Athens - With the visiting UNC Asheville Bulldog's in town for the regular home opener. The other Bulldogs also lost their first game of the season on the road to Virginia Commonwealth last week. Coming off a NCAA tournament appearance last season out of the Big South conference as a 15 seed, UNC Asheville is a mid-major team with postseason experience that looked to derail the Dawg's season before it really gets going tonight in Stegeman.
With the resources available and the athletes at hand, Georgia was expected to handle the visiting Bulldogs - but the challenge would be tougher than their dress rehearsal exhibition against Fort Valley State.
Against Clemson, the Dawg’s dug their own grave with a bevy of turnovers and bad shooting from the free throw line. Turnovers were still an issue with the offense as they try to find an identity and establish a rotation. Turning the ball over 17 times overall and six more than the opponent, Fox did recognize the need to cut those down after the game.
"Offensively we're going to be a work in progress for awhile, defense was better...it was a mixed bag of turnovers tonight, it was not unusual for this early in the year, but we need to get them down."
With the number of substitutions that were made, the inability to score from the bench kept the opponent within striking distance for most of the game. The bench was outscored 17-6, and only made 3 of 12 shots.
After a timeout at the 8:47 mark, J.J. Frazier did what seniors are supposed to do and took charge of the offense converting a three-pointer and field goal from the elbow on two of three possessions to stretch the lead back to a double-digits. From this moment, the Dawgs never looked back, winning 60-46.
What does this win against UNC Ashville mean?
UNC Asheville only has one win against a major conference team in the last three seasons - beating Georgetown last December during the Hoyas down season, so the Dawg's avoided an upset that would hurt tournament chances. This win isn’t going to be a game that Georgia will brag about as a quality out of conference win come tournament selection time, but avoiding bad losses to mid-majors at home is important for making the tournament.
Georgia will take the court again on Thursday for their third game in the opening week of the season as they face the Furman Paladins in Stegeman Coliseum at 7:00 p.m.