This wasn't the first ugly basketball game that the Georgia Bulldoigs have had a shameful part in this season. But tonight's contest against the Alabama Crimson Tide was special, even for SEC basketball. From the midpoint of the first half to the latter half of the second, it was the Gigli of college basketball. The day old egg salad sandwich of college basketball games. If it had been a bowl of Halloween candy, it would have been those crappy stale peanut butter things that come wrapped in black and orange wax paper.
Really the only redeeming feature of this game was that, thanks to a Cam Forte jumper with 7 seconds remaining in overtime, the Hoop Hounds came out on top. If you had the Bulldogs' eighth leading scorer hitting the game-winner, well, you win the pool. But on this night, it sort of made sense. Nema Djurisic led all Bulldog scorers with 14, but he had an unfair advantage over Marcus Thornton and Charles Mann: he didn't foul out before the game's merciful conclusion. If Mann hadn't fouled out, Forte wouldn't likely have been on the court to take the game-winning shot. Forte also threw up an ill-advised shot to end Georgia's offensive efforts in the first half, much to Coach Fox's obvious consternation. Again, I cannot overemphasize how unlikely Cam Forte hitting the key shot of this game was.
But from the beginning this one was headed for a sloppy finish. While Georgia hit shots early that didn't last. At one point in the first half the Classic City Canines missed a mind-numbing 15 of 17 shots.....and came out of the stretch with a 7 point lead. Alabama really helped the red and black cause with turnovers (11 of them) and poor (51.6%) free throw shooting. If you're going to lose a basketball game, hitting only half your attempts from the charity stripe is a winning strategy. But there was plenty of basketblame to go around in Tuscaloosa. Georgia shot 37.9% from the field. Alabama 37.5%. In short, if you ever wanted to know what watching two blind men fight to the death with toothpicks would feel like, tonight was your chance.
That being said, a win is a win. This win moved the Bulldogs to 17-9 overall, 8-6 in the SEC. But more than that, it stopped the bleeding after back-to-back crummy losses to Auburn and South Carolina. While it wouldn't be fair to say that a loss would have eliminated the 'Dawgs from NCAA tournament consideration, it would have made things just that much more tenuous. Let's just be glad that the Tide missed 11 of 18 free throws in the second half so we don't have to worry about what might have been. At least until Wednesday night, when the Hoop Hounds travel to Oxford to take on the Ole Miss Rebels. Another conference road win would certainly look good on the resume. A loss would just make the Bubble Dogs that much bubblier.