Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Report: Georgia vs. South Carolina. It’s like being down five heading to the bottom of the ninth.
For the third time this year, the Dawgs gave away a lead in the final seconds to lose a heartbreaker. This time to a talented and top-ten Kentucky team in OT. Now, the Hoop Dogs travel to South Carolina for another critical game. There’s still plenty of opportunity on the schedule and the Dawgs have proven they can play with anyone, anywhere in the SEC; but they have got to figure a way to finish games. With the Dawgs being led by J.J. Fraizer and Yante Maten, a total of seven years of service in the SEC between them, that’s puzzling. For a team fighting for air right now, there are no good losses.
In Lexington, the Dawgs obviously got no calls. That’s expected; so, it’s no excuse. Maten, Frazier, and Derek Ogbeide scored 63 of our 81 points. Not a lot of offense anywhere else other than nine from Jordan Harris, who continues to get better every day. Georgia gave the game away at the line missing nine free throws and turning it over 17 times. There’s almost no way to overcome that up there and it’s has to be frustrating. Coach Mark Fox has his hand’s full getting the team ready for Saturday in Columbia, SC.
We said in the first game vs. the Gamecocks that they are a solid team with a good coach. They play great defense and are most always disciplined. Then they have a couple of explosive scorers that generally have hot stretches in every game. So the Dawgs have their work cut out for them. Again, I think this is as much as a mental battle as anything. Last time, the Bulldogs lost an emotional game like the recent UK contest, we lost by twenty at home to a mediocre team three days later.
Right now, the Dawgs sit far outside the NCAA tourney bubble. They’ve blown three golden opportunities to post quality wins. Luckily, Georgia has nine conference games left. Anyone can get hot at any time and you’d rather be hot late. So there’s no reason to throw in the towel yet. Let’s see what happens at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Mark Fox used to specialize in winning close games, but that has not been the case so far this year. There’s no doubt we need some late inning heroics.