3 Takeaways: Georgia Tops ETSU

ATHENS – Dean Legge's three takeaways from Georgia's basketball game with East Tennessee State.

1. Penetration is missing Georgia's ball handlers are going to have to figure out how to more effectively drive the ball if this team is going to have success in the conference part of the season.

The team struggles on the offensive side of the ball – and not being able to penetrate consistently is a big part of the problem. No basketball team, none, will be able to win all of the time when depending on the jump shot. That's why driving the ball is so very important in the sport.

With more than 7/8ths of the game complete Georgia had attempted one free throw.

One. That's not good enough. It is a sign of being too passive with the ball offensively.

Vincent Williams is playing better, but driving the ball is not his game. Georgia is going to have to figure out how to get into the paint with the ball. That's what Gerald Robinson did so well in his time at Georgia. He created situations that were conducive to scoring. Georgia needs to find out who their Gerald Robinson is this season and use him.

But that's going to be a fight. Quite frankly this criticism is going to be a challenge to overcome. This is the number one reason Georgia struggles to score. This team has only scored over 60 points once in the last five games – that needs to improve.

It should be pointed out that Georgia shot 63% from the field, and that's pretty impressive. But more driving will help this team in the future.

2. Georgia is playing better – Its not rocket science. Sometimes what you see on the floor is not great. But sometimes it's better than the result on the scoreboard. Georgia has played better in the previous three games (ETSU, UCLA and Indiana) than it did in its first three outings (Southern Mississippi, Youngstown State and Young Harris).

The challenge from this point forward is to build on the better play. Georgia's defense against ETSU was pretty solid. The visitors shot only 17% from the floor in the first half. By halftime the Bulldogs had a comfortable 31-13 lead. That's three games in a row with a halftime lead. If you are doing the math at home you would rather have a halftime lead than not have one. But as Mark Fox pointed out after the game, the Bulldogs have to play 40-minute games – not 32-minute games. Tonight was a step in the right direction on that front.

Also, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hustles for loose balls. When the best player on your team is willing to dive on the floor and run into the stands for the ball that's a really, really good thing. Most players of KCP's quality are divas… he's not.

3. Georgia's inexperienced players are improving Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and John Cannon are improving and have improved enough in the short season to the point that it is noticeable. One can also include Vincent Williams in this category, but he's a senior.

Cannon has developed a reliable little hook shot he now deploys to put the ball in the bucket. Mann, who seems to be missing an outside scoring threat, is a capable ball handler. He was a bit shaky before the trip north, but he's played well of late.

Kenny Gaines could be a very, very good SEC player over time if he can develop a bit more. No one on the team can jump with him, or contains the explosiveness he does. He's not played a ton of minutes, likely because he's backing up KCP, but he could be a pretty good asset in the future. He's a poor man's Travis Leslie.

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