Up only two coming out of the final media timeout of the game, and with their best player on the bench fouled out, Georgia’s other big men took over by crashing the boards and making the Colonials pay for not being as big (or as determined).
Mark Fox found a defense that worked, a 2-3 zone, and stuck with it during the second half. That move payed off as the hot-shooting Colonials had a one-point lead heading into the half, but became far too complacent offensively as the game moved on.
It was bad basketball. GW didn’t bother to move on offense, and non-moving offenses are a quick and easy way to lose.
And GW lost.
It was clear from the start that Georgia, loaded up with Yante Maten and J.J. Frazier, were the better, more talented team. But the Colonials fought hard - giving the Bulldogs a real test until the Dawgs surged to the finish line in the final four minutes of the game.
That’s when Maten, who continues to show his dominance, fouled out. No matter, the Dawgs still got the 81-73 win over GW and are headed to a can’t-lost game almost certainly against No. 5 Kansas on Tuesday night.
UGA can thank Derek Ogbeide for his efforts tonight - his ten points and four boards is the first time this season a player other than Maten or Frazier ended a game with double-digit scoring. Maten and Frazier had 18 each.
This might be a formula moving forward - beating up other teams with Georgia big men; particularly on the offensive boards. The Dawgs had 40 points (about half of the total) from the paint; GW only had 18. This is what Georgia should do from here on out… pound the ball inside with Maten and the boys - knowing that that’s their best way to get a win each night.
I guess GW thought it could continue to shot-make the entire night… sorry boys, you ain’t Duke. You have to move around a little.
Nonetheless, Georgia might not be the most talented team (they were tonight), but they have a slew of inside bangers… big dudes who can go beat up the other team and wear them down. That won’t be the case against Kansas Tuesday night, but again, that’s a no-lose situation for the Dawgs.
Perhaps this team found its way tonight - that close without Maten was a very encouraging sign after three games of blah. UGA was clearly more interested in getting after it down the final stretch than GW was. Then again, UGA’s future foes likely won’t sit on the perimeter and pass the ball around without moving… that’s what killed GW tonight.
But Georgia went out and won this game at the end without its best player. That’s not nothing.