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Post Ware’s 21 leads Georgia past Tech

Wednesday December 8, 2010

It wasn’t Georgia’s best showing on either end of the court, but a 7-of-9 night behind the arc from junior point guard Dustin Ware gave the Dawgs just enough to secure a 73-72 win on the road at Georgia Tech Tuesday night.  Ware’s final three-pointer came with just 15 seconds left and broke a 70-70 tie, providing Georgia’s final points in a game that surprised no one by coming down to the wire.

A sluggish start meant that Georgia played catch-up for most of the night.  Travis Leslie spent most of the first half on the bench with two fouls, and the Bulldog inside game was generally ineffective early on.  Thompkins, Price, and Barnes combined for just eight first half points, leaving the guards – minus Leslie – to take up the load.  Ware and Robinson were up to the task, and Georgia reduced a double-digit deficit to a manageable six points at halftime.

Tech was able to keep Georgia at arms’ length for the first part of the second half, but the Dawgs finally drew even at 43 on a pair of Trey Thompkins free throws.  The sizable Georgia contingent had been pretty subdued to that point, but erasing Tech’s lead brought them to their feet.  Georgia soon went ahead for the first time on a pair of Sherrard Brantley three-pointers, and a 13-5 Bulldog run established a six-point Georgia lead inside of eight minutes left.

Georgia missed an opportunity to extend the lead to eight when a Price layup fell short, and a three-pointer on the other end got the hosts right back in the game.  Tech went on a late 10-0 run to turn a five-point Georgia lead into a 70-65 Yellow Jacket advantage as the Dawgs went cold on offense.  Thompkins picked Georgia up with a huge three-point play, and Ware’s final jumper with 15 seconds left capped an 8-0 run by the Bulldogs to win the game.  Tech had a final chance to win after Gerald Robinson missed two free throws, but a long pass was intercepted, and Georgia held on as the clock ran out.

It’s always great to beat Tech, but as I said it wasn’t a terribly good showing – it was much like the football game in that respect. Georgia’s a better team, and it would have been an upset to lose.  Despite having a stronger inside presence with Thompkins, Barnes, and Price, Georgia was outrebounded 43-30 and only had two more points in the paint.  Thompkins eventually heated up in the second half with 15 points in the final 20 minutes, but Barnes and Price never found much success on offense.  Another thing keeping Tech in the game was Georgia’s free throw shooting.  The Dawgs were a wretched 7-of-15 from the stripe, and Robinson’s missed pair at the end opened the door for Tech to win.

Neither team was especially strong on perimeter defense.  Georgia, led by Ware, shot an amazing 55% from behind the arc.  The Dogs were well over 50% from outside but only 44% overall and 46% from the free throw line.  Tech wasn’t much worse from outside at 40%. They cooled off though only hitting 33% of their three-pointers in the second half, and that helped to fuel Georgia’s comeback.

The win is Georgia’s second in Atlanta since the series left the Omni for the respective campuses in the 1995-1996 season.  Georgia’s last road victory against Tech came in 2000 when another Bulldog guard, D.A. Layne, dropped 28 points on the Yellow Jackets.  Meanwhile, Tech has yet to win in Athens since the series went home-and-home.  Thanks to those two road wins, Georgia enjoys a 10-6 advantage over Tech in the post-Omni era.

The Bulldogs are a respectable 6-2 now and will be off for the next ten days during exams.  Chances are good that the Dawgs will be at 11-2 when SEC play begins.  There are four winnable games in Athens during the latter half of December, and a December 23rd game at Mercer in Macon is the only road game left before the conference schedule.  

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