ESPN’s Cara Capuano tells us all about the NCAA Women’s tournament including the Lady Dawgs chances of winning their next round, as well as some UGA football talk.
SI’s Zach Lowe returns to the show to talk about the recent demise of the Atlanta Hawks.
Zach Lowe from Sports Illustrated joins the Friday Pregame show to discuss the madness of the NBA trade deadline.
Georgia Men’s Tennis Coach Manny Diaz joins the show from Seattle to talk about his team’s progress and expectations this season.
WEGL’s Drew Bonner joins the show to discuss the tragedy at Toomers Corner.
FOXSports.com’s national basketball writer Jeff Goodman joins the show to discuss Georgia and other matters college basketball related.
Georgia baseball coach Dave Perno joins the Friday Pregame Show to discuss the recruiting process, last season, and his expectations for the 2011 campaign.
It was the tale of Tu halves in Stegeman Coliseum.
Tu Holloway, the reigning ESPN.com National Player of the Week and five-time A-10 Player of the Week, was held scoreless in the first half, missing all five shots from the field. He finished the game with 18 points, mainly from the free-throw line where he made all 11 attempts, en route to a 65-57 victory for Xavier.
Trey Thompkins had a similarly schizophrenic night, shooting a lights-out 5-5 from inside the arc in the first half and finishing with 10 points. In the second half, Thompkins was continuously harassed and double teamed and finished the game two minutes early, fouling out with just 14 points.
Georgia will feel disappointed not to come away with a win tonight, missing out on an opportunity to add a much-needed resume win, particularly at home in a game with 14 lead changes. If the Stegeman Colisuem fans are any indication, the team will feel worse given the state of the refereeing.
Xavier finished with 27 attempts from the line compared with just 15 for Georgia. This enabled Holloway to get into a groove offensively, and took away Georgia’s size advantage after both Thompkins and Jeremy Price fouled out. Following Thompkins’ fifth, Gerald Robinson was whistled for a questionable charge, sending the already furious fans into further frenzy as they began to throw towels and shirts towards the court. Coach Mark Fox was equally enraged, picking up a bench warning for his efforts. After the game, one of the refs was pelted in the face with a towel.
Fox wouldn’t verbally confess to his frustration with the referees, stating, “It’s just a part of the game,” but the extended pause before the answer and hanging of his head indicated a deeper emotion. Thompkins went a bit further than his coach but not as far as to make excuses for his team. “I personally didn’t think I intentionally fouled him (on his last play),” Thompkins said, “I was pushed in the back, and then I fell to the ground. But it happens. I have enough faith in my teammates to finish games, it just didn’t happen tonight.”
And that is the big-picture problem for the Dogs. While the officiating certainly played a bigger factor than it should in the second half, one of the refs even managed to prevent a Robinson steal, a step back shows a 1-6 record against the top 35 RPI and a team that struggles mightily when Thompkins is forced out of his comfort zone. While losing to top-tier competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Georgia has few games against top-50 RPI teams remaining to ensure they finish the season on the right side of the bubble.
Still, if there’s one thing this team has learned under Coach Fox, it’s resilience. All a casual observer has to do is look at the turnaround from last season to now, with virtually the same roster, to understand the mental makeup of this squad. Dustin Ware captured that spirit when asked about making up ground in the RPI, saying “Every game is important. We’re going to come ready and be determined to get some wins.”
To ensure Georgia’s bubble doesn’t burst, they’re going to have to. (more…)
Last season, when Trey Thompkins didn’t play well, neither did Georgia. This year, due to the additions of Gerald Robinson, Marcus Thornton and improved play from Jeremy Price, Chris Barnes and Dustin Ware, the offense wasn’t dependent on Thompkins.
But when Thompkins was forced to the bench early in the first half with two fouls, Georgia reverted back to last seasons swoon looking completely lost and out of rhythm without their Preseason All-SEC player, shooting a meagre 7-21 from the field including 0-4 from range. Georgia’s defense wasn’t much better, as the Cat’s shot over 51% from the field including 6-12 from deep. When you factor in 8 turnovers and getting out-rebounded, albeit by one rebound, the 39-24 lead for Kentucky was very reflective of the action on the court.
However, the second half showed much more of the rhythm and fight Georgia fans have come to expect from Fox’s Bulldogs. Despite a very poor night from Leslie, who went 0-7 from the field, and Thompkins, who was battling a shin injury, Dustin Ware’s composure and confidence kept Georgia in the game. Ware’s brilliant display offensively cut the lead down to six with two minutes to play. Georgia had a few opportunities to cut the lead further, and really test the patience of the restless Rupp crowd, but Thompkins’ poor shooting down the stretch didn’t allow the team to capitalize and Kentucky came away with a 66-60 victory.
Coach Fox called the game “a hard-fought conference game” and gave credit to Kentucky for withstanding Georgia’s second-half run. Fox said he was worried about his team’s energy after their double-overtime loss to Florida, and his fears were confirmed before the first official timeout, as Fox burned a timeout early to refocus the team.
At halftime it appeared Georgia found that focus and the Bulldogs came out concentrating on defense and rebounding. Guards Gerald Robinson and Ware got into a groove in the second half and combined for half of the teams 60. Fox was pleased with the tandem for overcoming the poor night from their top-two scorers but added, “We need more guys completing plays for us to be good.”
Late in the game, Georgia had several opportunities to bring the game to a one-possession contest but fell short. “We got within striking distance but we just couldn’t strike,” Fox said.
Part of that was due to Thompkins’ off night shooting. Though Thompkins denied his injury playing any role is his poor shooting night, just 2-10 from the field, his shot seemed to be falling short especially late in the game. Ware agreed with Thompkins’ assessment of his injury, saying a tough guy like Thompkins won’t let something like that effect him.
Though Georgia sit at just 3-4 in the SEC, they’re scheule has been one of the toughest in the conference. With several slumping SEC West teams coming up on the schedule, as well as two contests against South Carolina, Georgia will have plenty of time to put games like this behind them and get on a roll for the spring.
Georgia will be hoping that the second half of this game was a sign of things to come for the second half of the SEC schedule.
Jon Wertheim from Sports Illustrated joins the show to talk Australian Open tennis and his new book Scorecasting.