Instantaneous Ill-Informed Roundball Wrapup: Arkansas Razorbacks 62, Georgia Bulldogs 60

In the team's defense, I think the Fox Hounds were distracted in the first half because they were wondering who would win the Weekly Weblogger Challenge. - Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgia Bulldogs' valiant second-half comeback fell just short in an SEC men's basketball game against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Thursday night, but, on the plus side, at least we're going to find out who won the Weekly Weblogger Challenge.

We are nearing the end of my last week as a site manager here at Dawg Sports, and, as a result, I have elected to trot out for the final time in my tenure a few old standards, some of which have fallen by the wayside over the years. On Monday, I brought you Kyle Gets Contrary; on Tuesday, Slow News Day Tuesday; on Wednesday, the Weekly Weblogger Challenge (for which the winner will be announced at the end of this posting); and, tonight, the Instantaneous Ill-Informed Roundball Wrapup, which initially appeared here in January 2010.

Unfortunately, my stewardship of this feature will not have a happy ending, though Mark Fox’s charges certainly gave it their best shot with a 42-34 second-half effort. The Arkansas Razorbacks leapt out to a 4-0 lead against the Georgia Bulldogs in the first two minutes and change, then proceeded to shut down the Hoop Hounds with aggressive defense. How aggressive? The Red and Black had nine points at the ten-minute mark, and three of those came on free throws. In the final ten minutes before intermission, a Sherrard Brantley trey represented the only Bulldog bucket that wasn’t made from the charity stripe.

Georgia failed even to make one-quarter of its shots from the field in the opening 20 minutes (4 of 17) and managed only a 20 per cent success rate from beyond the arc (1 of 5). Were it not for the Razorbacks’ eleven fouls (and the Bulldogs’ resulting nine made free throws), the Red and Black’s ten-point deficit at the break would have been even worse.

Brantley picked up where he left off to start the second half, knocking one down from way downtown to put the Athenians at a football-like 28-21 disadvantage. Rickey Scott answered with a three-pointer of his own, but a Nemanja Djurisic layup and a Vincent Williams trey pulled the Hoop Dogs within five. That margin remained the same with fifteen minutes to play, but Anthlon Bell drained a pair of three-pointers to stake Arkansas to a 39-30 lead.

After Bell extended the home team’s advantage to eleven points, Georgia scored eleven straight in a three-minute span, tying it up at 41 with four consecutive free throws. The game then became a back-and-forth battle, as B.J. Young and Djurisic traded layups, Donte` Williams answered a Coty Clarke jump shot with a dunk, and Kikko Haydar and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope swapped three-pointers to make it a 48-48 ballgame with six and a half minutes remaining.

A Haydar foul shot and a Clarke layup put Arkansas up by three, but a trio of Caldwell-Pope free throws snarled the score once more, this time at 51, and a Marshawn Powell layup was countered with a Tim Dixon dunk to give both teams 53 points as the clock ticked under three minutes. Caldwell-Pope buried the trey that gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game, but Powell hit a three of his own with just under two minutes left.

Two free throws by Mardracus Wade were offset by two more by Caldwell-Pope to make it 58-58 with a minute to go. Powell bulled his way inside to make the tiebreaking layup, then Caldwell-Pope got the ball to fall on a toilet-bowl roll to knot the contest once more with scarcely 30 seconds showing on the scoreboard. Young scored the final points of the contest on the layup that gave the Razorbacks a 62-60 lead, and, after getting the ball back with five seconds to play, the Red and Black could not get the final shot to drop before the buzzer sounded, so Georgia came up just short following a valiant second-half effort on the road.

Rather than dwell on this latest squandered opportunity, I choose instead to move on to the pleasant part of the evening. I appreciated the fine entries submitted by Bernie, Cherokee’s Grip, IceeDawg, and NCT, but the honors went to Tyler Dawgden, who not only used all five terms from the last Weekly Weblogger Challenge, but also all five terms from the first Weekly Weblogger Challenge, as well. Add to that an NCT-approved purposeful omission of an Oxford comma and a sly titular reference to the point of origin of the Weekly Weblogger Challenge (and one of the common bonds Tyler and I share), and it became clear who had earned the trophy in a richly deserving field. Congratulations, old friend, and thanks, old friends.

Go ‘Dawgs!

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