he has to work on his outside shot; well, that isn't his game. The last place I want Travis Leslie is on the perimeter - the very last place.

Price, Thompkins, Barnes and Leslie dominate the paint. This is Mark Fox's game. With Gerald Robinson driving the lane to them and Dustin Ware at the point who can hit that shot, this is a team to be reckoned with.

Chris Barnes out of Riverdale hits more of his shots from the field than he does from the charity stripe. When he comes in for Price, he plays his role. Today, he was a big help grabbing rebounds, dishing it off, blocking shots, and making his points. Chris Barnes played a solid game.

Sherrard Brantley, a 3-point specialist from Dublin Georgia has already had huge baskets for Mark Fox and plays hard.

Marcus Thornton, Mr. Basketball in this state out of Atlanta is already getting 10 minutes per game - on this team. When he gets settled in, and has more confidence in his shot, he will be a huge player over these next 4 years for Mark Fox. Donte Williams, too, out of Ellenwood, is new to the team this year.

These 4 guys came off the bench and did their job today. Better than the Kentucky guys did today.

This is what basketball is all about. You get yourself 5 guys like we have; and you have a couple of guys who can come in and give them a blow and do their jobs, and you can do quite well at basketball. Which explains Duke. Football is different. We give those guys everything. 5 better stadiums in America. More money to work with than every college in America except maybe Texas. All these folks who follow the football team at a football school, and our men's basketball program is farther along with Mark Fox than our football factory is with Mark Richt.

Mark Richt got 1 very good recruit today. A lot more than that is expected for a roster of 85 scholarship players. And, I would not exactly say that Mark Richt has done a damn thing with Brandon Boykin or Branden Smith - both of whom are exactly like Damian Swann out of Grady. Every team in America, every coach, wanted Damian Swann. Football is not like basketball where 5 guys can make a team great. We've got those 5 in basketball. We've got about those same 5 for football, which is 18 fewer than we need of Damian Swann.

Mark Fox is a better coach than Mark Richt.

Rick said...

Dear BuLLdawg,

Kindly STFU.

The Dawg Nation

Anonymous said...

Amen Rick

AaronGreen said...

BullDawg are you a real person?

Seriously when I read your post I feel like I'm reading something a computer program wrote. That is not a compliment btw.

How old are you? Do you live in Ga? which program are you actually a fan of?

For some reason I just don't see you as a real person.

Anonymous said...

Every team we beat in football, has a


Anonymous said...

When you beat losing teams they still count as wins. Every team in the SEC counts them and every team in the BCS counts them.

Muckbeast said...

BulldogBen and Anon 10:10, you guys need to read more carefully. I didn't discount the win.

I just shared a perfectly valid and legitimate opinion and what I care most about, and it almost makes our football team's suckitude worse when our basketball team does well. Why? Because its a glimmer of what our football team should be doing.

Also, did I not say I braved life and limb to support our team by wearing our logos proudly here in the domain of the fallen enemy?

Stop looking for flamewars and read more carefully. Oh, and Anon, get a spine and post with a username.

Muckbeast said...

How about this for a username? You really know who I am now, you've got me.

Anonymous said...

What about your username means you have a spine? It's just a stupid made up word that no one knows the meaning of. Get a life, and STFU.