Georgia Wins and Covers Against Ole Miss 71-60

Mark Fox’s Dawgs did not play their best game, but they played well enough to win a game they should over Ole Miss.

The preparation paid off for Georgia in their win over Ole Miss.  Wins over Georgia Tech and Temple served the team well to provide experiences that helped them get a win over a stylistic blend of the two previous opponents.  Georgia remains undefeated, but the win was a bit unsatisfying to Mark Fox’s liking even though he did get strong performances from Derek Ogbeide, Jordan Harris and Juwan Parker.  His major gripe with the performance in a double-digit win is definitely legitimate.

Mark Fox was not happy with the rebounding.  Rightfully so.

Fox probably would not say it directly in a post-game interview or press conference, but there is no excuse to let Ole Miss have the rebounding edge in this game.  To make matters worse, Ole Miss won in second chance points and had 18 offensive rebounds.  Ole Miss was playing in zone for much of the game and to come away with only a 33.33% Offensive Rebounding win rate is very disappointing.  The Defensive Rebounding win rate was an appalling 61.07%.

There are no excuses for being this soft against a terrible rebounding team like Ole Miss.  Ole Miss is undersized and overmatched in the frontcourt against UGA, but yet they had a team rebounding approach that outperformed the Dawgs.  The failure to secure rebounds out of a Man-to-Man Defense was rather sad.  It was a passive approach on the glass.  Juwan Parker was the leading rebounder, but no one else was doing a very good job closing out the Ole Miss possessions.

The team was not fouling much outside of Rayshaun Hammonds who had fouled out at the 10:24 mark of the 2nd Half.  The team overcame a distinct lack of physicality and aggression.

Two Distinctly Different Halves

The First Half was about the contributions of Jordan Harris, Yante Maten and Derek Ogbeide.  There was a strangely concerted effort to slow the offense down into the Halfcourt when there were opportunities for secondary break.  When Teshaun Hightower is slowing down the action, it is a sign that things have become unusual.  Hightower had a distinct opportunity to catch Ole Miss defenders getting back slower than usual and completely out of defending position, but he pulled it back.

Yante Maten was a mismatch for anyone defending him from Ole Miss, but so was Derek Ogbeide.  However, Georgia’s first five minutes were largely jump shots and there was no effort to attack the rim.  This sort of a thing is what doomed Georgia against UMass, but it was quickly turned around with a pair of Pick and Roll induced dunks.

Jordan Harris and Nicolas Claxton led the team in Boxscore Plus/Minus, which was a good sign considering their struggles in Lexington and how well they had played before the Christmas Break.

In the Second Half, Yante Maten had his struggles against the Ole Miss 1-3-1 and 2-3 Zone Defenses.  However, the team was able to go on without a strong half from Maten.  Juwan Parker had an unusually hot shooting half, found ways to get himself to the Free Throw Line and earned a Double-Double for the game.

The number of possessions were cut down considerably by three things and they had nothing to do with Mark Fox’s offensive game plan from the First Half.

  1. Georgia was almost too methodical against the zone defenses.
  2. Offensive Rebounds.
  3. Georgia’s Extended 1-2-2 Zone (3/4 Court Trap) burned time off the shot clock.

Georgia’s movement without the ball against the 2-3 Zone was disheartening and the passiveness and discomfort from whomever was zone-breaker in the middle of the zone hurt the team’s offensive efforts as well.

Ole Miss’ shooting effort was in-line with their losses.  Ole Miss has never won a game in which they shot worse than 30% from three point range and it continued today.  Some of it boiled down to poor shot selection and the other part of it was strong perimeter defense against the three point shot.  However, Ole Miss had clear and easy paths to dribble drive against the Dawgs.  It was an uncharacteristic performance as far as their ability to distribute the ball to each other and play more of an iso ball sort of a game.  Breein Tyree was abusing the Georgia Backcourt much the way Shai Gilgeous-Alexander did in Lexington, but he did not have enough help.

Key Takeaways

  1. Jordan Harris had a big offensive day and played well enough on the defensive end.  He needs to feel comfortable handling the ball with pressure because this is still a bugaboo whether it is against full court pressure, an extended 1-3-1, in the middle of a 2-3 Zone or on the wing against a 1-3-1.
  2. Rebounding must improve.  No excuses.
  3. Juwan Parker cannot be counted on to shoot this well from 3 point range, but it was very good to see him break out of his rut and come through when his team needed him.
  4. There needs to be a better approach against 1-3-1 and 2-3 Zones than this.  Too many times corner guards allowed themselves to be trapped and there is no movement or effort to expand and contract the zone.
  5. Could the 1-2-2 Extended Zone be used more often after scoring to prevent the quick response three point shot or dribble drive?
  6. Man-to-Man Sets were sniffed out and they will continue to be sniffed out, but there was a total bust on the High Post X-Cut for E’Torrion Wilridge that resulted in a dunk that was ultimately a 3 point play.
  7. More pick and roll action may be in order to get the team to attack the rim and not become too jump shot reliant.
  8. Andy Kennedy’s frustration in the Second Half with what appeared to be a crumpled up stat sheet was indicative of how he felt the night was going.  Kennedy had that expression in last season’s game and in the 2011 game.  Kennedy is usually a passionate and engaged coach, but when he becomes sullen and frustrated… it’s weirdly memorable.

The next game is going to be HUGE.  It’s Alabama.