Originally, this posting was going to be about how I needed to learn not to have preseason expectations regarding University of Georgia athletics, because, honestly, when has that worked out well for me since the 2008 college baseball season?
We in Bulldog Nation came into the 2010-’11 basketball season believing Mark Fox’s outfit was ready to take the next step after coming up just short in several close contests a year ago. For much of this evening’s outing against Mississippi Valley State, though, it appeared that the Hoop Dogs might merely have been preparing themselves for more narrow setbacks this season.
Honestly, I don’t know how the heck the Fox Hounds won this game. Granted, the Red and Black outscored the Delta Devils in the paint (34-12) and had the better field goal percentage (49.0%-37.9%), but MVSU had the advantage virtually everywhere else. Mississippi Valley State sunk 58.8 per cent of its three-point shots (as opposed to 37.5 per cent for Georgia) and 88.9 per cent of its free throws (as opposed to 65.5 per cent for Georgia). The Devils out-rebounded the Dogs 41-31, and the visitors’ bench outscored the Red and Black reserves by a whopping 35-3 margin. MVSU turned 15 Georgia turnovers into 20 points, whereas the Bulldogs scored an identical 20 points off of 18 Delta Devil giveaways.
Jeremy Price contributed a team-high 20 points, just ahead of the 19 added by Gerald Robinson. Travis Leslie turned his 37 minutes on the court into 16 points, 11 rebounds, four blocked shots, and a perfect four-for-four mark from the free throw line.
With only a few minutes remaining in the game, I expected this posting to express concern about a basketball season that appeared at first to hold so much promise, but, even though it was just Mississippi Valley State, Mark Fox’s team is figuring out a way to turn last season’s close losses into this season’s close wins, and that tiny improvement from a 70-68 setback to a 72-70 triumph makes all the difference in the world.