Dave Miller from the Commercial Dispatch joins the Friday Pregame show to discuss Mississippi State basketball.
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.
Georgia faced Arkansas State after an 11-day layoff in Stegeman Coliseum, pulling out the win 68-59. Coach Mark Fox was proud of his team for getting the win, particularly Chris Barnes, who Fox called “terrific”, going 5-6 from the field and finishing with 12 points and three rebounds. Trey Thompkins led all scorers with 15 points.
Despite earning a 20-point lead deep into the second half, the game was not without some drama. Arkansas State battled back and was within two possessions of tying the game, but a steal from Jeremy Price and two free throws from Dustin Ware ensured Georgia another home victory.
Fox credited Arkansas State for battling throughout the game but was disappointed with his team for a lack of concentration with the lead. “We haven’t established the ability to play well with the lead,” Fox stated, adding, “As we get ahead, we lose attention to detail.” Barnes said the team needs to learn how to finish teams off and Gerald Robinson didn’t think his team was playing hard enough. The phrase “step on their throats” was used multiple times by both players, perhaps echoing a theme from the lengthy post-game speech.
It’s possible the 11-day layoff between games also played a role in the late comeback for Arkansas State. Fox dismissed the idea but Barnes said it did play a factor.
Fox was hopeful that experience in these situations will improve the team’s ability to finish games off. “It’s an area we haven’t matured in but that comes with experience” Fox noted. Robinson said it was something they will continue to work on in the next few games before SEC play kicks on January 8th when Kentucky comes to town.
Of course, it’s somewhat of a good problem to have. As Fox pointed out, it’s better than the opposite — playing poorly when you have a deficit.
In a lighter note, Coach Fox and Chris Barnes have a standing bet that Fox has to run the Sanford Stadium steps anytime Barnes hits two free throws in a row, a feat Barnes accomplished in the second half. Fox hoped Barnes wouldn’t remember, but the big man smiled and said, “I haven’t forgotten. I’ll be out there to watch him.” (more…)
It’s been a solid month since the last Director’s Cut, mainly because I’ve been traveling almost every week but partly because once you’ve been run over by the Cam Newton train, it’s hard to get back up. But the latest twist in his saga has inspired a return given the bizarre nature of everything that’s going on. The Cam Newton situation is a mess. A complete and utter disaster. (more…)
The Football Jesus returns after some technical issues last week to discuss the latest in the Cam Newton saga and the gambling points in the SEC Championship game between Auburn and South Carolina.
Drew Bonner from WEGL joins me to discuss the SEC Championship and the keys for an Auburn victory.
James Kratch of the Daily Gamecock in South Carolina returns to the podcast to preview the SEC Championship game this Saturday.
The Football Jesus returns on during the holidays for a big week in the SEC and looks to add to the 8-3-1 free pick mark with a team not quite in the SEC.
AJC’s Jeff Schultz joins me on his drive to Tuscaloosa to discuss the states of Georgia and Georgia Tech and a preview of what’s to come in the game next weekend.
Welcome to Stegeman Coliseum as the Dawgs take on the Colorado Buffaloes. Georgia’s coming off an eyebrow-raising 2-point win vs. Mississippi Valley State in which a Jeremy Price explosion in the final few minutes saved Georgia a loss that would have been like losing to Kennesaw State. Colorado comes in a much better opponent than MSV with one of the best guard tandems in the country starring senior Corey Higgins and sophomore Alec Burks. The two combined to average 36 points per game, good for the third-best duo in the NCAA. Higgins was also named to the All Big-12 preseason team. Georgia will again be without Trey Thompkins who return date is still uncertain but Coach Fox hoped he may return for the Old Spice Classic during Thanksgiving break.
We’ve got a 7pm tip here in Athens and I’ll be keeping you posted on the action.
Here are tonight’s starters:
Gerald Robinson Jr
The Dawgs win the tip and we’re off in Athens. The crowd’s a lot louder than this time a year ago. Price with the 3-point play. Boomtown.
Great sequence from Georgia after giving up a couple of easy baskets. Leslie with a three, Nolte with a three and Price with the Powerslam in the paint from a perfect alley-oop pass from Gerald Robinson. Dawgs up 11-4.
Off the timeout, Robinson grabs a rebound and hits Colorado with a little sauce takin’ it straight to the rim freezing a couple of defenders on his way. He follows that up with a 3 giving the Dawgs a 16-4 lead. He did, however, pick up his second foul. Sharrard Brantely enters.
Coach Fox emphasized that he wanted an improvement on the defensive side of the ball this year. The Dawgs are certainly accomplishing that thus far, leading 22-8 and grabbing 8 boards.
You know the drill, Price gets open down low and goes with the Powerslam in the paint. When he plays within himself and does what he does best, as opposed to trying to be a shooter, he can be one of the most effective players on the team.
Everything just looks faster for Georgia. Passing, moving on defense. And this is all being done with out Trey (obviously) and Gerald Robinson, who has sat for the last 10 minutes with foul trouble. Georgia is now up 31-16 limiting Colorado to 5-18 shooting with 6 minutes left in the first half. The Dawgs also have 15 boards, 8 assists and just 5 turnovers. The lone negative is the fouls, as Georgia already has 10 now with 5 minutes left in the first.
Jeremy Price picks up an offensive foul giving 3/5 starters 2 fouls along with Donte Williams. Nolte and Leslie are the only starters safe from the bench and Colorado has slowly but surely chipped away at the lead by knocking down foul shots. The slow pace of the game does not suit the Dawgs.
Barnes picks up his second but Fox is forced to leave him in the game with 4 minutes left because everyone else also has 2 fouls.
Travis Leslie was close to giving us our first Thunderdunk of the season on a breakaway. Everything went as planned, he rose, he flew, he went to throw down…and destroyed the back of the rim sending the ball way back over halfcourt. Really, that perfectly describes the tale of this Georgia first half. It started off so well and now they’ve blown a 20 point lead as Colorado pick up two quick baskets and have narrowed the lead to just 2.
Georgia hit a free throw but Colorado answer with a 3 to tie the game at half. Georgia crowd sits down a bit stunned. But the second half does mean that those in foul trouble are no longer in foul trouble. Yet.
Jeremy Price is back to doing Big Dawg things. He’s been a menace in the paint, moving well, getting open on transition. Unfortunately, you know the bad news that has come along with any positive play so far: he picks up his third foul. Georgia’s up 45-42 and looking much better than the end of the first half but a rejuvenated Colorado is now playing with much more confidence.
Though Georgia has picked up a lot of fouls, the refs have been calling some very ticky-tacky fouls. There hasn’t been a whole lot else to report unfortunately. The fouls have continued to be a part of the game which has sucked the life out of the game and the crowd. It’s 48-45 Georgia with 13 left.
Leslie finally gets the breakaway Thunderdunk we’ve been waiting for. Leslie opts for two hands this time and throws it down. Poor rim. 52-46 Dawgs.
Play starting to pick back up again as the fouls have dissipated a bit. A great look from Nolte finds Leslie open under the basket (last time that may happen all season) but Colorado answer with a full court pass for an easy two. It’s 59-57 Georgia with 8 left.
Chris Barnes isn’t having his best night. Offensively, he’s turned into a stiffer Albert Jackson. Still grabbing boards, but a liability offensively at this point.
After surrendering the lead with some very sloppy defense, Gerald Robinson and Dustin Ware fire down a couple of threes to reignite the crowd and go up by 3. Nolte takes a charge and Stegeman finally has their energy back. Colorado halt the momentum by fouling Chris Barnes down low. Brilliant strategy.
The rampant fouls continue as Leslie fouls out on an over-the-back call. One of the worst foul calls I’ve ever seen made much worse by removing Georgia’s top scorer. Crowd rightfully lets the ref know how they feel about it. Luckily, Price is back in for Barnes and hits another layup. The Big Dawg has been a beast these past two games. Imagine the looks he’ll get when teams have to worry about the preseason SEC POY. Dawgs up 71-65
Georgia can ice this game by hitting free throws. Gerald hits one with 40 seconds left giving Georgia a 77-72 lead. Colorado miss and Marcus Thornton gets the rebound with 30 seconds left. He hits one as the Georgia crowd heads for the exits. Robinson gets a steal, makes a layup and with 10 seconds left, Georgia leads 80-74.
After Colorado coach Tad Boyle picks up a T for complaining about the calls, Ware hit’s his free throws and Gerald tacks on one more. Dawgs win 83-74