Against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the consolation game of the CBE Classic in Kansas City on Tuesday night, Mark Fox’s Georgia Bulldogs played a game reminiscent of their clash with the Golden Domers last Thanksgiving, building up a lead before watching it evaporate. This time, though, the Classic City Canines came away with the win.
The Red and Black held a 31-29 edge at intermission following a first half in which a spate of Bulldog fouls caused the Hoop Dogs to substitute liberally and permitted the Irish to shoot 14 free throws, sinking eleven. The Classic City Canines struggled to work their way inside in the first 20 minutes, forcing the Athenians to take 17 shots from three-point range. Georgia hit seven of those, giving them a higher shooting percentage from outside the arc (41.2%) than from inside it (12 of 30, 40%) in the opening half.
After the break, it was more of the same, at least in terms of the increasingly absurd foul disparity in favor of Notre Dame and the rebounding advantage possessed by Georgia, but the Bulldogs began driving to the basket more effectively, aided greatly by the interior presence of Nemanja Djurisic. Ultimately, the Red and Black opened up a nine-point lead.
Nevertheless, the Irish were able to use free throws to tie the game at 53 with five minutes remaining, leaving it to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to reclaim the lead with a three-pointer with three and a half minutes to play, extend it with a free throw with two minutes left, and extend it again with a free throw with 30 seconds to go. Though Chris Dobbertean credited Notre Dame beforehand with being “somewhat competent offensively,” it was Georgia who carded the 61-57 win in a game that would not have been close had the fouls been anywhere in the vicinity of even.
Following last night’s embarrassment, this was a critical contest for the young season, and the Fox Hounds appeared significantly more poised against the Irish. This team still has a lot of growing up to do, but the Bulldogs matured just a bit tonight, and their journey of 1,000 miles began with this single step in Kansas City.
As I noted earlier in the month, we are planning a Dawg Sports group outing to the Fox Hounds’ December 23 home game against Furman. Some folks who weren’t able to make this year’s Goat Roast will be home for Christmas, so we’re taking the opportunity to purchase block seating for a group to go to the game. We’ll continue discussing this as the game approaches, but please take this opportunity to get in on the fun. If you’re interested in attending, leave a comment to that effect below, and someone from the masthead will be contacting you at the e-mail address provided on your profile.