Another Tough Home Loss

ATHENS – Georgia will have to use the rest of conference play to improve its NCAA tournament resume.

Its last chance to do so outside the league slipped away on Tuesday night – in fairly familiar fashion.

It was another close loss at home to another good team, this time Xavier, 65-57.

On its face the loss to Xavier (17-6, ranked No. 24 in the RPI entering Tuesday) is no shame. But added to recent home losses to Tennessee and Florida, it means the Bulldogs (16-7, No. 36 in the RPI) will need to make up ground the rest of the way.

"When tournament time comes these are the type of games that they look at and see which games we've won and which games we've lost," Georgia star Trey Thompkins said. "We've gotta have some wins our resume so that we can I guess have some respect when that time comes."

Thompkins (14 points, nine rebounds) fouled out with 2:42 left with his team trailing by four. It was a controversial call, as Thompkins appeared to be pushed into a driving Xavier player.

But the game was trending against the Bulldogs at that point anyway.

After Georgia led by one at the half, and by five early in the second half, Xavier took control with an 11-2 run. Its leading scorer Tu Holloway, held scoreless until there was 13:37 left in the game, proved nearly unstoppable down the stretch, finishing with 18 points.

Georgia once again struggled with its outside shooting (2-for-13 from beyond the arc). Its interior defense dipped in the second half, and the offense couldn't create open shots.

"They came in here and beat us," Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. "And we didn't play well enough to win, period."

Still, Fox was visibly upset with several late calls. The first was the fifth on Thompkins, which allowed Holloway to extend the lead to six on free throws, and took away Georgia's best player.

"I was pushed in the back, I feel like, and I fell to the ground," Thompkins said. "It happens. My teammates, I have enough faith in them to finish up games, it just didn't happen tonight."

Another call, a charge against guard Gerald Robinson, led the fans to get irate enough to throw complimentary towels – none of which reached the court. After the game Fox hesitated and said the calls were "just the breaks of the game."

Georgia's seven losses have come by an average of seven points, and two of them went to double-overtime.

But Fox resisted the idea that the Bulldogs have trouble winning close games against quality teams.

"We beat some quality teams too," he said. "I mean just because all of our losses have come against good teams doesn't mean we can't beat a good team. OK, Kentucky was a good team. UAB was a good team, OK. Arkansas was a good team, and we beat them in the last minute. … It's not that we have some major problem against these teams late because we've beat some of them."

And in order to make the NCAAs, the Bulldogs will have to beat more of them down the stretch.

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