Ordinarily, I try to post a swift recap of the Georgia Bulldogs’ latest basketball game approximately half an hour after the final buzzer sounds, but I was delayed today by the best of reasons.
At the start of the 2010-2011 school year, my son, Thomas, who is in second grade, commented to my wife, Susan, that he wanted ice cream for supper. Although she, of course, refused, a conversation ensued, the upshot of which was that, if he brought home a report card that contained all A’s, we would celebrate his achievement by having ice cream for supper.
Last week, Thomas brought home his fourth report card of the year, and his third containing all A’s. (The other one included one B.) Consequently, as soon as Thomas and I finished watching the Red and Black beat the Kentucky Wildcats, we turned off the television and went into the kitchen, where we were served ice cream for supper. The latter experience felt very much like an extension of the former.
After all, the idea of your mother letting you eat ice cream for supper sounds like the same sort of fantasy as believing the Bulldogs could beat the Wildcats in basketball.
Surely there was no plane of reality in which Georgia could shoot 88.2 per cent from the free throw line, thanks to stellar efforts from Chris Barnes (3 for 4), Travis Leslie (5 for 6), Gerald Robinson (9 for 10), Trey Thompkins (11 for 12), and Dustin Ware (2 for 2). Most of the Hoop Hounds’ shots from the charity stripe hit nothing but the bottom of the net, attesting to the emphasis Mark Fox put on free throw shooting during the layoff and enabling the Red and Black to rebuild the double-digit lead they had held at halftime as the visitors continued to foul their hosts in the closing minutes.
Certainly there was no set of circumstances under which Georgia would out-shoot Kentucky from the field, both in two-point (44.9%-38.0%) and in three-point (33.3%-30.0%) baskets. Undoubtedly we would never see a situation in which the Bulldogs out-dueled the Wildcats in rebounds (41-37), assists (12-9), and blocks (4-3). Unquestionably it was too much to expect that Thompkins would be on the court for 35 minutes and sink seven of his 15 field goal attempts.
This afternoon’s 77-70 triumph at Stegeman Coliseum represents the biggest victory of Coach Fox’s young tenure and the team’s ninth straight win. The last Georgia club to put together such a streak ended the season in the Final Four. There’s a lot of the season left to be played, but a 1-0 start in conference play against a team of the Wildcats’ caliber is, at worst, a positive development, and it may represent the hardwood equivalent of a hobnailed boot.