On Wednesday night, for the second straight outing, the Georgia Bulldogs held the edge at intermission following a sluggish first half, but both offenses heated up after the break to turn a slugfest into a shootout. In the end, the Red and Black blinked, the better team prevailed, and the Vanderbilt Commodores emerged victorious by a 64-56 final margin.
After being held in check in the first half, John Jenkins came alive in the final 20 minutes, pouring in 21 points to spark a Vanderbilt run that erased a 13-point Georgia lead. The Commodores won the battle of the boards, pulling down 49 rebounds to the Bulldogs’ 32, which allowed the Black and Gold to overcome 32.3 per cent shooting from the field (21 of 65).
To the extent that the offensive numbers appeared relatively even, it was because the visitors heated up while the home team went ice cold. Ultimately, Vanderbilt out-shot the Red and Black from beyond the arc, going 12 of 25 (48.0%) from downtown while the Athenians went nine of 19 (47.4%) from three-point range. Georgia held a slight edge in two-pointers, hitting 19 of 53 such shots (35.8%), but the Bulldogs couldn’t buy a basket down the stretch, when the Music City Mariners displayed poise and resiliency in the face of adversity and the Classic City Canines panicked and collapsed. This, in short, was a replay of last Saturday’s embarrassment, only against a good team this time.
Once again, the Bulldogs had their opportunities, and, once again, they squandered them. There are only so many "must win" games you can lose before it no longer matters whether you win or lose, and this Georgia team, unfortunately, has passed that point of no return. This Georgia team isn’t going to the NCAA Tournament, and for the very simple reason that this Georgia team doesn’t deserve to go.
The Diamond Dogs open their season at Stetson on Friday evening at 6:30. David Perno’s Georgia baseball team is picked to finish fifth in the SEC East. Maybe this will be the first Red and Black team in recent memory not to fall short of expectations. At this rate, I wouldn’t bet on it, but it’s time to move on from this disappointment to the next.