Deflating Loss for Dawgs

In the first half Georgia looked like it was headed to the Sweet 16.

16 minutes into the second half the Dawgs were left gasping for air as Arkansas turned what had been a 13-point Bulldog lead to a four-point deficit - deflating growing expectations that these Bulldogs will work their way into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011.

Needless to say: this wasn’t the start to the SEC season Georgia fans were hoping for.

Is this loss a season ender? No.

Will this loss cost Georgia an NCAA bid? Not necessarily, no.

This was a shot for these Bulldogs to prove that they are what RPI rankings make of them, and it was given away with head scratching turnovers and a stagnant (and at times non-existent) second half offense. The defense? All too often Georgia’s perimeter defense failed - over and over the Hogs nailed jumpers near the top of the key to claw back and eventually take the lead and the game.

Georgia’s defense seemed either confused or uninterested in stopping that area of the floor. Maybe Georgia got off to too good of a start - that can happen in sports. Usually when you shoot 58% from the field in the first half you slow down in the second, and that’s what happened with the Dawgs.

That and Bobby Portis, who led the Hogs with 21points. Georgia managed to turn the ball over 17 times - way too many turnovers to expect to win. The turnovers eliminated what was an excellent night of rebounding - a 40-25 Bulldog advantage.

Yes, Arkansas played much better in the second half, but this one is on the Dawgs. Losing a game where you out rebound the other team by 15 boards is not common - not at all.

Why did Georgia lose this game? Start with the turnovers, and add to that the deflating offensive performance in the second half, and you’ve got a loss. But its hard to think that the Bulldogs are going to be able to get away with Nemanja Djurisic leading them in scoring this season. Three times Djurisic has led the way in scoring this season, and Georgia has lost two of those three games.

Djurisic is a junkyard dog - not a show dog. As soon as he’s the person these Dawgs turn to things just feel out of balance… at least to me.

This team needs to be led by either Charles Mann or Kenny Gaines. Those two are the best players on the team - they need to get the job done, but Djurisic had nearly as much production in the box score as those two guards tonight.

That’s not a recipe for success - at least not sustainable success in a 18-game SEC schedule.

All is most certainly not lost, but we are about to see what this team is made of… quick.

Rest assured that games at LSU, at Vanderbilt and vs. the Gators is as challenging as it gets in this league. None of those teams are going to feel bad for Georgia… and these Bulldogs shouldn’t feel sorry for themselves, either.

Those of us in the media have a way of making things bigger than they can be sometimes, but this sure seems like as big a three-game stretch for Mark Fox and Georgia as it gets this season.


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