Outside obligations kept me away from this afternoon’s basketball game, but I was in the company of fellow Georgia fans, because, hey, I have good taste, and one of them paused momentarily to check the score, which, frankly, I figured would have gotten completely out of hand by that point, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was competitive. In the end, though, Mark Fox’s Georgia Bulldogs fell to the Vanderbilt Commodores, 61-52.
Frankly, when I saw before I left the house that John Jenkins had made a bucket from downtown to give the Music City Mariners a 3-0 lead 38 seconds into the first half, I thought the game was over, but a Dustin Ware trey tied the game at five per side with 17 and a half minutes to play before intermission. Thanks to a Vincent Williams three-pointer and a Gerald Robinson jump shot, the Classic City Canines held a football-like 14-10 lead inside the twelve-minute mark.
Poor Vanderbilt shooting in the first half allowed Georgia to retain the lead for a while, with Ware bumping the Bulldogs’ advantage up to 21-16 with just under eight minutes to play in the opening period. A Donte` Williams dunk two minutes prior to halftime broke a 25-all tie, and the Red and Black headed to the locker room up by a 29-28 score.
A Jenkins jumper inside the 17-minute mark in the second half snarled the score at 33, and a Robinson trey and a Nemanja Djurisic layup staked the Fox Hounds to a 38-35 advantage before the Commodores went on a run fueled by Jenkins, three-point baskets, and, sometimes, both. When we got to the TV timeout with slightly less than eight minutes remaining, Georgia trailed by ten, and the margin was never thereafter nearer than six.
The Hoop Dogs simply could not hang with a deeper, better Vanderbilt squad for a full 40 minutes. Though the Georgia bench outscored the Commodore reserves, 12-10, the Red and Black could not overcome the fact that Gerald Robinson’s 19 points made him the only Bulldog who scored more than seven. A poor Commodore performance in the early going enabled the Athenians to keep it close for a while, but, at the end of the day, though the spirit remained willing, the flesh continued to be weak.