Georgia started off the game horribly on the offensive side of the ball. The first couple of entry passes into the post were not clean and resulted in a scramble for the ball. For the second consecutive game Georgia went into the first media timeout without scoring a basket. The problem for the Dawgs this time was that their opponent was not held scoreless; State was up 11-0.
Georgia moved from a man to man to a zone defense after going down 6-0. But after State got an easy lay up and moved their lead to 8-0, Felton was forced to use a time out to regroup. It did not seem to matter what sort of defense that the Dawgs were in.
Georgia gave State's offense way too many chances. Numerous times during the game State was able to grab offensive rebounds or force Georgia turnovers before the Dawgs could secure the ball.
During Georgia's scoring drought in the first half I counted only two times that a Bulldog got significant penetration into the State defense. Damien Wilkins scored Georgia's first points… with penetration to State's left block. He was fouled and converted a three point play to make the score 19-3.
Georgia's offense in the 1st half looked stale and unimaginative. They looked like they were forcing shots and they were not moving well at all. All too often in the first half the team was settling for jump shots rather than driving the ball or getting it inside. None of these Georgia players are good enough shooters to settle for jumpers.
Down 23-10, Georgia dropped into a ¾ court press. The change up resulted in two quick turnovers but the Dawgs were only able to convert one of the two opportunities. Also, Georgia's 2-3 zone was effective against State. It slowed their offensive production significantly.
The freshmen players need to start passing the ball quicker and with more consistency. There were several chanced that the team had to score but the ball was not delivered on time or accurately.
In between his two three-point field goals, Markus Sikes rode a State big man out of bounds while boxing him out. Sikes' rebounding performances have looked stronger as the season has gone on.
Jonas Hayes seemed to be forcing the turnaround baseline jumper against State. It is a shot that he can hit, but it was not in his arsenal today.
Georgia allowed two different long ally-oops in two different defenses; both the man to man and the 2-3 zone. The State player simply got lost in Georgia's defense and made his way to the rim undetected both times.
Georgia made the game manageable by the half outscoring State 22-14 after being down 19-0.
"I was proud of the way that we fought back and made it a game. I was pleased with us fighting back but they were more intense than we were," said Georgia Head Coach Dennis Felton.
Georgia opened the 2nd half more organized and in better offensive shape than in the 1st but it still appeared that Georgia was forcing the ball inside. Stukes left his feet with nowhere to pass or shoot several times during the game. That is something that he needs to work on.
After Rashad Wright's 4-point play Georgia moved back to the ¾ court press. The switch forced another State turnover but Georgia was not able to convert. The ¾ worked against State but Georgia did not score enough to force State to deal with the press.
Georgia was given tons of chances to get back into the game, but they did not take advantage of all of them. Georgia is not the type of team that can come from behind. They must play a steady game full of defense and working the ball inside on offense. They were not successful at either today.
"I think that we made mistakes and had critical breakdowns at those times," said Felton of Georgia's chances when the Dawgs had it down to single digits several times during the game. "We missed a lot of makeable shots both inside and makeable threes," added Felton.
Georgia allowed State to have way too many points inside. State outscored Georgia by more than double in the paint.
This Georgia team can not expect to win in the SEC without offense. Sure, they may have played the majority of the best schools at this point in the SEC (Kentucky, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi State) and while that is difficult enough if they plan on winning they must have the ability to score more than 60 points in a game.
Georgia's defense can be overpowering at times but it never seems to catapult them into converting on offense. They lost their top two scorers from last season. Someone besides Rashad Wright must step up each game to give Georgia hope on the offensive side of the court.
How do you get more offensive production? Drive the ball or get it inside. Make the easy pass, not the difficult one. Convert opportunities when they come your way.