3s could get Dawgs to NCAAs - or prevent it

ATHENS - Are the Bulldogs hot or are they not? That's an important question when looking at Georgia's 3-point shooting percentage.

When the Bulldogs are making their 3-pointers, things generally end well. But when the threes aren't falling, don't expect Georgia to win.

Georgia is second in the SEC shooting threes, making 37.9 percent.

The Bulldogs are 6-2 with losses to then-No. 1 Florida and at Alabama when they shoot above that average.

But when the Bulldogs shoot below their average from behind the 3-point line, they are 1-4. The only win was against Kentucky, when Georgia shot 22.7 percent.

That's the same 3-point percentage Georgia shot at Ole Miss on Wednesday, a season-worst scoring performance in one of the most important games the Bulldogs have played in a long time.

Georgia went about 10 minutes without making a field goal in the second half , scoring one point during that stretch. The team missed 10 field goal attempts over that period.

"We've certainly had games in the league where we have not shot the ball well," head coach Dennis Felton said. "That's made it more of a challenge for us."

Felton said in addition to the shooting problems, the team didn't not execute its offense well or match Ole Miss' defensive aggression.

It was nothing more than an off night, junior forward Takais Brown said.

"We all got kind of selfish," he said. "A lot of time when your shot's not falling, the thing you do is keep shooting until it falls. That's the shooters' mentality."

Taking bad shots, though is not a problem for the team, Felton said. In fact, most of Georgia's 3-point shots are good looks.

"I wouldn't put too much of (the shooting problems) on (there) being to many contested shots because I don't think we take too many of those," he said. "Sometimes we take a little more than we should because we might take them a little quicker than we should."

Georgia won't have an easy time correcting its shooting problems this afternoon against Mississippi State in Athens.

The visiting Bulldogs are second-best in the league defending the 3-point shot. The team is also one of the best in the SEC, Felton said.

"I think they're a beast," he said. "I think they're playing great basketball right now because they are highly athletic and explosive and strong and physical."

Mississippi State presents him with the biggest challenge and are the most talented team besides Florida, Felton said.

The game could also mean a lot for Georgia post-season plans. Georgia must win its final three games to finish above .500 in conference play, and likely won't have an easy time at Kentucky or against Tennessee.

Both Bulldog teams look very similar, holding the same overall and conference record (16-10, 7-6) and are next to each other in the RPI with Georgia at No. 61 and Mississippi State at No. 62. They appear to be in a similar position in regards to tournament standing and are about equal in most stat categories.

"We got to win," Brown said. "We have to win from here on out."

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