Ding! Dong! “The Streak” is Dead. It has been 16 L-O-N-G YEARS.
Georgia wins in Gainesville for the first time since January 19, 2002. It was one of the more bizarre games in the past 15 years of Georgia Basketball and it was a game of complete reversal of roles. This is one of the sweeter victories in Georgia Basketball History and it should never have reached this sort of ridiculousness with Florida, but winning in Gainesville is special. In fact, this win deserves Tony Schiavone styled hyperbole as one of the “Greatest Moments in the History of Our Sport”. Of course, it does not top the 2008 SEC Tournament, but it was beginning to look like the certainties of Death, Taxes, Georgia losing to Florida in Gainesville.
What happened? Why is this game so much different from past games? What does this all mean?
Who had the big Field Goal drought?
It was not Georgia. It was Florida. Georgia’s defense was spot-on in the Man-to-Man late in the second half, it was the defense that we all saw in December against Temple and Georgia Tech. Florida was taking terrible shots, but they were also very impatient.
In the First Half, Florida was getting extremely good shots off their ball movement and effective cutting to the basket. Their screens were solid and they were shooting efficiently from three point range. It felt like the typical Florida game, except something obvious was missing. (This is foreshadowing, allow the opportunity for some foreshadowing.) Florida really was not getting shots at the rim and thus the offense was extremely dependent upon the three pointers made.
Florida was 3 for 15 inside the perimeter and was not beating Georgia as far as the Free Throw Line was concerned despite being on their Home Court, why? They were jump shooting!
In the Second Half, Florida was able to continue some good shooting, but they struggled at the rim and even seemed afraid to attack. In the last 10:03 of this game, the Florida Offense went off the rails and did their best Georgia impression. They must have thought the game was over at 50-39.
So this is what happened at least from a scoring perspective for the Gators.
Florida went on a 7 1/2 minute Field Goal drought. In fact, Georgia went on a 11-1 run during this time. It was more than just bad shots attempted due to Georgia’s Defense, it became a complete breakdown that is rather familiar to watch.
Florida’s offensive possessions were:
- UF TURNOVER BY #11 CHIOZZA
- UF MISSED JUMPER BY #11 CHIOZZA
- UF FT BY #04 KOULECHOV, UF MISSED FT BY #04 KOULECHOV
- UF FOUL ON #13 HAYES (Moving Screen)
- UF FOUL ON #13 HAYES (Moving Screen)
- UF MISSED JUMPER BY #11 CHIOZZA
- UF TURNOVER BY #21 BASSETT (Offensive Basket Interference)
- UF MISSED JUMPER BY #11 CHIOZZA
- UF MISSED JUMPER BY #05 ALLEN
That was 7 1/2 minutes worth of action. What messed around with the Gators was not Chiozza’s turnover or missed shot. It was their inability to get second chance opportunities, which a team like theirs should never have against Georgia in the first place AND the moving screens. Those two moving screens were an absolute gift by Florida because their screens were not set as crisply and the officials actually called it correctly. Florida was getting freed up on a few questionable screens earlier and the officials stopped the Gators in their tracks. They lost their confidence.
Georgia took on the role of the attacker.
It does not sound right, but let’s give it a shot. Georgia has melted down in past games against opponents pressing them and hitting timely three point shots. It has happened against Florida in the past and it happened this season in a very notable loss to Arkansas in Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia flipped roles with Florida and gave them a taste of their own medicine, which once again foreshadows another obvious matter in this game.
Even though Florida had the 7 1/2 minute meltdown, they were able to stretch the lead out to 7 with 1:29 left. This would normally be curtains for the Dawgs, but this is not an ordinary game. Tyree Crump took a 26 footer off a screen and coldly knocked down a three point shot, the Dawgs needed something to happen. The next possession was downright strange from both teams.
See, Georgia did not put the pressure on Florida. Fox strangely let Florida trot up the floor without any defensive pressure at all. Florida was content to burn clock and even went to the nauseating 3 Man Weave featured by North Dakota State. It resulted in a 30 second shot clock violation because everyone held their water and walled off the inevitable drive to the basket. The result of this ultimately was a turnover on a 5 to 4 pass that was deflected by a Florida defender and off Yante Maten’s hands. It was a badly telegraphed pass. It’s still 57-53 with 26 seconds left, surely this game was in the bag since Florida was going in-bound the ball into one of their strong Free Throw shooters.
Koulechov knocked down a pair of Free Throws to make it a 6 point lead with 25 seconds left. It once again, looked like the game was pretty much over. Tyree Crump and Yante Maten off a simple pick and pop gave Maten an opportunity to knock down a three point shot on the wing over the extremely long Kevarrius Hayes. At this point, there have been some clutch shots made albeit in the least pressurized way, but there are 16.8 seconds left.
Georgia’s man-to-man press denying in the inbounds pass was a work of art, it was what everyone has wanted to see for 40 minutes every single game. Jalen Hudson travels due to the pressure, turns it over and sets up the Dawgs for a final possession where Yante Maten once again on a pick and pop with Tyree Crump comes through the three from the top of the key.
Florida’s meltdown just happened and it was surreal. Once the game went into overtime, it was sort of obvious who was going to win. The Streak was going to end with a very painful outcome for Florida.
Speaking of painful: Turtle Jackson took a terrible spill on Florida’s haphazard last possession of the Second Half slipping on a wet spot and falling awkwardly. It appeared to be a knee injury, keep in mind, he had a knee injury (ACL tear) in High School. More details are sure to follow, but Tyree Crump was going to be the Point Guard.
Tyree Crump as a Point Guard Emerged
Did Tyree Crump have to have all of his Field Goals be from three point range? No. He had opportunities to drive, but he was able to get himself into a rhythm by being a distributor and getting himself to the Free Throw Line on shots in which he was fouled.
Crump came into this game a 33.33% three point shooter, hardly a percentage that would earn someone plaudits like “best shooter on the team”. However, Crump showed that he could do so much more out there on the floor and he did not have to feel the urge to be a shooter on every possession like he did against Auburn. This Tyree Crump played under control, defended Kevaughn Allen and Chris Chiozza effectively and actually looked like a complete Point Guard. The +/- said it all.
However, let’s dig deeper. Crump’s first shot attempt was a Three Point shot, he missed it. His next attempt did not come in the First Half. However, he was able to get himself to the Free Throw Line and made two Free Throws. It’s amazing what a pair of made Free Throws can do to acclimate a shooter. Crump did not do much in his first four minutes of the Second Half on the offensive end, in fact, he attempted no shots at all. He did not necessarily force his next attempt as he knocked down a step-back three point shot and was fouled. He missed the Free Throw and subsequent three point attempt, but he was patient to wait for his opportunity again.
Crump’s distributing ability came through in the end of the Second Half and in Overtime. Crump was able to get himself into a lather and get comparably better looks than what he is accustomed. Crump did not have to do anything more complex than a simple ball screen and pop, slip or roll. That’s it. Crump had the option to get himself separation to shoot or hit an open Derek Ogbeide or Yante Maten. This is what Crump was doing well during the SEC slate, this is what provided some glimmer of hope that the coaching staff would stop typecasting Crump as strictly a shooter and Crump to stop buying into it and play more unselfishly. The unselfish Crump came through in a big way to set up the SEC Player of the Year, Yante Maten.
It was not about giving Crump minutes or playing through mistakes, it was about letting Tyree Crump be a team player and not operate on an island. Crump had 5 Assists, three in the Second Half and two in Overtime. Those Assists played a huge role in winning this game.
However, Crump gave us more than just a lathered shooting night in Gainesville and playing like a Point Guard. Crump’s defensive efforts were spectacular, it was like the guy who was a Matador in a lot of games decided to take the night off and let the gritty, physical and disciplined Tyree Crump shine through. It’s amazing what just getting Crump to believe he is more than a shooter, getting him to the Free Throw Line, letting him get his hands dirty and having him be unselfish can do for this Georgia Team. Is this a blip? Who knows, but this is what Crump is supposed to be doing and he outperformed Chris Chiozza.
Mike White’s Questionable Strategy
Is Mike White comfortable with his depth? He did not seem so and it was both shocking and relieving that White did not use the 2-2-1 Zone Press or any other press look beyond a token single man press with Chiozza.
Georgia would come to Gainesville and turn the ball over constantly against the Florida press and the Gators would knock down threes in rapid succession as the Dawgs would look helpless. This time around Florida could not handle a Georgia man-to-man press that had an option to foul late in the game and all of the perimeter shots that Florida had were simply not falling in any fashion that would disspirit Georgia in the Second Half and in Overtime.
Mike White for a second time did not press against the Dawgs while others would, it was a bizarre approach, but you take the win right? Georgia struggles with the full court pressure, but without it, the team’s turnovers only came on telegraphed passes and forced passes into the post.
Now Mike White has to deal with his own base that is accustomed to whipping Georgia in Gainesville and making the occasional trip-up in Athens. Exactech Arena at the O’Connell Center was not exactly packed. It was a game that was taken for granted and now it seems that the stars aligned in a way that maybe this rivalry has life again.
What does it all mean?
It’s a much-needed win, but it does not move the needle for Georgia as far as postseason aspirations. Mark Fox was seemingly a goner and with 16.8 seconds left in the game, was seemingly finished. He may not last the season anyhow, but he got an elusive win in Gainesville. The humiliation associated with The Streak can no longer be held over his head. He won and his team did it by impersonating Florida to an extent. He beat the coach nobody thought he could ever beat twice in the same season and left the Florida faithful asking the same sort of questions about Mike White that Georgia folks have asked about Mark Fox. Does the Elite 8 appearance from last season excuse some of the disappointment of this season for Mike White? Is Mike White distracted by the possibility of taking the job at his alma mater despite denying it?
Mark Fox may not win another game this season, but this is was a win to remember. It’s a special, historic win and no one can take that away from this team. However, the reality is that it’s just one win. No one can deny that the taste of unexpected victory in the pit of disappointment is always welcome.
What was the deal with that shrieking from the Rowdy Reptiles?
The first shriek was really scary. It was such a sharp and panicked sounding shriek that someone would have that thought something gruesome and awful had just happened inside the arena. It was so scary that the University Police would have thought an emergency situation was happening and someone in the section could not deal with it.