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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hoops blog: UGA vs. Vanderbilt

Final: Vanderbilt 64, Georgia 56

And that's it. Georgia blows another big second-half lead, and this time it costs them.

We'll see if it ends up being a debilitating loss as far as the NCAA tourney chances. But if Georgia does miss out, it will probably look back on the blown 14-point lead tonight as the reason.

Emotions ran high at the end, with the officials the target. Mark Fox, once the game was no longer in doubt, looked like he wanted a technical, going out on the court and visibly berating the officials.

He got the T, and then a few fans started tossing items on the court. The three officials were also the target of fan ire as they were escorted to the locker room.

Say what you want about the officiating near the end, but Georgia's offensive ineptitude in the final stretch was the main difference.

This loss, coupled with last week's blown lead and home loss to Xavier, shows a team still needing to mature. And it's running out of time to do so.

4:27 left in second half, Georgia leads 53-52

And here we go again ... Georgia's once-huge second-half lead has been nearly erased, and it's anybody's game down the stretch.

Georgia can blame its defense, both on the perimeter and the glass. John Jenkins has four 3s, and a series of offensive rebounds has allowed the Commodores extra chances. The latest came on a loose ball which ended up with Brad Tinsley, who nailed a 3.

The Bulldogs may still hold on. But just like at South Carolina, it didn't build up nearly the first-half lead it could have, then had a long lapse after extending the lead in the second half.

9:30 left in second half, Georgia leads 53-43

This game has seen an offensive explosion, as both teams are pouring in 3s. John Jenkins finally scored, and the Commodores have finally woken up - but so has Georgia.

Dustin Ware, Gerald Robinson and Travis Leslie each have 3s in the past couple minutes. So do Jenkins (two of them) and Rod Odom for Vanderbilt.

Georgia is happy to trade 3s with Vanderbilt, considering the score. But as the minutes tick on, I imagine Mark Fox will want the pace to slow a bit, and have that clock run. So look for the tempo to slow a bit.

14:00 left in second half, Georgia leads 40-26

The Bulldogs have their first double-digit lead of the game after an 11-0 run. And John Jenkins, the SEC's leading scorer, still has zero points.

Obviously a great start to the half for Georgia, which is showing the energy and defense it needs to put this one away. I still expect a run (or two) from Vandy. But perhaps Georgia learned a lesson at South Carolina about not putting teams away.

Halftime: Georgia leads 27-21

Vanderbilt's best two players, John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor, have a combined point total of zero. I don't know if that's a good sign for Georgia or not.

Are Jenkins and Taylor just each destined to have one of those nights, and together, the way Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie did at Kentucky? Is Georgia's defense that good and set to continue into the second half?

Or is an eruption from either or both Commodore star inevitable, and the fact Georgia only has a seven-point lead is worrisome for the Bulldogs?

You could look at it the other way too: Leslie (four points) and Thompkins (five points) have been pretty quiet so far too. Gerald Robinson (10 points and two steals) has led the way for the Bulldogs, with Dustin Ware chipping in a couple 3s.

Georgia's rebounding has also been pretty good: Chris Barnes and Thompkins have six rebounds each, and Leslie has five. Of course, Vandy missed a ton of shots.

5:47 left in first half, Georgia leads 19-13

Things are going well, though not perfect, for Georgia so far. And for a second straight game, the Bulldogs are involved in an ugly first half.

Vanderbilt is 5-for-28 from the field. Georgia is doing a great job so far on John Jenkins, always having a man in his face, and sometimes two.

That said, I still think Georgia is leaving too many shots on the floor. Remember last game, when South Carolina shot so badly and Georgia's 19-point halftime lead seemed safe. When the other team's struggling, put them away.

14:32 left in first half, Georgia leads 8-3

The first time Georgia played Vanderbilt, it hoisted 3-pointers all night, struggled and lost. So far the Commodores are daring the Bulldogs to do it again – and the shots are finally falling.

After a very slow start, Gerald Robinson and then Trey Thompkins nailed 3s, and Georgia has an early lead. Vanderbilt is playing a strict zone defense, then leaving center Festus Ezeli in the middle. The message is clear: Beat us with your 3s. (The first game, UGA shot 5-for-21 from beyond the arc.)

Tonight, Georgia missed its first 10 shots, and Vanderbilt its first six. The game’s first field goal came at 16:19 on a put-back by Vanderbilt’s Rod Odom.

Pregame ruminations

A fairly big game tonight for Georgia, which needs one more quality win - at least - to feel good about its NCAA tournament chances. And with the other opportunities coming on the road, tonight's home game against No. 18 Vanderbilt could be the best chance.

Of course Georgia is 6-2 on the road this year, so who knows, it may have a better shot in the next two games at Tennessee and Florida.

In any case, this game is for sole possession of second place in the SEC East. Vanderbilt and Georgia are both 6-4, just ahead of Kentucky (6-5) and Tennessee (5-5). So the winner of this game may have inside track on the all-important bye in the SEC tournament.

But the Commodores are going to be a tough out tonight. Guard John Jenkins, the SEC's leading scorer, may be the best shooter in the nation this side of Jimmer Fredette. (Mark Fox said Tuesday that Jenkins is shooting beyond an NBA level right now). Jeffery Taylor, a preseason first-team All-SEC pick, is an all-court talent. And 6-11 center Festus Ezeli has been a force underneath.

Still, Vanderbilt (18-6) is an NCAA lock, while Georgia knows it needs this. So if it comes down to who wants it more, it favors the Bulldogs.


Anonymous said...

Why can't Georgia just close out a f-ing game for once!!

Anonymous said...

Well looks like the Dawgs are having a meltdown. Just standing around and blew a 16 point lead.

Anonymous said...

Maybe weened to change our name to the cling ons. UGA just cant put anyone away.

Anonymous said...

Football,Basketball or whatever UGA just cantdrive the nail in the coffin.

Anonymous said...

Simply Pathetic....

Anonymous said...

CHOKE the official drink of the Georgia Bulldogs

Anonymous said...

That was just so pathetic it's hard to stay positive after listening to a total colapse like that. God that just pisses me off so bad. Did Georgia learn NOTHING from that colapse they escaped with in South Carolina?!? I'm done. I'm seriously so pissed off with that game I don't even want Georgia to make the NCAA. Why bother? So they can just blow another 20 point lead on national TV in the first round. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

I am not going to anymore games this year this team is been a total bust awful coaching job by Fox this season. You think Calipari or Donovan has our record with the talent on our roster. Fox is way overated!!

Anonymous said...

Mark Fox is an inept coach from a previous mickey mouse league. Hope McGarrity finds us a new coach because Mark Fox chokes on the big ones.

Anonymous said...

ok seth no one wants anymore basketball post this team is not good, who have they betten that is any good. Have one win over Kentucky and they are not that good. This team belongs in the NIT with what they have done this season so far. Dont know how you stay optimistic about this team anymore.

Anonymous said...

Our guys ran out of gas. Too much baby fat on our players. Dawgs need a nutritionist for the entire sports program if they want to get serious in competing for championships. This what happens when you are known as a party school.

Keith said...

Well UGA cannot finish a game. Pathetic. You can't win if you can't make a field goal in the last 10 min of a game.

Anonymous said...

How many times can Mark Fox say "We've just got to learn and get better" ????? (Sounds like a damn Willie Martinez clone)

Honestly I don't know why I had any hope in the bball team. We can't even win at the sport we're usually good at, let alone at the sport we always suck in...

I need a drink.

Anonymous said...

"You think Calipari or Donovan has our record with the talent on our roster."

Fox beat Calipari this season, and Kentucky is where we are in the SEC standings, you goat-humping, Schultz-spooning idiot.

BulldogBen said...

Brutal. Just absolutely brutal. The kind of loss that tests your faith in the entire athletic program (given our recent football failures). Just feels like...........I don't even know.

The future is bright, I think (hopefully the bright light isn't an oncoming train) but I just can't figure the disconnect. I said to my friend (a UNC grad) at the 10 minute to go mark in the 2nd half that this was when we start to falter and wet ourselves and lo and behold.

Horrible. We are the kings of the 1st half it seems like.

That said, Anon @9:03, really?? A nutritionist and UGA being known as a party school are the reasons??

Congrats. Dumbest post of the year so far.

Anonymous said...

Mark Fox trying to blame the OFFICIALS??? Come on, grow up. Teach the team to play some defense.

Paul the Octopus said...

Y'all can complain about Fox all you want, but missing our last 11 shots and being outscored 24-3 down the stretch is definitely not all on Fox.

It seems like no one on this team can step up in crunch time and score points. Leslie? Nope. Thompkins? Not a chance. Such high hopes for this season...

Anonymous said...

We lack quality depth. The guys run out of gas. Give Fox two more recruiting classes and lets see what he can do.

Atticus said...

This is on Fox, it is happening too often.

Anonymous said...

I agree ! This is on Fox. Now for the pathetic loser excuses to post some comment on how Fox is not doing the shooting or the playing on the court.

Josh said...

Uh, that was just painful. I do think our colapse is a direct result of no depth. Our guys are completely out of gas by the time we get late in the second half. I really don't know. That was just such a tough loss.

Anonymous said...

I hear what you guys are saying, but you just can't blame Fox. We have a 6 man rotation. We have no one on the bench that contributes except Barnes. That's not Fox's fault.

Plus, a coach has to expect that his 6 upperclassman rotation would show some heart and that his pre-season All-SEC POY would actually play hard.

His Dudeness said...

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this team will be in better shape next year if Thompkins leaves and Leslie stays. Trey is a great player, and there is no denying what he has done for this program. HOWEVER, his attitude is terrible and bleeds down to other players that look to him as a leader. He whines more than Paul Pierce and has not been able to step up when needed most. Lack of depth is a huge problem for this team, but Fox also has no go-to options for a must have bucket when Thompkins can't step up. Fox is a great coach and has already done a lot for this program to get us to this point. Don't put out this crap about what another coach would do with our talent...we don't have that much talent.
His tirade against the zebras at the end of the game was a Bobby Cox moment...and I'm not so sure it was necessary.

Cartter Fontaine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bulldawg said...

We don't deserve to go to the NCAAs. Period.

Another disgraceful loss. Play some damn defense guys.

Just when i started to believe in UGA basketball, I'm reminded of UGA basketball.


Taylor said...

Good grief, we might have the whinyes fanbase in America. Remember where we were last year? How about the last 5 years? Now we are supposed to fire Fox? I have never seen a fan base that turns on it's teams so quickly. Embarassing!