Outfoxed – Dawgs Fall to Belmont 78-69

Shorthanded Dawgs Can’t Handle the Bruins

Just before the game, it was announced that Yante Maten and Juwan Parker were ruled out of the game due to aggravations of various injuries – Maten’s knee and Parker’s achilles tendon.  As a result, the Dawgs lost the battle of the boards and were out shot from 3 pt land by a wide margin (45.2% – 23.5%).  UGA’s last lead was 4-3 at 17:41 of the first half; they were able to tie the game one last time at 2:37 of the first half on a Tyree Crump 3 pointer.  The Dawgs couldn’t generate enough offense or get enough defensive stops to get back into the game.  For some reason, the Dawgs played the whole game in various half court defenses, rather than showing a sense of urgency and attempting to pressure Belmont.

Watching the game, one could sense that UGA did not have it in them tonight; they never generated any momentum.  The Dawgs could never find a defense that clicked.  Maten’s inside scores were not available, so no scores came easily.  It was a sad way to send JJ Frazier out, though he scored 29 pts in a losing effort.  JJ was given an ovation when he was taken out of his last game in a UGA uniform and said afterward, “It was nice to know that the fans appreciated my hard work.  I put my heart and soul into this university.  If you were to cut me open, my blood would be red and black.  I love Georgia.  Its nice that my efforts didn’t go unnoticed.”  Unnoticed?  Hardly….  His will be huge shoes to fill in coming seasons.  JJ will go down as one of the greatest ever at the University of Georgia.  He has been a joy to watch for 4 years, which went by too quickly.

Turtle Jackson and Crump joined JJ in double figures with 10 pts each, but it wasn’t enough to match the balanced attack of the Bruins, who put 4 in double figures.  Rather than going out with a bang, the season ended in a whimper, much like the rest of the season played out.

Classy in victory, long time Belmont coach Rick Byrd said, “It’s a tough blow for those guys not to have Maten.  I figure that we started out plus-33 points in this game because I think that’s what he got against us a year ago.  He played phenomenal, and I think we would have had a really hard time guarding him.  I love winning this game, don’t get me wrong, but I am such a fan of Mark Fox and the job he does and the kind of person he is.  I know that’s a tough loss.  We’ve lost home games that have mattered before.  Home games that the perception is that you’re not supposed to lose that game just because of levels or something like that.  That’s tough that he didn’t have all his ammunition with a couple guys out – they’re just not the same team without them.  That doesn’t diminish any effort that we gave or how well we played.  That was perhaps our best game of the year.”

UGA ends its season 19-15, while the victorious Bruins move on to Atlanta to face the insects from Georgia Tech.  The Dawgs are left to ponder what might have been and to consider the future.  The UGA hoops faithful bid a fond farewell to seniors JJ Frazier, Kenny Paul Geno, Houston Kessler and Brandon Young.  Given his injury, one cannot help but wonder whether we may have seen the last of Juwan Parker, as well.  And Yante Maten could perhaps declare for the NBA draft.  In any event, next year’s team will look much different.

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6 thoughts on “Outfoxed – Dawgs Fall to Belmont 78-69

  1. Well I’m starting to come to the reality Fox can’t win at UGA PERIOD. The majority of Fox’s success at UGA has been due to a very weak conference with bad coaching. He can’t recruit he’s only been in the top 25 one week in 8 seasons and his overall record against top 25 teams is pathetic. The SEC is getting better and I find no reason to be optimistic for next season because it will be the same mediocre crap. Honest question for all UGA fans are you actually optimistic for next season? And why?

  2. Thanks for the quotes from Byrd, I hadn’t seen them. Classy guy.

    It was fun to watch JJ play. He certainly got the most out of his abilities. What does the future hold for him?

    With Parker already graduated, I assume he’s gone as well. He seems to have other dreams than basketball. I suspect he’ll be successful whatever he chooses.

    I hope Maten comes back but can see why he would leave. That knee sprain has got to weigh on his decision.

    Turtle, Crump, Harris, Wilridge and Ogbeide seem like a good starting 5 for next year. What do you think the team looks like next year?

  3. Rick Byrd is a good coach, always has players who can shoot the three. Fox game plans are always boring and controlled.
    My question did he play Maten in the SEC tourn. hoping they could win more games and then decide they didn’t want to play him because the NIT wasn’t important? Just wondering, since none of this came out until an hour before the game.

  4. I expect us to be better defensively next season, the question is can we produce enough offense to make it matter? We really lack perimeter threats. But Turtle, Hightower, Crump, and Harris give us a lot of size and athleticism outside, with Wilridge and Diatta as options on the wings, Hammonds, Claxton, Maten, Ogbeide, Edwards. That’s a lot of long athletes right there, depending on what happens with Parker (if it’s a severe issue, perhaps he calls it a career and we have room for 2 this spring to add to Hightower).

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