Kentavious Caldwell-Pope checks Shabazz Muhammad - Elsa
Georgia's men's hoops teams took home their second moral victory, leading #11 UCLA for most of the game before succumbing 60-56 in the 3rd place game of the Legends Classic tonight in Brooklyn. Again, an admirable effort against one of the most talented teams in the country ends in defeat.
After last week's debacle, if anyone told you Mark Fox's squad would play the #1 and #11 teams in the country as well as they did, we'd have all taken it with a smile. But somehow, this one still hurts.
UCLA rode a 20 to 6 advantage in made free throws (on 30 attempts to Georgia's 10) to a win, as wings Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Shabazz Muhammad were the only players to score more than 10 points. Muhammad, in his second game this season after the NCAA recently declared him eligible, finished with 21 points on 6 of 12 shooting from the field, and 8 of 11 from the charity stripe.
The Dawgs jumped out to an early 6-0 lead behind Nemi Djurisic working the post. Georgia maintained a steady lead for most of the 1st half, pulling ahead 15-6 at one point, and extending their biggest lead of 11 when sophomore John Cannon hit a mid range jumper to make the score 30-19 with 3:38 left in the first half.
Unfortunately, that was their final points of the half, as UCLA charged back to make it 30-25 at the half. That charge was the beginning of a 20-5 run, as the Bruins owned the second half.
Freshman big man Tony Parker, who Georgia recruited heavily, had an uneventful couple minutes in the first half, while fellow Atlanta area product and freshman Jordan Adams, who had scored over 20 points in each of UCLA's first four games, finished with just 4 points.
For Georgia, Cannon stood out with 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks. KCP led the team with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Marcus Thornton worked hard and snagged 9 boards himself but failed to score, while Donte Williams and Djurisic matched Cannon's 8 points.
Author's take: Since I'm filling in for Kyle, I'll try to close with a little color. Georgia again showed a much improved team after last week's nightmare losses to Youngstown St and Southern Miss. The defense really got after it, holding an extremely skilled Bruin club to their lowest point total so far. We matched the big and extremely athletic #11 team in the country on the glass at 34 rebounds. The offense was wonderful for much of the first half. When we drove the lane and moved the ball well, we were scoring. On 12 first half field goals, 9 came from an assist. But when UCLA switched to a 3-2 zone, we locked up, and the offense became little more than long 3 attempts. The two losses this week were much more encouraging than the two losses last week, but we're still 1-4 on the season.
The Hoop Dawgs are back in action Friday night, taking on the East Tennessee State Buccaneers the day after Thanksgiving at 7 p.m. in Stegeman. It will not be televised, so you'll have to be in the stands to see if we can continue making strides for the better.