Georgia pulled off a 64-57 victory over Eastern Kentucky in a game Coach Fox said his team was “lucky to get a win.” While Georgia came into this game on a seven-game win streak, EKU had lost their last three, averaging just 52 points during the stretch. What was perhaps seen as a final tuneup game before SEC play begins on January 8th, turned into a back-and-forth struggle to the end.
Georgia opened the game well, scoring six unanswered points in the paint. Their first 14 points continued in that fashion and it seemed Georgia would be well on their way to another victory. But as any observer would have noticed this season, Georgia hasn’t shown it can consistently kill off weaker competition.
EKU managed to turn the game into a jump-shooting contest and Georgia were more than happy to oblige despite their obvious size advantage. The game began slipping away from Georgia, as sloppy turnovers and poor shooting allowed EKU to grow in confidence and get back into the game. Georgia led by just one at halftime, 34-33.
The start of the second half didn’t yield much better results from Georgia. EKU stormed out to a 6-2 run thanks to two Georgia turnovers. EKU held the lead until the 11:46 mark in the second half and tied the game again with just 7:17 remaining. It was only then that Georgia finally returned to what got them the early lead: easy points in the paint. Trey Thompkins took over the late stages of the game shooting 4/5 from the field and hitting two free throws. Combined with some wizardry from Gerald Robinson, a monster Travis-Leslieesque alley-oop followed by a behind-the-back assist, and Georgia was able put the game out of reach.
Coach Fox was “not pleased at all” with his team. “If I don’t start coaching better and we don’t start playing better, we’re going to be in for a long 2011.” Frustrated with the team’s routine of letting teams hang around, Fox said “We can’t wait until six minutes left to start playing like we’re capable.” Though none of the players were happy with the overall performance, Thompkins did add that during the final stretch he started to feel like he was getting his rhythm back. EKU Coach Jeff Neubauer was complimentary of Thompkins, stating, “He’s a special player…we tried to keep the ball away from him.”
Luckily for Georgia, they weren’t able to.
Notes: Coach Fox wouldn’t say much about the team’s upcoming game next week against Kentucky as he hadn’t studied them yet, but did add “We’re playing in the SEC East, so we have a lot of wars ahead of us.”
I talked to Gerald Robinson about his monster jam in the second half. When I told him I didn’t know he could jump like that he replied, “Come on man I can jump. Just wait, I’ll show you some more stuff. I got some more tricks up my sleeve.” Anyone care to see a dunk contest between he and Leslie?
Connor Nolte sprained his ankle during his 1 minute today. He was walking around and will be ready to go against Kentucky. Nolte was happy to say he played his last game with the mask today.