Welcome to Gwinnett Arena where the Dawgs look to knock off 8-2 Illinois. Georgia is coming off a tough loss in Madison Square Garden to St. Johns whereas Illinois have won 4 in a row. Looking around the arena that holds 13,000 it’s not even close to capacity. There’s a lot more orange than red. Luckily it’s not Tennessee orange because Tennessee orange makes me vom.
Ok, so it’s even worse than I thought. Illinois just came out of the locker room and this place exploded. It’s an Illinois home game. This is…sad. In unrelated news, Matt Bucklin is on the cover of the program, probably because he is very likely to see playing time!
Dustin “Dimes” Ware
Travis “Trampoline” Leslie
Chris “The Hulk” Barnes
Albert “Stonewall” Jackson
Update 15:56 And we’re off. Jackson wins the tip but it goes straight to an Illinois player. Question of the game so far, where is Trey Thompkins. You may have noticed I included him in my starting lineup on the first update. Strange. Dustin and Ricky have both hit deep jumpers but Illinois have answered each time. My BOY Dustin “Dimes” Ware hit a deep three. I think he’s trying to get a new nickname. Trey has checked in. Ricky gets a steal and makes an east layup but a poor pass from Georgia leads to a dunk from one of the goofiest white players I’ve ever seen, Mike Tisdale. Georgia leads 11-9
Update 11:31 Georgia looks really good. Very effective passing, movement and aggressive rebounding. This is the best I’ve seen them all season. The team is really getting involved and not just relying on Trey, which could be the reason behind him coming off the bench. Don’t worry, I knocked on wood. 100 times. This could be twice as important because Drazen Zlavoric, Jeremy Price and Demario Mayfield have all checked in. Haven’t lost anything on defense but offensively it’s always a bit of an adventure. Mayfield puts in a layup to put Georgia up 5. After a foul, Vince Williams, McThree and Leslie check back in. Illinois misses the free throw and foul trey on the way back. He hit 1 for a 17-13 Georgia lead. Trey is taken out for Jeremy Price. Illinois hit a couple of free throws and Leslie does another tip in where he hangs in the air for 5 minutes. Georgia up 19-15.
Update 7:53 Illinois has started doubling Trey as soon as he touches the ball. The rest of the team is going to have to create. Ricky can’t hit an open three and Illinois answer with a jumper. After a bad turnover, Illinois takes the lead with a goofy white jumper. Fox is forced to take a timeout when Dustin Ware is trapped crossing halfcourt thanks to a questionable pass from Drazen Zlavoric. He’s telling the team to calm down which they desperately need to do to keep this one from getting away already. Georgia and Illinois trade a couple of baskets and the Georgia timeout looks effective so far. Chris Barnes just DESTROYED a weak layup off the glass. GET THAT WEAK SAUCE OUT OF HERE. Illinois timeout with Georgia up 1, 23-22.
Update 3:06 Some really goofy offense for Georgia there. I’m not sure they knew what was going on. Price saved the ball from going out of bounds twice, Ricky tried to drive, there was a foul on Dustin Ware by halfcourt and Drazen ended up making a layup. Weird. Albert just beat another weak layup out of bounds. No Fly Zone boys. Chris Barnes comes back with a pretty hook layup thing. I don’t know, it was just awesome. Illinois look rattled, they’re settling for outside shots (I would too after those swats) and committed a turnover. Coach Bruce Weber is yelling to slow Georgia down. Dawgs up 2, 29-27.
Update 0:00 After the official timeout, Georgia settles for a 3-pointer from Draz which results in a massive airball. Ugh. Illinois hit a three to take the lead. Safe to say they unrattled. Again it doesn’t seem like there’s much aim offensively as Georgia settles for a Dustin Ware NBA range 3. Barnes was fouled in the process and actually managed to hit a free throw. Huge. After a very athletic layup for Illinois, Georgia runs the pick and roll with Dustin and Trey and it works to perfection. I would run this play every single time. Trey is a phenomenal pick and roll player. The game is tied as the shot-clock is turned off. Goofy white Tisdale tried to shoot a deep 2 and is SWATTED by Chris Barnes. That was an awesome way to end the half. It’s tied at 32.
Update 15:35 Trey opens the half with a nifty spin move to a layup and we are off again. Leslie is back in and would figure to get more playing time after picking up 2 fouls in the first half. Great defense from Georgia forces a bad shot from Illinois followed by a sweet layup from McPhee. Georgia forces two more stops. They give the first one back and Fox wisely takes a timeout after the second to calm the team down. Travis and Trey looked to be arguing or at least confused about the offensive set. Albert is fouled and the ref completely ate it running to the scorers table. Albert drains both and Georgia get another defensive stop. Illinois manage to get on the board which is quickly answered by Leslie. After yet another stop, Leslie makes a really athletic layup with his head basically behind the backboard WITH THE FOUL AND 1!!!! Georgia up 44-36 with Leslie on the line after the timeout.
Update 11:46 And Leslie drains it. Georgia start to press and it appears they’re going for the kill. Not sure if I would have changed anything the way Georgia has been defending and Illinois has scored two in a row including a thunderdunk. Damnit. I only like Leslie thunderdunks. Fox is livid takes a timeout. I haven’t seen him this angry. The Illinois crowd is really loud right now. And Price throws the ball out of bounds following the timeout. Fox may hang himself. Just before he does, Dustin Ware gets a steal and gives it to Leslie who THROWS DOWN THE HAMMER!!! HUUUGE dunk and the Georgia crowd shows signs of life. Illinois hits a couple of free throws and an Albert Jackson foul gives them a chance to tie it up. They fail and Trey makes them pay with a layup. Illinois score and after another Georgia turnover, they again have a chance to tie, Georgia leads 49-47.
Update 8:53 Illinois throw up one of the ugliest shots of all time. Mismatch alert: the goofy white guy is guarding Trey. We can’t capitalize and Illinois ties it up at 49. Leslie answers with a freaky layup and McPhee DRAINS a 3. Dustin crosses the entire team, makes a slick pass to Trey under the basket and Illinois is forced to foul. Georgia leads 55-49 after Trey knocks one down.
Update 2:01 Some smooth moves from Vince Williams gets Trey another opportunity in the paint and this time he converts with the foul. Count it! Trey misses but Albert recovers with a board. The ball gets held up and possession arrow points to Illinois. Georgia has looked phenomenal on defense tonight. Phenomenal. Ricky hits a three and Trey hits a jumper. Some fantastic ball movement gets Leslie a layup WITH THE FOUL AND 1! Georgia extends the lead to 9 with that run. Illinois is starting to press and shoot threes. The press isn’t much of a success but the 3’s are. A 3 with 4:08 left cuts the lead to 4. Georgia again breaks the press without much difficulty and Dustin is able to score to keep the pressure on Illinois. Georgia crowd finally getting into it but Illinois silences it with a 3. Not that the crowd is silent because there are many more Illinois fans here. Illinois is down 3 with on the line after a McPhee turnover and a Dustin Ware foul on the fast break. This has been a few crazy minutes. Georgia up 66-63.
Update 35.6 Illinois hit 1. Georgia have effectively been running clock down the stretch but failing to convert points. Leslie saves a Thompkins miss (should have been a foul) with a nasty swat. Georgia fail to score again and Illinois get a fast-break layup and get a blocking foul. During the Georgia timeout, there’s a massive crowd battle going on. This would be awesome if I weren’t so nervous. The free throw is good and Illinois have a 67-66 lead.
Update 0:00 Trey is fouled in the paint (finally called) and he DRAINS BOTH. ICE VEINS. Illinois takes a timeout with 17.5 left. They’ll play for the last shot. This is the ballgame. I am so pumped. The way Georgia has defended tonight they have a great chance here, but Illinois has been shooting really well down the stretch. This is what it’s all about.
AND THEY GET THE STOP!!!!! Trey snags the rebound off an awful shot and is on the line with 6.6 left. HE MAKES BOTH!!! Trey is so ICEY. Georgia with a 3 point lead heading down. Illinois haul up a prayer and it’s no good! Georgia wins 70-67!