Georgia Basketball not finishing the drill

ATHENS – Of all Georgia's problems on the basketball floor, there has been one consistent truth that has doomed it for more than two weeks -- down the stretch, the Bulldogs' offense goes down the tubes.

In each of its last five losses, Georgia has finished the game not just cold but well below zero on the offensive end.

In a 61-55 loss to Kentucky on Tuesday, the Bulldogs scored three points in the final six minutes, 29 seconds, and that was a desperation 3-pointer with 15 seconds remaining.

Against No. 4 Tennessee three days earlier, Georgia didn't score in the final three minutes, 33 seconds and lost by three. Same story in losses to Florida, Vanderbilt and Kentucky again.

Georgia's coaching staff can sense a lack of confidence from the team at crunch time, associate head coach Pete Herrmann said, but there also are more tangible issues.

"It's a matter of when you get to that stage in the game, we would like for our players to make the other team guard," Herrmann said. "The more you make them guard, the better chance you're going to have of getting fouled or getting the ball close to the basket or getting the ball to a good spot for an open shot from the perimeter. We get a little anxious because of the situations that have happened previously and maybe we take a quicker shot or maybe we think we're half open and take that shot."

The Bulldogs missed eight straight shots in their six-minute drought against Kentucky on Tuesday.

"I thought the shots were fairly open, but they were quick," Herrmann said. "You talk to the players and each one of them thinks they can make the big shots."

The players are beginning to feel the pressure and push because of it, starting shooting guard Zac Swansey said.

"I think recently everybody is trying to do a little more than their role," he said. "Everybody is pressing a little more to put the ball in the hole, and we just have to relax."

That won't be easy today, when Georgia (12-12, 3-8 SEC) plays No. 20 Vanderbilt (22-4, 7-4) at 4 p.m. in Nashville, Tenn. While senior point guard Sundiata Gaines has been terrific from start to finish throughout the SEC season, Georgia hasn't had anyone else step up in crunch time, Herrmann said.

"We have to have stronger play inside from Jeremy Price and Albert Jackson late in the game and be able to get a strong three-point play or basket in there," he said. "Terrance Woodbury has had open shots that we haven't converted in that stage."

Georgia does not light up the basket at any point in the game – no team is averaging fewer points in SEC games – but its flailing down the stretch is extreme even compared to its regular pace.

"It's frustrating," Swansey said. "We play 35 hard minutes and compete and then at the end of the game it seems like we have a hard time. I'm not sure if it's due to fatigue or what. We're just not scoring. That's as simple as you can put it."

Last Five Losses

Feb. 19 – Kentucky 61, Georgia 55
n The Bulldogs scored three points in the game's final 6:29 and that came on a Zac Swansey 3-pointer with 15 seconds left and the game out of reach. Feb. 16 – Tennessee, 74, Georgia 71
n Georgia pulled within three points with 3:33 left in the game but didn't score again. Feb. 9 – Florida 77, Georgia 67
n The Bulldogs scored down in the game's final three minutes but were undone before then because they scored only three points from the 11:59 mark to the 3:12 mark of the second half. Feb. 6 – Vanderbilt 67, Georgia 59
n Georgia trailed 58-57 after two free throws by Sundiata Gaines with 4:59 left in the game, but it scored just two more points. Feb. 2 – Kentucky 63, Georgia 58
n The Bulldogs led 54-53 with 5:19 remaining but scored only four more points in the game.

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