Dig In and Dig Out

Georgia won its game with LSU before it lost it, which it can thank to questionable if not bad late-game decisions.

Crippled without timeouts during the final moments of overtime and double overtime, Georgia failed to score in its final two possessions of each inning of free basketball during the 87-84 loss in Baton Rouge. The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 0-2 in SEC play. That Mark Fox had no timeouts at those pivotal moments is hard not to notice after a defeat.

In the first overtime, Georgia had what seemed like an insurmountable eight-point lead with 1:16 to go. But by the time the Dawgs’ final possession was in hand they had surrendered that eight-point lead thanks to LSU converting three three-point plays… three… in the final 1:08 of the first overtime. Two of those (and this makes it worse to some degree) were old fashioned three-point plays.

That’s where the late-game decisions came into play. With four seconds left in the first overtime, Charles Mann was dribbling at mid court before finally driving left and throwing the ball cross court to J.J. Fraizer, who missed his three pointer with an air ball.

It wasn’t the way to close the game - not at all. It was disorganized and chaotic.

It stood in stark contrast to the close of regulation when it seemed like the Dawgs knew exactly what they were doing. The muscled their way back into the contest and tied it thanks to Kenney Gaines driving the lane and getting close to the rim. He missed his shot, but that’s when, down 67-65, Marcus Thornton tipped the ball in to send the game into overtime.

It seemed Georgia had saved itself, but it had not.

For future reference: driving to the lane is always better than any jump shot at the end games. So many more things can go right by driving - getting fouled, passing to an open man and making a layup or closer shot - than taking a jumper; or as it is often called - settling for a jumper.

In the second overtime the Bulldogs grabbed the lead early again, but this time they ran out of steam. They scored 15 seconds into the second overtime, but didn’t score for another three-plus minutes. After LSU went up 86-82 with two minutes to play Fox called time to stop the bleeding. It was his final timeout. Once more the Dawgs were left without to the ability to stop the clock with a timeout. After LSU’s Jalyn Patterson missed the tail end of his free throw shots Georgia had another, final chance to tie the game.

In what can only be described as a mad scramble, Mann again had the ball at mid court with four seconds remaining and again drove the ball to his left. He faked into the air, where he may or may not have been fouled during a three-point try, and lost possession of the ball.

Georgia, which seemed to have won the game in overtime, lost it for sure in double overtime.

Some things still need to improve… free throw shooting in critical situations; possessing the ball needs to matter more to Georgia’s guards late in the game (20 total turnovers - that’s a lot… any turnover late is bad); Fox was without a timeout during all of the critical parts of the overtimes - namely when Georgia had the ball tied with ten seconds to go and down three with ten seconds to go… those are things it is hard not to notice when you wonder how and why Georgia lost this contest.

Unlike the story I had just finished that will never see the light of day that talked about Georgia’s great come-from-behind win over LSU - all is not lost. I can’t really say that all is lost. But things have gotten pretty serious here all of the sudden.

Georgia has not defeated Vanderbilt in its last eight tries and has not won in Nashville since 2006. That’s the next game these Dawgs play on Wednesday. After that it is the suddenly-surging Gators in Athens.

Must win games? Georgia can’t start the SEC season 0-4 - I know that.

If that happened it would drop their overall record to 9-7, and realistically expecting to get to the NCAAs with Kentucky on the schedule twice and a road trip to Gainesville means Georgia had darn sure not lose another game somewhere along the way it should have won… and this is conference basketball - you are going to lose one or two along the way.

Its time to dig in. Disappointment? Sure, but it is time to dig in and dig out of trouble. Its not like these guys are not working - anyone who is outrebounding teams by 16 rebounds is working (18-8 in offensive rebounds is impressive).

Working is not the program. Winning, all of the sudden, is, and that’s going to have to change.


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