Georgia has their first Home Loss of the Season against South Carolina in a pitiful display.
If today’s game was an indication, this team really likes the idea of having extra games at Stegeman Coliseum in March. It was a sad display of Basketball from a team that could accomplish so much more. Mark Fox deserves a lot of the blame for stifling the team’s energy level and failing to inspire the team to play with aggression. The bizarre part was the game plan was the right one on the offensive end and nobody wanted to actually execute it at all. When facing a Frank Martin coached team, your team has to match their intensity and if your team is going to play scared, disinterested or lazy this is the result to expect.
The atmosphere at Stegeman Coliseum was a cross between WCW’s infamous 1995 Pay-Per-View Collision in Korea, which took place in North Korea and the fans attending a Japanese wrestling event. The North Korean event was a packed stadium of 190,000 people (technically slaves, North Korea is a massive slave state) that were forced to be there and they did not know what they were watching. It was also like watching a crowd at a Japanese wrestling event content to be silent and wait for something definitive to happen.
However, there was conflicting information as far as the attendance. ESPN and surely the UGA Athletic Association would claim an attendance of 10,523. However, the notes on the official statistics managed by StatBroadcast said something else.
It was a game where nobody associated with Georgia really wanted to be there and showed that enthusiasm today. It will haunt the team going forward and the struggles continue for the Dawgs.
There were three things that really stood out in this game and they made a huge difference between South Carolina getting this bizarre win and a workman-like Georgia win.
The Pitiful Rebounding Effort
Georgia has struggled on the glass for much of the SEC slate and this continued into today against an overmatched frontcourt of South Carolina. However, the fundamentals were lost and the energy to fight for the loose balls was not there. One team was willing to fight for every ball and the other team thought they were too good to get their hands dirty. It was plainly obvious in the First Half, which was a horrible display from Georgia on the glass in front of a favorable crowd that only bought tickets in advance expecting to see the Georgia Football Team honored at Halftime with a National Championship Trophy.
Georgia grabbed 13 total rebounds in the First Half, which provides absolutely no context on its own. However, South Carolina’s First Half rebounding stats bring everything into full color.
South Carolina had 13 offensive rebounds. The Gamecocks matched Georgia’s effort on the glass on just one end of the floor. In fact, South Carolina won the offensive glass in the First Half 54.17% of the time. That’s horrifying.
South Carolina was able to get 17 points combined from second chance points and turnovers. They were playing with more effort and Georgia was not willing to do so. It was an early sign that Georgia was going to lose their third straight game to Frank Martin’s Gamecocks.
It turned around a bit in the Second Half, but the damage was done. Offensive rebounds and more shot opportunities means more opportunities to get to the Free Throw Line, South Carolina had 8 more attempts in the First Half. It becomes really easy to explain how a team with a 30.3% Field Goal shooting percentage and 23.1% Three Point Shooting Percentage can be up 8 on the road.
The Failure to Execute on the Pick and Roll
It really was not a Pick and Roll, it was a Pick and Drift Without any Purpose. Two guys execute action in the offense very briefly, one dribbles in a lateral fashion across the perimeter and the screener has the equivalent of a smoke break while everyone else stands there thinking that what is going on is absolutely normal. That’s not Pick and Roll Offense. The pattern repeated itself until a really bad jump shot or a horrible play on the low post was made.
Some of the blame goes on Derek Ogbeide, Yante Maten and Mike Edwards for doing absolutely nothing after the screen. However, it is possible they are instructed to do that for some reason.
However, the majority of the blame belongs with Turtle Jackson and Mark Fox.
It’s Turtle Jackson’s Fault Because…
Turtle refused to dribble the Basketball below the three point line off a screen until the game was already in-hand for the Gamecocks. What is the point of the Pick and Roll if you’re not going to provide any sort of a legitimate threat to attacking the basket whatsoever? It made it easy to defend Turtle on the perimeter.
There were clear driving lanes should Turtle chose to accept or reject the screen. There were opportunities to set up shooters and actual ball rotation that would force the South Carolina defenders to move and get out of position to make a defensive play. However, Turtle was content to stay in his shell.
It’s Mark Fox’s Fault Because…
He didn’t pull Turtle for not being aggressive enough and setting up bad opportunities on the low block for his posts. The position that the posts had was absolutely dreadful and the shots set up were from bad angles and it was easy to defend.
It was shaping up to be a game where Teshaun Hightower would shine with his ability to quickly attack the lane and either get to the rim or knock down floaters like he has done in the past. However, Fox was trying to play it safe with Turtle and he got burned for it. In fact, Hightower was playing well on defense and he still was yanked.
Fox also deserves blame for not getting into his posts for not doing anything effective after the screen. They served no purpose and the screens meant absolutely nothing.
The fact that two guys can be involved in a play and the other three on the floor can stand around and do nothing is absolutely disgraceful. South Carolina was overplaying on defense, but nobody was reading the defense without the ball. Movement without the ball is not a natural thing to a team that is so used to running the same contrived sets on repeat. When the game plan changes, this is a foreign concept to this team.
It’s like the team is being held hostage and needs to be deprogrammed.
Free Throw Shooting
As messed up as everything was in this game, Georgia had opportunities to come back and take this one away from South Carolina. In the First Half, Georgia shot 8 for 9 from the Free Throw Line, which is good. However, the number of attempts are lower than what one would want from this team. However, in the Second Half there was an obvious lid on the score that kept Georgia from getting a lead against a team with inferior talent.
Going up to the Free Throw Line and bricking every other shot is not going to help this team come back in the game. The number of attempts is encouraging, but missing the attempts was incredibly discouraging.
Now Georgia goes to LSU on a quick turnaround game on Tuesday. Unfortunately for Mark Fox, Football Season is over and people may actually watch a game or two while waiting for the weather to warm up just enough to justify going to their local golf course instead of paying attention to a sport they never cared about in the first place.
Happy Birthday Mark Fox.