Dawgs try to shoot better

ATHENS – Really good shooters, like Billy Humphrey, go into slumps. It happens to all of them. They also tend to speak in euphemisms to avoid talking about those slumps. "I'm in between my shot right now," Humphrey said.

That's how the Georgia freshman describes his 28 percent shooting in the Bulldogs' eight SEC games. As late as the Dec. 28 Clemson game, Humphrey was leading the team with 12.6 points per game, but he's averaging just 4.8 points in conference games.

Even in Wednesday's 88-79 win over Alabama, when the Bulldogs (13-8, 3-5 SEC) topped 80 points against a conference team for the first time in the Dennis Felton era, Humphrey hit just one of his five shots. He's averaging 1.4 made shots per SEC game.

"I felt like I couldn't miss, and now I can't buy a basket, but it'll come," he said. "I am getting good looks, but it's not happening. Sometimes the ball will tease me and go in and come back out. To me, that's good shot."

His next chance comes today in a 5 p.m. game against Vanderbilt (12-6, 3-4) in Memorial Gym in Nashville, Tenn. There's no question Humphrey is going to keep taking shots.

"As long as I'm shooting it, then I'm fine," he said. "When I lose a bunch of confidence in it, I stop taking shots."

Sometimes, though, "just that little twinge of confidence can make a difference," Felton said.

Humphrey is averaging 8.7 points headed into the Vanderbilt game. He scored more than 10 in seven of the Bulldogs' first eight games but has done it just twice since. Felton doesn't believe the upgrade in defense during the conference season is a factor in Humphrey's slump.

"It's not like he's not still getting any quality looks in a game," Felton said.

The downswing also corresponds with a leg injury Humphrey suffered just before the start of the conference season. Humphrey, who had his leg shut in a car door, didn't miss any games due to the injury, but it "could have disrupted his rhythm," Felton said.

"I don't like to make excuses, I really don't, but it's hard to say," Humphrey said.

It's more likely that Humphrey is hitting the freshman wall, the time of year when new college basketball players begin to tire from the longer schedule.

"He's a freshman on a young body that has played a lot of basketball right now," Felton said.

"He could just be tired."


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