Aggressive? Basketball Dawgs Say Yes

ATHENS – Terrance Woodbury said the ignominious bit of history that had been hanging over Georgia's head for the past week was never a big topic of discussion.

Sure, the Bulldogs knew they had lost a bunch of games in a row – 11 to be exact – but it wouldn't be a losing streak or position in the standings that would determine if this was the worst Georgia basketball team in history. It would be how his teammates responded to the adversity, and he was convinced they would find a way to win.

Just two losses shy of matching the worst stretch in the program's history, Woodbury got his wish last Saturday when Georgia upset division-leading Florida 88-86 to earn its first conference win of the season in a game that didn't mean a lot in the standings, but may have defined the Bulldogs' 2008-09 season.

"You win games, you lose games," Woodbury said. "Obviously we got caught in a bad streak, but I wasn't stressing about it. We just had to go out there and play better than we had."

Just days earlier, Georgia was demolished at Tennessee, finishing the game with more turnovers than baskets and turning in a performance that interim head coach Pete Herrmann said was easily the worst of the year.

On Woodbury was the game's star, notching a career high 32 points, but the beauty of the win, interim head coach Pete Herrmann said, was that everyone who set foot on the court played with an intensity the team had been missing in its previous 11 games.

"It's a real tribute to the kids in that locker room what they came back from. The meltdown they had (against Tennessee) was not good," Herrmann said. "We came out very aggressive, and that's the way we wanted to be in the game. I thought everybody contributed."

And that was the difference between Georgia's biggest win since its SEC tournament title a year ago and the 11 straight losses that had the team on the verge of history.

During the losing streak, morale was low and mistakes followed, but against Florida the Bulldogs' mind-set was different.

"We looked at each other in the eyes and we said we're not going to let this one slip away," point guard Dustin Ware said.

The change in attitude was obvious from the outset, Ware said. The team had more energy in the huddle and more confidence on the court, and the changes translated into a winning formula.

"I really feel that they trust each other more," Herrmann said. "They trust that they're going to make a good play."

What was once a bleak future for the Bulldogs now has a chance to be another miraculous conclusion to the season.

After playing four out of five games on the road to conclude the 11-game losing streak, Georgia hosts Auburn tonight at Stegeman Coliseum in search of its second straight victory. The Tigers (16-9) have won three in a row, but are just 5-5 in conference and are not expected to challenge for an NCAA tournament berth.

"We knew this stretch was going to be very tough," Herrmann said. "Now we are back home, we've played well at home, and we were ready to go."

Following their date with Auburn, the Bulldogs travel to Mississippi and Auburn with a home date against Vanderbilt in between. All three teams are below .500 in conference, providing Georgia with a chance to establish a far more positive streak than the one it ended with the win over Florida.

"We've just got to keep playing hard, and if we come out the way we did (against Florida), I feel like we're going to be fine," Woodbury said. "We were just over-the-top aggressive, and that's what we need."

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