With the biggest football game in what seems like forever tomorrow, the Georgia Basketball program had a pretty big game themselves tonight against Texas. With both big men out, Georgia looked to Damien Wilkens and Jonas Hayes to act as big men for the night, unfortunately for Georgia, Texas' big men proved to be too much.
The following are some thoughts about key players in the game and critical aspects of the game:
Damien Wilkens – shaky at first, Wilkens might be the difference between a Sweet 16 season or better for Georgia this year. He is a crafty player that makes his presence known on both sides of the court. His first half dunk was breathtaking, even more so when you take into consideration that he was running the point at that stage. His post moves are nice; he has great footwork. He is quite a complement to Jarvis.
Ezra Williams – he is still having trouble scoring off of the dribble, but he can still shoot, but he got cold in the middle of the game.
Jonas Hayes – will be a force when post players return. He can't do it all himself, and he was forced too on the inside tonight. That is one reason that Texas owned the boards Friday night.
Jarvis Hayes – this guy is good. The scary part is that with Wilkens in the game to help take some of the pressure off of him in terms of scoring, Hayes could explode late in the game because less of the scoring burden will be on him all game long. He too will be better when the big men arrive soon.
Rashad Wright – has proved that he can score; he moved Georgia out by 10 early in the 2nd with his spot up three. Great ball handling skills all game long; I don't think that presses will effect him or this team. Texas tried it, but it mattered none. I still really hate the one handed pass that he uses.
Mike Dean – has become steadier, but still took a wild shot in the 1st half.
Wayne Arnold – can shoot the spot up long distance jumper; but he looked lost on his assignments the rest of the game.
Man to man defense – Georgia did not use it much; only with the 5 starters in the game at the beginning and end of the game.
Zone defense – Harrick switched to the zone early in the first half and stuck with it from that point on for the most part. Georgia allowed way too many Texas offensive rebounds, but then again, the Horns are huge.
Half court offensive sets – Georgia looked good in the first half considering the fact that their 5 position was limited with only one true number 5. Georgia shot 54% in first half, but they were horrible in the second half from the field.
Turnovers – Wright provides steady ball handling skills for Georgia. And when he can't do it, Wilkens can and Daniels can too when he returns. Georgia had only 5 turnovers in first half.
Free throws – Georgia had more than its fair chance to extend its lead in the first half, but managed to shoot only 8-14. This team shot great from the free throw line last season; that had better come back soon this season or Georgia will lose games that they should win, like this one tonight.
Fouls – Jonas got into foul trouble (3 fouls) late in the first half. Georgia got Texas in severe foul trouble, but did not make the Horns pay from the free throw line.
Other thoughts – after building a 10-point lead, Georgia allowed Texas to erase the deficit and the Horns made a 19-4 run to take the lead themselves. Georgia had several opportunities to extend their lead at this point in the stretch, but shot only 50% from the free throw line.
Georgia also started the 2nd half shooting 2-13; they shot 54% in the first half from the field. Texas' big men were just way too much in the second half. For a stretch, Georgia could not stop Texas from scoring and that was due, at least in part, to the fact that Texas leaned on their big men to either keep the ball alive with an offensive rebound or by finishing off easy lay-ups. At one point, Texas scored on 10 of 12 offensive trips.
Georgia was within 5 points at the 3:45 break and at that point, Harrick switched to man-to-man defense. Georgia's defense forced Texas to miss, but every time that they did, it seemed that the Horns grabbed the offensive rebound and worked more time off of the clock.
Even still, Williams nailed a three pointer after Georgia struggled to get the ball from Texas. The 3-pointer narrowed the Texas lead to 2. But Texas' TJ Ford nailed a second fade away jumper to extend the Longhorn lead to 4.
Wright's free throws narrowed the Texas lead to 2, and after a series of fouls, Texas' Brandon Mouton made 2 free throws; they proved to be too much for Georgia. Harrick's technical foul at the end of the game only added to a frustrating night for the Dawgs.
Georgia had too many chances to lose this game. Even without big men, Georgia, had they shot their free throw with any decency at all, would have won this game.
Dean Legge can be reached here: firstname.lastname@example.org