In the first eight minutes of the game, both teams combined for six team fouls, 11 turnovers and multiple scoring dry spells that lasted for two and three minutes at a time.
Georgia was the much better, more athletic squad in McCamish Pavilion tonight, but it took them until halfway through the second half to establish dominance against a relatively bad Tech team. At times, Tech’s pressure and zone defense flustered the Dawgs into bad decisions on offense - shooting 11-35 (31.4%) from the field and turning it over eight times.
With Maten and Frazier only combining for nine points in the first half, the Dawgs got their offensive production from Derek Ogbeide (10 points, 7 rebounds) and Jordan Harris (6 points) - leading Tech at the half 27-18.
They played much better in the second half, extending their lead to as much as 17 points, but it still wasn’t the brand of basketball that Coach Fox wants to carry going forward.
”We were pleased to be ahead, we didn’t think we played very well. We were really emotional and I did a poor job keeping us calm. We were wound up, and for us to have the lead we were very fortunate,” said Fox of his team’s performance in the first half.
After taking control of the tempo and game in the second half, it became clear that Georgia was the better team. Even with the win on the road against the in-state rival from the ACC, Georgia is still absent of a win they can hang their resume on come tournament selection season - because Georgia Tech showed zero signs of getting tournament consideration come April.
Despite only scoring five points in the first half, Yante Maten extended his 26-game double-digit scoring streak to 27 with multiple trips to the free throw line, and he even led the Dawgs in scoring with 16 points.
“When you can win and your best players aren’t great, that’s a positive step … but I don’t think we're completely there yet, there are a couple more steps we need to make to be consistently good. I think there’s significant growth in this team that we can make,” said Fox before wrapping up his postgame press conference.
The Dawgs (8-3) will travel next to Michigan to face the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (9-1) on Friday, December 23rd at 7:00 PM on ESPN3 - the second to last out-of-conference game for Georgia. A victory against this mid-major opponent would look nice on UGA’s tournament resume before SEC play starts in Auburn on December 29th.