Stop me if you've heard this one: Saturday afternoon in Columbia Mark Fox's Georgia Bulldogs overcame a sluggish start to salt away yet another conference win.
It's become the theme of the 2014 season, such that it's no longer even really surprising to see the Hoop Hounds eventually get it together shooting, for their opponent to go cold, and for Fox's hounds to eventually collect their bonus at the foul line for all the calls they've drawn early in the game.
And so it was again. The Dawgs went into the half tied with the Gamecocks then stormed out of the locker room on a 16-0 run and never looked back. Admittedly, it helped when the Gamecocks flopped out to start the half by missing their first 16 shots from the field. Kenny Gaines dropped a career high 27 points, and Marcus Thornton posted his third double-double of the season (12 points and 10 boards). They were joined in the double digit scorers' club by Brandon Morris, a rare multi-pronged scoring attack for the 'Dawgs.
The win takes the Hoop Hounds to 15-11 overall, besting their win total for all of 2013. That's an accomplishment in and of itself. At 9-5 in the SEC, Georgia has the inside track on third place in the league, especially if they can take down Missouri in Athens on Tuesday night. While that early awful start still likely keeps the Athenians out of the postseason absent a trip to the SEC tournament final, a season sweep of likely tournament team Mizzou would certainly justify at least including Georgia in the discussion.
Coming into this season we were wondering how the 'Dawgs would manage to beat anybody without Kentavious Caldwell-Pope filling up the basket. Now Donte' Williams is the only significant contributor who isn't likely to be back in 2014-15. While there's still some basketball to be played in this season, there's every reason to believe that Mark Fox may have finally turned a corner in Athens. Until later . . .