Georgia had 5-6 players with Food Poisoning and one was completely out of action.
In possibly one of the most important games of the Mark Fox era, nearly half of the team has food poisoning of some kind. It certainly did not seem like a built-in excuse for Mark Fox, but the same flaws that have plagued Mark Fox coached teams reared themselves again after building up a 12 point lead. The “Play Like You Have Food Poisoning” sign was ready to be printed and installed at Stegeman Coliseum, but the lively and energetic style of play gave way to passivity, jump shooting, poor footwork, immaturity and fouling. Break out the Pepto Bismol like Mike Edwards probably did and read on.
Georgia had such a strong start, but despite building up a 12 point lead failed to truly capitalize on the shooting problems that San Diego State had. The Aztecs were going to progress to the mean and getting as large of a lead as possible was paramount. Many points and a few possessions were just left on the table.
Georgia became too jump shot happy from the 18:05 mark to the media timeout in the first half. Georgia was up 6-0 and could have made the hill to climb much higher. Here are the shot attempts.
- UGA MISSED JUMPER BY #00 JACKSON II
- UGA MISSED 3PTR BY #13 WILRIDGE
- UGA MISSED TIPIN BY #01 MATEN
- UGA MISSED TIPIN BY #01 MATEN
- UGA MISSED 3PTR BY #01 MATEN
Five attempts in three possessions. When the shots are designed this way and when the posts are not playing strong or are not allowed to play strong, it becomes an issue.
When Georgia goes cold goes for eight minutes, the comeback is insurmountable. However, for an opponent to go cold against Georgia, this team does not score efficiently so it makes the deficit far less scary. Mark Fox has not instilled a killer instinct in his team, which naturally results in blown leads and lost composure. The good news was that the lost composure came in the First Half, which meant that there was recovery time and a termination of the game on a rough note.
Georgia had a 64-63 lead late in this game (it was the 4 Minute media timeout with 3:39 left to go) and yet again Mark Fox’s team cannot close one out when it matters. Mark Fox’s half-hearted approach and disdain for the 2-3 Matchup Zone carries over into the team’s version of it. It should not be so easy to dribble penetrate against the 2-3 Matchup Zone, but yet San Diego State was able to burn Georgia with drives from the wing and corner while nobody communicated at all.
Georgia has such an abundance of size and length that it makes absolutely no sense that a zone defense cannot be more disruptive. However, it is a familiar sight to see in a Georgia Basketball game.
Get used to the ESPN graphic with the close losses in February, this game will be included in there and it will be part of the reason why this team may be biting their nails on Selection Sunday. There’s no asterisk on this game, the game happened.
In the last 3:39 of this game, this team played like a team in which the moment was too big for them. This is a team with two NBA Draft picks and has experience with a coach in his 9th Year at an SEC program. There should be some sort of a preparation to close this game out. Instead, Georgia took nothing but jump shots until Teshaun Hightower made a layup when forcing his way to the basket and skipping any sort of a set with 49 seconds left.
Bad shot selection, poor sets and stalling to get everyone into position while facing an opponent who now knows what will happen next in the final minutes of the game is why Georgia comes up short like this so often.
Yes, San Diego State took jump shots too, but should this game really be determined by which team can make a jump shot? Is this really the choice a coach wants to make?
San Diego State was jumping the High Post and playing as physical as they could with Yante Maten when he was in the Low Post. However, the High Post Action as part of the Modified Triangle Offense is being sniffed out so easily that the possessions get lost and it turns into a ball screen action that has nobody on the same page. It has been this way for a long time in the Mark Fox era.
San Diego State jumping Yante Maten at the High Post and when he had back to the basket at the top of the key caused problems and it resulted in a Flagrant Foul. The short, meaningless passes along the perimeter that travel 4-5 feet, have no progress and little rhyme or reason behind them often do result in turnovers.
The number of mid-range shots attempted was horrifying and only 9 shot attempts in the restricted arc will not cut it. Once again, Georgia is terrible at finishing on second chance opportunities. 9 points on 11 offensive rebounds is unacceptable. The team only scored 18 points in the paint and this is a team with one of the deepest and most talented frontcourts in the country.
The Georgia Defense was in Zone for much of the game. How does Georgia allow San Diego State the ability to score 34 in the paint, get 15 second chance points, 18 offensive rebounds and 20 attempts in the restricted arc? This is the story of the game.
San Diego State was cold from three point range. They shot 15.8% from the outside, but they physically dominated a very passive Georgia Basketball Team. Officials or no officials, the Georgia Frontcourt played passive and the Backcourt just let their guys beat them off the dribble.
Turtle Jackson had his best performance at UGA and shined through while this team played like they were neutered. Food poisoning or not, there was energy in the first four minutes. Why did this fail to carry through?
The NCAA Tournament Committee is not going to care about a bad restaurant choice. They will see the loss, the opponent, the opponent’s RPI and the venue. That’s it.
This is a team that could end up dropping the next two games and returning back to Athens with a 4-3 record, nobody saw that coming? However, this is how Georgia Basketball works. It’s the same story every time. Struggle in non-conference action, Fox makes excuses, local media runs puff pieces, another loss to add to The Streak in Gainesville, a loss that should never happened in conference play, a bizarre moment or two, Mark Bradley weighs in with a meh article that he wrote on the toilet, the SEC Tournament provides some glimmer of hope if there is a run, Georgia comes up one game short in Nashville, Greg Gumbel does not say ‘Georgia’, Dick Vitale pretends a particular program is screwed over by the Selection Committee, Matt Schick says that Georgia hosts an NIT game while praising the importance of the tournament, and then Georgia bows out in the first or second round against an opponent with a much more dynamic style of play and greater skill. Everyone forgets about this entire sequence of events because Spring Football.
There, that’s just repeating history. That’s the misery of Georgia Basketball. There’s no One Shining Moment. That One Shining Moment does not belong to you in Athens and it never will. It is purposely designed that way, it’s not a cruel curse of fate, it’s an intentional act of cruelty by those in charge.
That sour stomach feeling, that feeling of familiarity. It will not change until there’s a complete turnover in who makes the decisions.
It’s the amazing feeling you get when a three point shot is made that could swing momentum back to Georgia is immediately followed by an inexplicable timeout by Mark Fox.
All the lip service, all the “hype”, all the nonsensical talk around the program. Knowing that nothing can be said to change the status quo.
So much talent and likely a season flushed down the toilet. History repeats itself with Mark Fox. The only hope is that maybe this will pass and the next generation of Dawgs will take charge in Butts-Mehre with a radically different philosophy.
Just be impressed that this article intertwined the symptoms addressed by Pepto Bismol into this game.