Georgia jump shot their way to victory over #21 Saint Mary’s.
Tonight, the Georgia Backcourt stepped up while Food Poisoning still plagued the team. This was a shocker in many senses not just because the Georgia Backcourt set the tone offensively, but the team won despite leaky defense and inability to handle Saint Mary’s ball movement and movement without the ball. Saint Mary’s controlled the tempo, the restricted arc, the paint and yet could not come away with a win. Georgia just shot the ball very well from the least ideal spots on the floor and typically shot attempts in the non-money zones are a sign of a team likely taking a loss, but this time was very different. This was an incredibly important win for Georgia, but a 6-0 start would have been much more preferable. In pure coincidence, the last time Georgia knocked off a #21 ranked team, it took an Overtime to get that big win in the face of adversity.
A lot of things had to go right for Georgia to win this game.
- Tyree Crump was in the middle of a cold streak and that was snapped today.
- Juwan Parker was knocking down mid-range jump shots with consistency.
- Turtle Jackson had to continue his strong play.
- Turnovers had to be avoided.
- Saint Mary’s could not get hot from three point range.
- Saint Mary’s had to play the same quality defense that they played against Washington State.
These things worked out for Georgia and while this is a big win, this is not something that this team could rely upon going forward. Tyree Crump will not go 4/7 from three point range every night, he came into the game 21.7% from beyond the arc. Crump as mentioned is not a great shooter and certainly not the team’s best shooter, he’s a STREAKY shooter. Juwan Parker cannot be expected to knock down every mid-range jump shot that he attempts.
Coming into today’s game, if Saint Mary’s was said to have let this Georgia team take the shots that they did, it would have been considered a double digit win for the Gaels.
Georgia shot in the non-money zone 18 for 33 (54.54%) today, this is far higher than their typical performance of 38.3%.
Defensively, this team cannot let opponents score in the restricted arc without abandon. It was far too easy for Emmett Naar or Calvin Hermanson to pass it into Jock Landale on the low block for a left-handed baby hook off the glass OR a backdoor cut on one of the Georgia perimeter defenders. Saint Mary’s is the most sound Half Court Offense that this team will face, but Marquette is a very different challenge for this still beleaguered perimeter defense.
58 points in the paint for Saint Mary’s and 13 offensive rebounds is bad enough, but 34 attempts in the restricted arc is a defensive lapse. There was a lot not to like about the rebounding. Saint Mary’s is a smaller team than Georgia, but they controlled the glass and were able to get second chance points. Georgia is not closing out defensive possessions and second chance points are still a bit of challenge, but today’s performance was better than Friday’s against San Diego State.
Turtle Jackson has shown greater consistency on the offensive end, especially from the perimeter and this could be relied upon going forward, but to expect Tyree Crump and Juwan Parker to repeat this performance on a regular basis is unreasonable. This team did what underdogs do to win the game, hit sub-optimal shots. The program was overdue for a game like this and it happened today.
The Shot Chart would indicate that Saint Mary’s optimized their shot profile and Georgia did not, but on some days, the shot selection does not always indicate the winner. On most nights, the Blue Team would win because the shots are taken in a higher percentage location.
There’s much for this team to work on going forward, even though this is a MAJOR WIN. Cannot be stressed enough, this is the BIGGEST WIN for this program since January 8, 2014. This is one of the BIGGEST WINS for Georgia Basketball in 15 years, which says a lot for what this program has done.
Biggest Georgia Basketball wins since the Jim Harrick scandal:
- #21 Saint Mary’s 83-81 in Fullerton, California (11/26/2017)
- #25 South Carolina 69-56 in Athens, Georgia (2/2/2016)
- #21 Missouri 70-64 in Columbia, Missouri (1/8/2014)
- Kentucky 72-62 in Athens, Georgia (3/7/2013)
- #12 Florida 76-62 in Athens, Georgia (2/25/2012)
- #20 Mississippi State 70-68 in Starkville, Mississippi (2/11/2012)
- Tennessee 69-63 in Knoxville, Tennessee (2/19/2011)
- #10 Kentucky 77-70 in Athens, Georgia (1/8/2011)
- Florida 78-76 in Athens, Georgia (2/27/2010)
- #18 Vanderbilt 72-58 in Athens, Georgia (2/6/2010)
- #8 Tennessee 78-63 in Athens, Georgia (1/23/2010)
- #20 Georgia Tech 73-66 in Athens, Georgia (1/5/2010)
- Kentucky 90-85 in Lexington, Kentucky (3/4/2009)
- 2008 SEC Tournament
- #21 LSU 57-54 in Athens, Georgia (1/28/2007)
- Kentucky 78-69 in Athens, Georgia (1/24/2007)
- #16 Gonzaga 96-83 at Gwinnett Arena (12/16/2006)
- Florida 76-62 in Athens, Georgia (2/17/2004)
- #8 Kentucky 74-68 in Athens, Georgia (2/14/2004)
- #5 Kentucky 65-57 in Lexington, Kentucky (1/17/2004)
- #3 Georgia Tech 83-80 in Athens, Georgia (1/3/2004)
Savor this win. This is a historic victory as Mark Fox for the first time notched two wins in a non-conference tournament at UGA and it is one of the biggest victories of the decade. However, the formula to winning this game is not the formula to follow to win in the future.