Georgia struggled mightily out of the gate, only leading at halftime 40-37, but appeared to find a groove in the second half, knocking off Gardner-Webb, 77-59. The Dawgs managed to capitalize on GW's foul trouble much better in the second frame, allowing them to build a 15+ point lead and never look back. There are still signs of inconsistency on both ends of the court, but encouraging performances by the bench (Diatta, Edwards, and Harris combined for 26) should leave Mark Fox with some positives to look upon.
The Good: Pape Diatta had a very productive first half. I have been preaching all year that Georgia desperately needs someone outside of Maten and Frazier to step up on the offensive end. If Diatta can consistently contribute double figures while playing effective defense, the Dawgs may be able to avoid their horrifying scoring droughts they have had a propensity of falling into.
The Bad: Rebounding. For a team that held a relatively solid size advantage over, Georgia boxed out and rebounded very poorly tonight. Ball watching played a large factor. Maten and Edwards often were too concerned with where the ball was and lost position on their man.
The Concerning: Georgia has had the problem early of playing to the level of their opponents. While that did result in a quality win over George Washington and a relatively competitive contest against Kansas, it has thwarted them against inferior opponents Gardner-Webb and Furman. If Georgia wants to be a good basketball team, they will have to develop consistency.
The Improving: While Fox seems to be shortening his bench from 12-13 to 9-10, it is good to see have about 10 players that can function in SEC competition. To win games that will improve their tournament resume, those role players must continue improving, but it is more promising than it once appeared to be.
JJ Frazier (#30): His body control is still truly impressive. Splits the double team better than most, especially those of his size. Like against Kansas, he will struggle against larger back courts. Still, he played well tonight and did not have to play the entire game.
Turtle Jackson (#00): In my opinion, when Georgia does face those larger back courts, Fox should run Jackson at the point, allowing Frazier to mover more freely and come off of screens. If he cannot do that, there may be an inability to move the ball around the perimeter as the season wears on.
Tyree Crump (#4): Still seems to have not found his role yet. The kid is a quality shooter, maybe a bit streaky, but if utilized properly, he could provide a real spark off the bench.
Juwan Parker (#3): He still has not managed to grasp the concept that the offense is not set to run through him. His shooting percentage must increase to justify the amount of shots he is attempting. Parker was 3 of 7 on the night for 7 points.
Jordan Harris (#2): In the same spot as Diatta. Harris coming into his own could really develop a bench presence. It appears that Fox is more comfortable with Diatta and Harris over Geno and Wilridge.
Pape Diatta (#5): Diatta was a very bright spot for the Bulldogs tonight, especially in the first half. He ended the game with 9 points. As written earlier, he could elevate the Dawgs to their potential if he can assume the role of the third scorer.
Mike Edwards (#32): Another quality performance from #32. He finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds. I think Edwards has solidified himself as the third big man on the team. If he can finish around the rim and become a mild threat from 10-12 feet, he will significantly diminish Houston Kessler's playing time.
Yante Maten (#1): Have you watched the New Orleans Pelicans play recently? It's a bit like watching Anthony Davis struggle without any true consistent help. The offense must be run through him, but he needs to be more effective from the free throw line. If not, may cost the Dawgs in closer games. Maten finished the night with 16 points and 9 boards.
Derek Ogbeide (#34): He still has one play every single game that makes you question his hand-eye coordination. Ogbeide has improved on watching the shot when it goes up and actually boxing out his man. Fox needs to get him more polished on offense to function as a legitimate complement to Maten in the front court.