Over and out

As he sat in front of his designated locker, Cam Forte reached behind his head and snagged the electric blue NCAA March Madness name card from where it was Velcroed.

Shortly after, Kenny Paul Geno helped Kenny Gaines pull the small blue NCAA circle patch off the left shoulder of his black jersey.

After losing 70-63 to the Michigan State Spartans, the Georgia Bulldogs’ postseason journey ended with one sloppy game in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I am not satisfied with what we did. We didn’t win. Just making it here wasn’t good enough, and it’s tough,” sophomore J.J. Frazier said.

In the days leading up to the game, everyone talked about freshman Yante Maten and assistant coach Matt Bucklin’s family ties to Michigan State. People talked about Charlotte being “familiar” since the Bulldogs last trip—you know, four years ago— to the NCAA tournament landed them in Charlotte. And, of course, fans and anyone with interest in Georgia hoops couldn’t wait for Kenny Gaines to be back in action.

But when the Bulldogs, the lower-seeded team coming from a “football school,” tipped off against the Spartans, a whole new conversation started.

As Georgia struggled to make buckets and were scrambling all over the floor, very literally, the avoid racking up turnovers, it wasn’t a question of who was the better team, but if Georgia could beat the better team.

The usual suspects (read: Gaines and Charles Mann) scored in the double digits. But Gaines was still not 100 percent healthy and got into foul trouble early, limiting what he could do.

The guys with the most to lose, the ones who were fighting for one more chance to play in their red and black jerseys, were two of the biggest forces on the court. Marcus Thornton walked away from his final game as Bulldog with one last double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) and a team-high assists (3), while Nemanja Djurisic led the Bulldogs in rebounds (12).

Frazier, who normally provides the Bulldogs with consistent scoring, shot 0-for-7.

“I was just missing. It was frustrating,” Frazier said. “ Just one of those days where I couldn’t hit a shot.”

Maybe he left his lucky mask back in Athens?

As each player endured postgame interviews, where they had to rehash specific plays, the game and the season as a whole, there wasn’t devastation per se on their faces. Disappointment and exhaustion, sure. But the Bulldogs gave it all they had.

And all they had was enough to fight back within three points in the final minute to a well-coached, talented Michigan State.

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