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Friday, March 11, 2011

SEC tourney hoops blog: UGA vs. Alabama

Final: Alabama 65, Georgia 59 (OT)

Brutal. Just brutal. Georgia led by 14 with 7:33 left in regulation, and instead it may have frittered away its season. We'll have to see how the NCAA tournament selection committee feels about it on Sunday night.

The Bulldogs may still be in the field, but the next two days promise to be very nerve-wracking for the team's hopes. It could have ended any questions, but once again, they couldn't hold what seemed a commanding lead.

Story of the season.

End of regulation: Georgia 53, Alabama 53

Yup, it happened again. The Bulldogs have yet again blown a big second-half lead, and if they can't win this one in overtime, it will be the most important blown-lead loss of the year.

It was almost the most stirring last-second victory, but Dustin Ware's banked-in prayer was negated by Mark Fox's timeout. The result of that was an airball from Trey Thompkins.

You could just tell the knowing panic in the faces of the Georgia players as the lead evaporated there. Now they have to recover.

2:02 left in second half, Georgia leads 52-49

Alabama may not have much of a half-court offense, but its defense is solid, and it just forced enough turnovers to get back in this game. And Georgia has seen this scenario before.

The Bulldogs discombobulated on offense again, falling prey to the trap. The same thing happened at South Carolina. They'll need to collect themselves to hold on here.

5:39 left in second half, Georgia leads 49-36

As I just tweeted (I have to copy myself sometimes) Georgia has taken control of this game. The score, the tempo, and the energy all are on its side. But there's still plenty of time left.

Still, Alabama is showing its offensive impotence, which it will have to overcome if it can pull off the comeback. When Charvez Davis isn't nailing 3s, the Tide just don't have very much.

11:24 left in second half, Georgia leads 40-32

This game is entering a pretty crucial stretch. Georgia's lead has been between six and 10 for awhile now, and if it can extend the lead, or at least keep it around 10, that's great because Alabama is not a high-scoring basketball team.

That said, Georgia's two best post players are alternating in with three fouls. So Travis Leslie continues to take it upon himself, and is now sitting at 21 points, two off his season high.

The Bulldog rebounding has been very good so far, a necessity considering how many poorly the Crimson Tide are shooting.

14:47 left in second half, Georgia leads 36-28

The Bulldogs have started this half slow offensively. Luckily for them, Alabama isn't a strong offensive team, so the lead remains eight.

One worrisome sign is Trey Thompkins picking up his third foul, just now before the media timeout. I imagine Mark Fox will take Thompkins out and try to buy as much time as possible without his star. The problem is, Jeremy Price also has three fouls, and I don't imagine a frontcourt of Chris Barnes and Donte' Williams or Marcus Thornton in this important a game.

Halftime: Georgia leads 30-21

Things got a bit sloppy in the final few minutes, and almost a bit chippy. But the final minute boded well for Georgia: Travis Leslie drained a jumper, and Alabama couldn't convert around the basket in the final seconds.

As we all know, Georgia has blown its share of halftime leads. On the other hand, Alabama is only 1-5 when trailing at halftime. And it had the lead at Tuscaloosa last Saturday.

3:44 left in first half, Georgia leads 28-19

Well, that was a somewhat important sequence of basketball there: Three straight 3s by Georgia, by three different players, and in about a minute the game goes from tied to a nine-point Georgia lead.

First Gerald Robinson, who up till then had missed all his shots. Then Dustin Ware, who celebrated with a whoop as he went back downcourt. And then after a nice steal by Jeremy Price - who honestly had been having a pretty bad game so far - Trey Thompkins nailed a 3 from the corner. Timeout, Alabama.

That sequence could end up being the story of the game, if the lead holds up. But there's plenty of time.

7:30 left in first half, Georgia leads 19-14

Mark Fox called a timeout a minute ago, seemingly for the purpose of yelling at his team. He also spent the subsequent defensive possession constantly snarling at his players.

It seems Fox is worried about his players slouching off and this turning into a sloppy game, just like happened in Tuscaloosa. Georgia got off to a hot start in that game too.

I also think the Georgia offense is going to be geared towards getting the ball inside, at least for as long as it can be. Trey Thompkins just scored on a nice hook shot, as Georgia caught Alabama in transition and was able to dart the ball downcourt and in to Thompkins.

11:45 left in first half, Travis Leslie 13, Alabama 12

Apparently, Travis Leslie came to play in this one. The Georgia junior is dominating so far, scoring 13 of his team's 17 points as Georgia leads by five.

Georgia is using Leslie's athleticism, posting him up inside, and running ball screens to allow him to get to the basket. It's been a thing to behold so far, but I'm sure Anthony Grant is working on something to combat it during the current timeout. So look for things to perhaps open back up for Trey Thompkins, or Dustin Ware from outside.

15:28 left in first half, Alabama leads 9-8

Georgia came out firing and jumped out to leads of 6-0 and 8-2, but Alabama has awoken. The Tide have sped the game up the last few possessions, a tempo more to their liking.

That illustrates the difference in opponents from yesterday: When Georgia jumped out early, it was able to almost dictate the gameplan, getting the ball inside with impunity. But Alabama has the athleticism and, with JaMychel Green inside, the ability to hold its own in the paint.

Pregame thoughts

ATLANTA
- When I arrived here on Thursday morning, I had a pretty good idea that I'd be back for another day. This time? It could probably go either way.

Georgia and Alabama seemed pretty evenly-matched when I saw them play just six days ago, and this one is on a neutral court. Yes, it's an hour from Athens, but judging by the fans I saw milling outside the Georgia dome, the Crimson Tide will have a fair share in the stands. At a minimum it shouldn't be as dead inside as it was for the Georgia-Auburn game.

My inclination is that Georgia won't play as sloppy as it did in Tuscaloosa, where it committed 16 turnovers, Dustin Ware had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio for the first time in SEC play, and point guard Gerald Robinson was a horrendous 2-for-12 from the field. And I also tend to think the Bulldogs will have an answer this for Charvez Davis, who had five 3-pointers last week. Trey Thompkins also looked like a different player on Thursday, and if he carries that into this game, Georgia will be tough to beat.

Plus, Jeremy Price did very little in Tuscaloosa (6 points, 5 rebounds), and his production often mirrors whether Georgia wins.

But Alabama still has JaMychal Green inside, and it didn't get much from its other guards (Trevor Releford and Senario Hillman) last week. So while I'd say the point spread - Georgia by 2 - is fair, let's just say I wouldn't want to tell you how to bet.

42 comments:

Theseus said...

Go Dawgs!!!

Greg said...

Wow, does any team get full court pressure as much as we do? Amazing that we haven't really made them pay for it yet...

Anonymous said...

How many bad passes can Gerald make...Fox needs to pull him. He seems to be getting worse

Anonymous said...

Man, Mark Fox is quite a choker.

Aladawg said...

Underachieve again. 13 points up <10 minutes left and we blow it. Why the 3 with 19 sec. left?

Aladawg

Anonymous said...

Another choke for fox and company

Anonymous said...

Mark Fox just isn't a big-time coach. We are a 20 point better team than Bama, but Grant is simply better than Fox.

There is no way in hell this game should be competitive, but Fox has flat-out blown it.

Pitiful.

Anonymous said...

All we do is choke choke choke no matter what, UGA new them song

Anonymous said...

We need Bobby Knight.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, Mark Fox might-as-well be fired on the court if they piss this game away.

This will be the most talented UGA team he will ever have, arguably the most talented team in the SEC this year, and he may not make the tourney.

The last 6 minutes of this game, Fox made Paul Hewitt look like Phil Jackson. Just an absolutely abysmal coaching performance. Bama should not be within 20 points of this UGA team, but pathetic coaching is killing the Dawgs.

Anonymous said...

Uga is not an NCAA tourny team, Period

Anonymous said...

FIRE FOX

Aladawg said...

FIREFOX - Wasn't that a movie with Clint Eastwood. Seems like he stole a jet under the Russians noses just like Fox allowed Bama to STEAL this game under our noses!

Anonymous said...

it's so painful to watch this team collapse in virtually every important/big game. There is no doubt they are yet to be tourney worthy.

Bulldawg said...

Unbelievable.

Watched it all at the office on ESPN3.com.

Unbelievable.

We are sloppy, sloppy, sloppy, especially Gerald Robinson.

The press kills us. Has all year. Do we not practice against this in practice?

Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Who thinks Mark Fox is so great now, what happen to Gerald Robinson he gets worse with every game

Anonymous said...

K C U F !

Anonymous said...

Fox is a joke can we get a real coach

Aladawg said...

Disgusting. And folks wonder why there are so few fans following basketball. Most talented team in years. Blow game after game with double digit leads.

BulldogBen said...

Complete microcosm of our entire pathetic year. Thompkins and Price combine for FOUR REBOUNDS. Are you kidding me????

Unable to close out good teams.

Where is the clock management? Should've been a timeout on our last possession and NOT a timeout on the GAME WINNER. That is coaching pure and simple.

PLEASE recruit a pure rebounder. I think we got outrebounded in the 2d half like 23-10 or something.

Where are the guys that were bashing me for saying that Anthony Grant was doing a great job over at Alabama earlier this season????

As things stand today:

Grant>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Fox


I'm at a complete loss.

Caleb said...

Trey Thompkins. Sloppy. Robinson. Sloppy. You don't deserve to be in the tournament. Because you don't learn from the past at all. That was the worst.

Anonymous said...

I hope uga does not make tourny I can't watch them blow another game

Bulldawg said...

So many of the comments on here resonate with me. Spot on.

Sloppy.
Poor rebounding.
Poor passing.
Poor shot selection.
Poor clock management.
Poor coaching.

Just plain poor.

Fred Pennington said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Could there be a more fitting way to close the season? At least we look like serious NIT Title contenders.

Bulldawg said...

I'm with Fred.

Anonymous said...

Everyone makes fun of guy says we needed Bobby Knight, But I guarantee his team would not have choked every game. He would have brought a toughness we don't have.
Every UGA team in every sport chokes in crunch time, I am SICK off it, man up DAMN IT!!!!!!

RussDawg said...

Wow! This was bad for Mark Fox. I'm at a loss as to how we lost that game. Just poor execution in all phases. Thompkins is sooo soft around the basket for a guy 6'10.

Anonymous said...

Fire Mark Richt.

Anonymous said...

I will have recurring nightmares of Gerald's 3-ball with 19 ticks left. He was 2-12 shooting at that point. For the love of God, why take that shot?

Anonymous said...

Pitiful!! This is the softest team I've ever seen--they're all flat in the front.

Don't deserve a NCAA bid and will not watch the NIT.

BulldogBen said...

Meanwhile, anyone see the 2nd half of the UNC/Miami game?

UNC down 19 in the 2nd half, comes back to win at the buzzer.

Can you ever imagine UGA doing something like that?

Another great example of coaching. UNC looked LOST at times back in December but they got better and better once league play started.

Dawgs have continued to make the same mistakes OVER and OVER all year.

Now we get to hear Fox plead for a bid.

I'm sick of us losing at EVERYTHING.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry Seth you had to cover this crap all season, a good coach has his teams get better, UGA is no better today then they were in November

Taylor said...

What a bunch of cry babies, sounds just like the miserable football crowd.

Robert said...

To think we had the opportunity to pick up Grant...now we are stuck with Fox.

Anonymous said...

Mark Fox, Mark Richt and Dave Perno always Chokes on the Big ones. We got a bunch of clowns in Athens....

Anonymous said...

BulldogBen:

Nobody cares what you think.

Fox schooled Grant last year with lesser players. The opposite happened this year. No conclusions there.

Toodles,
Your fellow Jacket fan

Anonymous said...

I hope the lot of you enjoyed your ride on the bandwagon. Now if you'll kindly gtfo.

Anonymous said...

Seth-

now you see why none of follow the basketball team. choke city, every year.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy ride on bandwagon now get off you sir are an idiot!! To get on a teams bandwagon would mean the team was good at some point when has uga basketball ever been any good. I guess you are one of those guys that think mark fox is the greatest even though he has done nothing. I know at least 6 coaches in sec alone would have had more wins with this team. If a team does not know what to do in crunch time it is a reflection of their coach. You will hear no crazy fire fox from me but wait till he does something before you crown him great. Right now
He is not a top75 coach right now hopefully he learns from it.

NRBQ said...

It takes a lot of idiots to make a village.

This blog is verging on a metropolis.

Anonymous said...

Hunker Down Chokers !