Harrick concerned about defensive breakdowns

Georgia ranks last in the Southeastern Conference with its average of 73.6 points allowed per game, but before Wednesday night it had not given up more than 83 points all season.

Georgia coach Jim Harrick said Thursday his 15th-ranked Bulldogs were "a little shaken up'' after giving up a season-high 94 points in a loss to Vanderbilt Wednesday night.

 The Commodores shot 57.7 percent from the field, including 56.3 percent on 3-point tries, in the 94-91 win over the Bulldogs.

 Georgia ranks last in the Southeastern Conference  with its average of 73.6 points allowed per game, but before Wednesday night it had not given up more than 83 points all season. In fact, Georgia had not allowed as many points in three years - since a 101-89 loss, also at Vanderbilt, in 2000.

 "I was certainly disappointed in some of our guys' performance and our defense and things like that,'' Harrick said Thursday.

 But Harrick saved his sharpest criticism for himself.

 For the second straight game, Harrick allowed Jarvis Hayes to play more minutes than planned even though Hayes continues to struggle with a left hip flexor injury.

 After playing 35 minutes and scoring only 12 points on 3-for-12 shooting against Auburn last Saturday, Hayes played 33 minutes and scored 14 points on 6-for-14 shooting at Vanderbilt.

 Said Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings of Hayes: "He was slowed considerably.''

 The injury affects Hayes' jump shot - he was 0-for-3 on 3-point attempts Wednesday night - but perhaps of more concern is his reduced quickness on defense.

 "(Hayes) just can't get down and guard anybody,'' Harrick said. "I'm really disappointed in me that he logged the minutes that he did.''

 Added Harrick: "I really shouldn't have played him as much as he did because he was really ineffective and that's really my fault.''

 Harrick stopped short of detailing his possible options for Saturday night's home game against Mississippi State.

 Hayes is the defending SEC scoring champion, and Harrick may find it difficult to find a way to keep the junior off the court.

 Georgia (12-5 overall, 4-2 SEC) is third in the Eastern Division, and Florida (17-2, 6-0) and Kentucky (15-3, 5-0) are lapping the field.

Florida has won 13 straight games, Kentucky has won nine straight games, and fourth-place Tennessee (10-6, 3-3) is only one game behind the Bulldogs.

 Harrick could use Hayes in a reduced role and increase the minutes for sixth man Damien Wilkins, but against Vanderbilt Wilkins fouled out after playing only 22 minutes.

 Georgia also lost Chris Daniels and Ezra Williams to fouls while trying to find a way to guard Matt Freije, who scored 31 points on 11-for-15 shooting.

 A bright spot against Vanderbilt was the play of Georgia backup Richard Wehunt, who scored 16 points in only 15 minutes.

 Wehunt, a 6-foot-4 senior, could join Williams as the starting wing players Saturday. That could take some pressure off Hayes and still leave Wilkins available to play his usual roving role on the wing and as a backup point guard.

 After the Mississippi State game, Georgia will have a week off before visiting Tennessee on Feb. 8. That break in the schedule could give Hayes a chance to rest the injury, but two or more weeks away from action would be needed to give Hayes time for a full recovery.

Dawg Post Top Stories