"You know you can play with these guys, and you try to compete, but it just gets frustrating when guys aren't coming out competing every day," senior guard Corey Butler said. "It's just really frustrating."
Georgia will travel to South Carolina today still looking for its first conference win against a Gamecocks team that has won four of its past five games.
While South Carolina appears to be gelling after a slow start to SEC play, the Bulldogs are headed in the opposite direction. After an 18-point loss to LSU – a game in which Georgia trailed by just four at halftime – the Bulldogs stopped just short of finger pointing, but offered plenty of indications that all is not well inside the locker room.
After a disastrous second half against LSU, freshman Trey Thompkins, who failed to score in the final 20 minutes, said some players became selfish, failing to make the extra pass. Senior Terrance Woodbury said others softened on defense as the team struggled to find points on the offensive end.
"We took off our defensive intensity, and we've just got to get over that," Woodbury said. "Guys we're playing are good every night. We know we're going to have lapses as far as scoring, but defensively we've got to stay tough."
In Dennis Felton's final games before being fired, he switched up the lineups more often, and interim coach Pete Herrmann has continued to give minutes to players who hadn't played as much early in the year. The new look of the team may be playing a role in the on-court frustrations, freshman point guard Dustin Ware said.
"I see everybody in practice and, and everybody is playing well, doing what they do," Ware said. "I think a lot of it is maybe just the chemistry right now. That's weird to say because it's late in the year, but certain lineups are a little different and guys aren't used to playing together."
Ware has been one of the beneficiaries of the revised lineups, topping 29 minutes in each of his past four games, but he said if the struggles continue, everyone on the roster should be willing to accept a new role if it means the team can finally come away with a victory.
"We're just trying to get a win right now," Ware said. "If that means putting certain guys on the floor and cutting down certain minutes, I think everybody on the team is willing to do it because we all just want to win."
After so many problems and shake-ups, that first win begins to seem like an insurmountable obstacle, but Butler said it's simply a matter of the team refocusing its efforts.
With just a month left in the season, time is running short, and Butler hopes the Bulldogs can look past their struggles and make a spring for the finish line.
"We're basketball players, and we still have to play basketball," he said. "That's what we have to realize, that we have to stay together. The only thing we have left is a 10-game season. You might as well give it your all."