Head Coach Mark Fox
“Well that was certainly a hard fought basketball game. We beat a real solid Georgia Tech team and I thought their kids played really hard, I thought our kids played extremely hard and we feel like we’re leaving here with a good win.”
On Dustin Ware
“Dustin Ware, I told my staff last night, he’s going to shot the ball well. He shot well at practice last night and I really felt like he was going to shoot it well. Give credit to Gerald Robinson who made a great pass, he found the open man and Dustin was ready to stick it in the basket. That’s certainly a big basket for our program.”
On playing in close games
“You can practice special situations every day, but there’s not the consequence of losing. The fact that we’ve been in a lot of close games, that’s good experience for us. It certainly paid it’s dividends tonight, because late in the game we didn’t panic…I think we played like a mature group.”
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get over to any players so you’ll just have to get those somewhere else.
Once again, it wasn’t pretty, but you’ll take it. As my friend and co-host Josh Kinsey texted me, “A win is a win! Suck it RPI!” Indeed, suck it RPI.
But really though, I know a lot of fans will take this win with a grain of salt considering how poorly Georgia Tech had been playing coming into this game, but I think you should take this win with some perspective:
-Tech is a little better than they seem. Sure they lost to Kennesaw State and got blasted by Northwestern, but they also played a close game to Syracuse, then #9 in the country. Wins and losses aside, Tech is a talented basketball team, what they lack is direction and that is why Paul Hewitt is on the hot seat every year.
-Georgia is a little worse than they seem. But they’re getting better. Georgia began this season with the Pre-Season SEC Player of the Year (Thompkins) and a First Team Pre-Season SEC (Leslie). Then Thompkins got hurt. Then Leslie had to pick up the load offensively where he usually fed off of Thompkins. He assumed the role. Then Thompkins came back. Then, and now, Leslie is struggling to find his spot. Against UAB, that wasn’t a problem because Price was able to bail him out, tonight it was Ware. Fox admits though, Thompkins does not look “in rhythm” and Leslie is struggling a bit (he had 4 points and four fouls). Admittedly, that’s not what you want to see out of a team like this, but compared to last Friday this team already looks better. As opposed to a second half regression, Georgia shot 48.4% from the field and 63.6% from three, compared to 40% and 45.5%, respectively. They came in focused in the second half and eventually won the game. Really, you can’t ask for much else. If you think I’m being nice, read the next bullet.
-The Bulldogs shot 7-15 (46.7%) from the free-throw line. That. Is. Pathetic. For any team that wants to smell March, much less the SEC title, there are two things you must do well: hit threes and hit free-throws. After going 0-4 in the first and 7-11 in the second, I’ll admit, that’s progress. But what’s more important is when they missed them. Thompkins missed a one-and-one with less than a couple minutes remaining. Robinson missed both with 4.5 seconds remaining and the score at 73-72. Luckily Tech’s inbounds play was foiled by Travis Leslie, but still. Good teams, not even “great” teams make their free throws. At least when they count. Period.
-The zone defense, while better played in the second half, is still giving these guys problems. Without a consistent outside threat, Georgia can expect to see the 2-3 for the rest of the season. Tech guard Brian Oliver admitted they knew Georgia wasn’t a great shooting team so they forced their hand. And while the three party was great in the second, that kind of heat won’t be there every night.
All that aside, though. A great win for Georgia who hadn’t won in Tech in 10 years. This team is resilient, I’ll give them that, and they certainly entertain us, don’t they? Hopefully these next couple games against Arkansas State, High Point, etc. will be a bit more entertaining, but for all the right reasons.
Oh yeah player of the game, of course, is Dustin Ware.
7-9 FG, 7-9 3PT, 6 assists, 21 points, and that nasty three at the end. There were a lot of NBA Scouts watching and I’m sure Ware had them all talking.
73-72 UGA Final
Quotes and thoughts coming soon.
66-65 Tech, 3:36 2nd
Rice Jr. floats through the lane to send Tech ahead. Trey is about to head to the line for two crucial, crucial free throw attempts. The NBA scouts are watching. I know this because they’re sitting behind me. No pressure.
63-60 UGA, 6:50 2nd
A Brian Oliver three cuts UGA’s lead down to, well, three. UGA is feeding the rock to Trey. Good plan if you ask me.
58-53 UGA, 9:36 2nd
Three party. Everyone’s invited.
51-50, 11:13 2nd
Sherrard Brantley, after shooting 1-4 in the first half, just hit back to back threes to send Georgia ahead. The Georgia contingent here is really getting into the game, this game, as expected will be a close one.
43-37, 15:50 2nd
Any kind of momentum Georgia tries to gain, Tech shoots right back. After an early three from Ware, Shumpert responds with his own. After some forced turnovers for Georgia, Tech gets it right back. Foul situations not looking good as Robinson and Leslie pick up that dangerous third foul. Even Nolte has 3.
After Tech turned it over with 3.6 seconds left in the half, Gerald Robinson ran a straight sprint and made it all the way to the arc, where his shot attempt clanked right before the buzzer. Just a reminder, that dude is fast.
-Following the theme of the season, Georgia is having some real problems against the zone. Tech is not. Obviously a big reason for this is becuase Tech actually has some decent three-point shooters were Georgia is primarily relying on Brantley, who, frankly, is not, and really hasn’t, been shooting well. However, when you’re playing against a zone, three’s aren’t you’re only option. The soft spot in any 2-3 zone is from outside and right in front of the free-throw line. Where Tech is using both, UGA is limiting themselves to behind the line. It will be interesting to see if Coach Fox tries to get Trey in that other spot to try and beat that zone because it is very unlikely Tech goes away from it for the rest of the game.
-Georgia needs to get back on D. Enough said. As soon as Tech rebounds it, they are looking to score quickly because honestly, after shooting pretty well early, they’re struggling just as much as Georgia is.
-UGA is 0-4 with free-throws, Tech is 4-4. See scoreboard.
-Surprisingly, both teams are shooting 5-11 from beyond the arc.
-Tech is winning the rebounding battle 24-15. Once again, see scoreboard.
-”See Scoreboard” basically means that those things need to change if Georgia has any hopes of winning this game.
27-21 Tech, 3:39 1st
Not much to say except that there has been little scoring.
27-19 Tech, 7:29 1st
Only 30 seconds here. Gerald Robinson is keeping Georgia in this game. That is all.
25-17 Tech, 9:22 1st
This game has really been a tale of two zone offenses. UGA is having obvious problems with it and Tech is finding the soft spots inside and shooting over it from outside.
17-10 Tech, 11:43 1st
Coach Fox is going to his bench early with Nolte, Brantley, Thornton, and Barnes already getting some looks. Whatever works, I suppose. A little scary moment earlier as Thompkins went up and was stripped, he was clinching his right hand and jogging back. Not sure if it was anything, but I guess we’ll see.
12-6 Tech, 14:51 1st
To be put simply, not very pretty. All of Georgia’s points have come off of Dustin Ware three’s. Georgia is not getting very good looks at the basket and are failing to make it back in transition to really lock down on Tech’s motion offense. Generally, just not a lot of hustle. Might have something to do with with Tech having a week to prepare for this game, where UGA last played Friday.
Quick thoughts before tip-off:
-Alexander Memorial Coliseum is extremely loud. This place is about halfway full but I’m already already having trouble hearing Mitch Blomert, who is sitting right beside me. The ceiling is extremely low and the seats are extremely raked up. Obviously pretty disimalr to Stegman which goes on on and on.
-Tech is very small inside, which will create some fun mismatch problems for Trey Thompkins and Jeremy Price. Let’s see if they take advantage of that early.
-ESPN 2 is here. Hi mom.
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