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Post Dawgs drop a home heartbreaker to UT

Wednesday January 19, 2011

Tennessee 59 – Georgia 57

I’m just not going to dwell too long on the no-call at the end of the game. Refs swallow their whistles at the end of a game, and you’re not going to get any call other than a clear hack on the guy shooting the ball. Barnes knows that, and next time he’ll box the guy out to the halfcourt line. The offensive rebound that led to the game-winner was the second time in the final minute that Georgia couldn’t grab a Tennessee miss, and the Vols got three possessions over that final minute while Georgia had none.

I have to admit to my judgement of the game being clouded by annoyance at the ESPNU crew. Rob Stone and Jay Williams could only have prepared for this game by watching the Vandy-Tennessee game and then interviewing Hopson. Their nonstop gushing over Hopson, who was pretty well matched by Travis Leslie, completely missed the bigger story going on inside. Hopson only scored six points in the final 30 minutes of the game, but on they went. Meanwhile, Georgia’s explosive offense was struggling to do what they do best. Holding Tennessee to 59 points was a good job by the Georgia defense even with good nights from Hopson and Harris.

The key to the game, and it’s not just because he hit the game-winner, was Brian Williams. It wasn’t so much his production, though he did put up ten points. It was more his effectiveness on the other end and his physical style of play. He had help from Fields and Harris, but Georgia’s frontcourt was frustrated on offense all night. Thomkins only got eight points from the floor and shot only 30%. Price, thanks to some poor decisions with his foul discipline, was not a factor. Barnes held his own on defense but was never a threat to do more than the occasional put-back on the other end. Freshmen Thornton and Williams were simply overmatched in such a physical environment. Without Price holding it down inside, Tennessee had an easy time pushing Thompkins outside, choking off passing lanes on penetration, and keeping Georgia off the offensive glass.

It’s not an exact science of course, but you can generally tell how things are going for Georgia by looking at Price and Ware. The trio of Leslie, Robinson, and Thompkins are almost sure to get their double-figures even in a lethargic low-scoring game like this one. At Vandy, we noted that Price, Barnes, and Ware combined for a paltry five points. The story was exactly the opposite on Saturday at Ole Miss. Ware put up one of the best lines you could ask for from your point guard: 15 points on 3-of-4 shooting, 2-of-3 from outside, a perfect 7-of-7 from the line, 1 steal, and the topper…9 assists without a turnover. Price likewise had an efficient and productive day, and it came at a time when Georgia needed him. He was perfect from the line, led the team in rebounding, had a couple of nice blocks, and was able to hang around for his most playing time since the St. Louis game.

Last night, things looked a lot more like they did against Vanderbilt. Price spent most of the game on the bench in foul trouble and never scored. Ware had that huge three-pointer to tie things up and had another turnover-free night, but he still ended up with only six points. At Vandy, Price, Barnes, and Ware had five points between them. Last night it was ten. Georgia’s trio of stars will only carry the team so far – the other half of Georgia’s top six players have to produce every time out.

All that said, it was still a game decided in the last second against a good team that’s held their own against some of the nation’s best. Tennessee has been wildly inconsistent this year, but we saw one of their better efforts last night. That’s no consolation for the heartbreaking loss. If something good can come from a game like that, maybe our guys saw what’s possible if they come into a game with a little more energy and determination. Georgia missed a good opportunity to claim some ground in the SEC East after Kentucky lost again, and it’s never a good thing to drop a conference game at home. The Dawgs will get another chance to defend their home turf against a turbulent but talented Mississippi State team on Saturday.

2 Responses to 'Dawgs drop a home heartbreaker to UT'

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  • Good call on the ESPNU crew… thought I was listening to the UT radio broadcast. I get that UT has a bit more national cache than us… but our ranking and RPI isn’t exactly chopped liver. Also the only time I’ve ever heard anyone describe Dustin Ware as “super athletic”. Playing a steady, solid point… the best ball of his career right now… but he’s no high-wire act.

    Wondering if we’ll see CMF start Barnes for a game or two, let Price come off the bench and see the game from a different angle. He’s visibly frustrated and pressing. Also, he’s a far better offensive weapon than Barnes… might be useful to get him some touches when Trey’s taking a breather. Also wouldn’t mind seeing Barnes bang away on the opposing 5 and free up Trey to roam a bit more.

  • Never able to see any of the teams in men’s big three sports at UGA turn the corner and turn it with determination and holding power. It is always a game like this. Why?