The Georgia Bulldogs arrived at Stegeman Coliseum on Thursday night hoping to erase the stench of Monday night’s loss to Youngstown State, but, instead, the Classic City Canines suffered their second straight setback, dropping a 62-60 overtime decision in an outing in which the home team rarely led.
Vincent Williams drained a shot from beyond the arc 93 seconds into the contest, but the Fox Hounds thereafter endured a scoring drought of six and a half minutes before Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit another three-pointer. Before that long-overdue basket, the visiting Southern Miss. Golden Eagles had built up a 15-3 advantage on torrid seven of nine shooting from the field.
The Red and Black thereafter generally remained eight or ten points down, but, thanks to a 12-5 Georgia run in the final four and a half minutes (capped off, of course, by a Sherrard Brantley trey), the Hoop Dogs headed to the locker room trailing only by a 31-27 margin. Caldwell-Pope was the Georgia offense in the first half, knocking down a trio of shots from beyond the arc, but he was the only Bulldog with more than six points prior to intermission.
Nemanja Djurisic scored the first points of the second half to make it a single-possession outing, but Southern Miss scored the next seven points, so the Bulldogs had to battle back just to reclaim their four-point halftime deficit, this time by a 40-36 margin with twelve minutes left to play. Though Georgia continued to chip into that lead, the Eagles persisted in answering, so that the gap the Red and Black intermittently narrowed ultimately remained the same, as Southern Miss retained a 53-49 edge with five minutes remaining.
Then, in a 30-second span inside the final two minutes, Djurisic came to life, sinking a three-pointer to pull the Bulldogs within two before getting the tying basket to fall, making it a 55-55 contest with 86 seconds left in regulation. To overtime the combatants proceeded, where the drama met its inevitable end when an impatient and inefficient Georgia squad fell by two.
It isn’t just that this team is sloppy, awkward, listless, inconsistent, unfocused, and undisciplined. It isn’t even just that this team seems to play every game like the basketball equivalent of this year’s South Carolina football game. It’s that this team plays like it’s allergic to the baskets on both ends of the court. Due to the Athenians’ complete lack of any inside presence, offensively or defensively, Georgia is overly reliant upon downtown perimeter shooting and inadequately competent either to stop the opposition from driving or to rebound when the other guys miss. I’m ready for Mark Fox to hire Jame Gumb from “The Silence of the Lambs” as an assistant coach, so Buffalo Bill can teach these guys to put the %$#&@! ball in the basket (NSFW link!).
Despite going to the line 21 times, the Fox Hounds knocked down just over half of their free throws. Georgia jacked up 28 treys, of which not quite one-third fell. The Golden Eagles pulled down 36 rebounds to the Bulldogs’ 27, producing a Red and Black setback in spite of the fact that the Athenians had fewer turnovers, more assists, fewer fouls, and more steals. Caldwell-Pope contributed 17 points, and Djurisic added a dozen more. John Cannon, Charles Mann, and Donte` Williams scored four apiece in the loss.