Dawgs Never Really in the Game
Big Blue Nation was probably pretty confident going into the game. UGA had only beaten UK once in the SEC ever – that was in the miracle tornado year of 2008. It must be said that their confidence was not misplaced. The Wildcats never trailed in the game. Indeed, the Dawgs first possession was a sign of things to come. It terminated in a shot clock violation, soon followed by a basket by UK. Derek Ogbeide answered inside for the Dawgs, but UK followed with a 3. Two 3s. And the Dawgs shots wouldn’t drop. 8-2 UK, then 10-2 at the under 16:00 timeout. Slowly, inexorably, increased the lead to 13. At the under 4:00 timeout, a stat was shown on TV that JJ Frazier and Yante Maten were a combined 1-9. Still, the Dawgs showed some resilience and pulled the score to within 7 at the half. 32-25 Ogbeide had 10 rebounds at the half. But the shots just weren’t falling. Another TV stat showed UK had scored 9 pts in transition, 19 pts against UGA’s man-to-man defense, and only 5 pts against UGA’s zone defenses. I wish a certain coach would take note of that statistic.
In the second half, UK’s lead fluctuated between 17 pts and 10 pts the entire half. The Dawgs could never hit enough shots to significantly cut into UK’s lead. The Cats had an answer every time and held the Dawgs off 71-60. The usually reliable JJ Frazier had only 12 pts on 3-16 shots from the field and 0-3 from 3. The Bulldogs (19-14, 9-9 SEC) were led offensively by JJ and Maten with 15 and 12 points, respectively, and no other Bulldog could reach double figures. This was Frazier’s 30th double-digit scoring performance this season, while Maten did so 26 times. Sophomore forward Derek Ogbeide matched his career-high rebounding mark with 15 boards. UK’s guard, Briscoe and Fox, had 20 pts each to lead the Cats. The Dawgs held their own on the boards 42-42, and the turnovers were relatively close 13-10, though UK scored 18 pts off UGA turnovers, while the Dawgs could only muster 2 pts off UK floor mistakes.
This writer cannot conceive that our Dawgs will be invited to the NCAA tournament, with no truly good wins on the resume. More than likely, UGA will be headed to the N.I.T., as a pretty high seed. Many will be encouraged by the fact that the Dawgs are 1 win from the “magical” 20 win mark (though one of the wins is over Div. II Morehouse). Yet, are 20 wins a real accomplishment when you play 34-35 games a season? If AD Greg McGarity is to be believed, Coach Mark Fox will return for a 9th season next year. Can the Dawgs improve on this season’s performance without JJ to lead the way? We have months to discuss that topic here on the GBB.