This is going to be just about as truly instantaneous and ill-informed a roundball wrapup as you have ever seen around these parts. The game went to overtime, and, as you know if you followed the open comment thread, I had a Chick-fil-A milkshake with supper and I am now very much in the throes of the comedown from the ensuing sugar rush. This sensation is quite conducive to my mood in the wake of a basketball game the Georgia Bulldogs lost but should have won.
The Fox Hounds launched shots by the boatload, putting up 92 heaves from the field to just 75 for the hometown Vanderbilt Commodores. The Red and Black weren’t less effectual than their hosts with the shots they launched, either, ringing 46.5 per cent of their 71 two-point tries and 47.6 per cent of their 21 three-point attempts. The Music City Sailors performed similarly, sinking 45 per cent of their 60 field goals and 46.7 per cent of their fifteen shots from beyond the arc. The Classic City Canines scored 42 points in the paint to the Commies’ 28.
What, then, was the Hoop Dogs’ problem? The Athenians were trebly troubled, and you could have guessed what two of the three difficulties were. First of all, Georgia turned the ball over eleven times, resulting in fifteen Vanderbilt points. Secondly, the Bulldogs’ lack of depth came back to bite them (again!), as the Red and Black blew a late lead (again!) and the Georgia bench was outscored 20-15 by the Commodore reserves.
The third and final reason the Fox Hounds were doomed came as a bit of a surprise, though: Georgia’s field goal shooting was inferior to Vandy’s, both in quality and in quantity. The Bulldogs went to the charity stripe just 26 times (as opposed to the Commodores’ 39 trips to the line) and sunk just 69.2 per cent of what are supposed to be easy baskets. Vanderbilt drained 35 free throws, shooting at an 89.7 per cent clip, and that was the difference in an otherwise even game.
It was an impressive effort for much of the contest, but, in the end, the Bulldogs continued to be bedeviled by the problems with which they have struggled all season, and, more maddening still, they lost because they performed poorly in a phase of the game at which they consistently had performed well. The turnovers and the lack of depth wouldn’t have mattered if the Georgians had performed up to their usual standards at the free throw line.
Don’t take my word for it, though; all of you know basketball better than I do, and this game and this season were summed up succinctly in this exchange between RedCrake and DawgGirl32:
But best away game we’ve played all year.
If that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.
When can "progress" start including "winning?"
I mean some of the losses have sucked, but we did beat Vandy earlier in the year and if you’d told Georgia fans at the beginning of the season that we’d beat 3 — almost 4 — top 25 teams, most wouldve been thrilled.
It is frustrating, but we can see that CMF has his team doing (mostly) the right things.
When it was looking good for the road team, I was thinking that, if the lead held up, I might begin this writeup with these words: "Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a basketball team." Well, ladies and gentlemen, we still have ourselves a basketball team, it’s just on back-order and won’t arrive until some point in the future. Until then, we just have to hang on and be patient while this team figures out how to close the deal.
While we’re waiting, it’s going to be frustrating, and these games are going to continue to do to our spirits what the aforementioned Chick-fil-A milkshake is doing to my body, producing short-lived manic euphoria followed by a swift descent into languid numbness. It’s going to be aggravating and enervating for a while, but this team is this close. Just imagine what it’s going to be like when the Bulldogs learn how to finish what they’ve started. It’s worth sticking around to finish what we’ve started while they put it all together.