Marquette, a team that came into Sunday’s game without a win of significance, came to Athens and won 89-79. The Golden Eagles did it with more enthusiasm and interest at the start of the contest than UGA.
And that’s really the problem - Georgia isn’t so talented and Stegeman isn’t such difficult a place to play that the Bulldogs can try to coast against legit foes like the guys they faced Sunday.
Once more, J. J. Frazier and Yante Maten powered the Bulldogs with 46 points, but their combination was not nearly enough to deal with Marquette’s balanced shot making - ten Marquette players scored - or their interest in rebounding - Marquette outfought UGA for rebounds 42-31.
Lots of things can happen bad and Georgia still win a basketball game, but getting out rebounded by ten isn’t one of them.
“We didn’t do the dirty work to win,” UGA coach Mark Fox said after the game. “We’ve not rebounded for ten days. We have to get back to doing the dirty work.”
Sounds like one of those practices where the ball is live when it goes into the stands is about to happen. It might be time for one
And did the Golden Eagles ever make shots. Marquette sunk its first six three-point attempts - seemingly a warm up for a day that included 13 threes. Three Golden Eagle starters finished the day in double digits - Katin Reinhardt came off the bench and added 12 more points.
And Marquette bench, led by former Duke point guard and accomplished floor diver Steve Wojciechowski, was as feisty from their seats as the guys on the floor were good at hitting long jumpers. Marquette hit eight three-point balls in the first half - and they partied every time the ball went through the net.
“Their offense is significantly better than our defense right now,” Fox added. “We are not the defensive team we need to be right now. We need to guard somebody.”
In the second half Marquette hit another five 3s - the final one extended the Golden Eagles’ led to 13 just before the 4-minute media timeout in the second half.
Georgia tried to adjust. Georgia even pulled within five in the second half, but sometimes the other team is better, and the other team was clearly better today. That was the case even though the Bulldogs were listed as a three-point favorite in Athens (perhaps a surprising number), Marquette was clearly better from the start of the game on…. Vegas missed this one.
This was a double-digit home loss Georgia didn’t need. Losing is one thing, but getting out rebounded the duration of the game and at some really inopportune times was a killer for the Dawgs. Georgia was just plain out hustled, which is a real problem when playing a team that certainly appeared more talented.
So where from here? The trip to Georgia Tech just became huge. The Jackets were pummeled by a 3-3 Tennessee team Saturday. Losing in Atlanta is a non-starter for a program looking to get into the post-season.
Obviously too, the amount of winnable games that matter just decreased by one. Make no mistake, folks will look back at this game later in the year and note who won and by how much. And, too, at what point is this team going to play well at home? In five home games, these Dawgs have looked crisp once.
Also, UGA’s two four-star recruits, Jordan Harris and Tyree Crump played a combined two minutes today. So its not like this loss came at the expense of playing younger, rawer players. Georgia needs to start playing better. Period. This team may be trying to figure itself out, but there’s not a ton of time before its going to be too late.