Welcome to the Bulldawg Illustrated Hoops Report: Georgia vs. Ole Miss. It’s like being mediocre, where you’re always at your best!
After the Dawgs followed up a mediocre game against the Lamecocks last week with a mediocre first half against Mizzou on Saturday, a fight between coaches broke out at halftime and gave the Dawgs the spark they needed. After scoring 20 points in the first half, we hung 51 on the Tigers in the final 20 minutes to record a 71-66 victory. That was truly must win as Mizzou appears to easily be the worst team in the conference. Up next is Ole Miss in Oxford. While I have no idea what the school mascot/nickname will be this year, I do know that this game is as close to a must-win as a road game can be this early in the year. But before we talk about General Ackbar’s Black Brown Polar Bears, let’s look back at the melee in Athens.
The Dawgs started out as cold as the temperature in Athens on Saturday and didn’t look like they were going to thaw out at all. Then, just about the time the horn sounded to end that half, it happened. Yante Maten and a Mizzou player had a word or two. Players stepped in. Managers stepped in. Coaches stepped in. Front office people stepped in. Next thing you know the Mizzou head coach and UGA coach Kent Davidson were going toe to toe. After several tense seconds, Jonas Hayes bounced, literally, Davidson out of the turmoil, and the Stegasaurus was on fire.
Both teams then headed to the locker room and the Dawgs came out smoking in the second half. The crowd kept up the energy which could only be harnessed by watching two old men fight. And the Dawgs were throttled up well. We took our first lead of the game about three minutes into the second half. From that point on, we trailed a total of about 75 seconds. Yante Maten scored 17, JJ Frazier chipped in with 16, and Pape Diatta broke double digits for the first time this year with 12. UGA Legend and all-around Damn Good Dawg, Jarvis Hayes had a lot of good things to tell me about this guy. So he is definitely one to keep an eye on.
The news isn’t all good, however. Since Mark Fox started at UGA, turnovers have been our biggest undoing. They cost us the game last week and could’ve on Saturday as we had 20. The only thing thing that saved us was Mizzou’s ineptitude. The other issue was missed free throws. We missed around 13. You can look it up for an exact number. That’s another thing that can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, when tou’re playing a good team.
Now we travel to the land of Hot! As in toddys and women! Ole Miss is a perennial enigma in hoops. They can get some talent, but don’t do much with it. They’re one of the few teams in the SEC with fewer Big Dance and Sweet 16 appearances than the Dawgs. However, they generally are tough at home. So it’s going to be tough getting the win. Luckily, the Dawgs have had their number the last few years winning five of the last six. They beat us down there four years ago when that Eminem wannabe flopped on an elbow from Kenny Gaines when they were down six with seconds to go. They got it into OT and beat us by 10. Outside of that game, they’ve not beaten the Dawgs by more that four since 2009, at least. So if we can keep it close and hang around, I like our chances. Or, we could just blow them out.
This game is imperative. There’s time to make up ground, but the Dawgs have the toughest conference schedule in the SEC by far. So we can’t let this slip away like the home game last week. Go Dawgs!