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Post Ugly night for Georgia hoops

Friday December 29, 2006

Both the men’s and women’s Georgia basketball teams saw turnovers and lack of offensive firepower doom them to losses on Thursday night.

The Georgia men had a season-high 26 turnovers in a 75-60 loss to #21 Clemson. “We haven’t taken care of the ball as well as we could this year, but today was exceptionally bad,” said coach Dennis Felton. With point guard Sundiata Gaines still hampered with an ankle injury, Georgia remains lost on offense. Where the trio of Mercer, Gaines, and Stukes produced 65 points against Gonzaga earlier in the month, they combined for just 21 against Clemson. For a team that lives and dies with guard play, they are in a world of trouble without consistent production from those three. Mercer is just 6 for his last 23 attempts.

Takais Brown and Terrance Woodbury had solid nights with 13 and 14 points, but their opportunities to do more were limited by the turnovers. Georgia attempted only 56 shots (Clemson had 67) and got to the line only 6 times all night. Clemson, according to Felton, scored a third of their points off of those Georgia turnovers.

The news doesn’t get better for Georgia. We learned after the game that Gaines has torn ligaments in that injured ankle. With a team that is so dependent on Gaines just to get a shot off, that news spells big trouble. Georgia’s next two games are against Top 5 opponents Wisconsin and Florida. Without Gaines in top form, it’s looking more and more as if that win over Gonzaga was an upper limit for how well this team can play rather than they effort they are able to give consistently against top competition.

It wasn’t a much better night for the women, and their problems seem just as systemic. The story sounds much the same – George Washington scored 23 points off 24 Georgia turnovers en route to a 66-54 win. Only one Lady Dog starter scored in double-figures, and the team as a whole shot 39%. Georgia was strong inside – Tasha Humphrey scored 16 and Angel Robinson 15 – but guard play fizzled. Normally reliable Cori Chambers shot 2-of-12 and finished with only six points. Ashley Houts and Megan Darrah didn’t score. In fact, this might have been one of Darrah’s worst games in her three years in Athens. She was 0-for-7 shooting and had a team-high five turnovers. Houts is in a bit of a slump – she hasn’t scored in double-figures since the Georgia Tech game at the beginning of December.

It’s hard to put a finger on it, but the Lady Dogs haven’t looked really solid all of December. Much of it has to do with integrating Tasha Humphrey back into the lineup, but the problems are across the board. The team seems plagued by slow starts. Guard play is spotty, especially at the point guard position. The team just hasn’t looked as impressive as you might have expected when you added Humphrey back in to the lineup that beat Rutgers and Stanford. They have a consolation game against Brown this weekend, and then they’re right into the SEC schedule with Florida and LSU. There’s not much time left to figure it out.

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