Georgia was not ready for primetime in blowout loss to Dayton in Maui.
There are so many things that went wrong in this game for Georgia and so many things that went right for Dayton, but there is both reason to be disturbed this performance and also not to overreact. There are sadly a lot of people who cheer for Georgia that are absolutely thrilled that Georgia was walloped in Maui, some are from what is termed in The Underground as “The Creepy Cul-de-sac” and the other portion are the “Great Unwashed”. There was little to no media coverage from local outlets prior and during the game as Kirby Smart was holding his Monday press conference and Football pays the bills, the local media money is coming from the AARP/AMAC crowd and Football is all that matters for most of them. Watching this game, it was evident that while Georgia Basketball has taken a few steps forward, there are more steps to be taken.
Not Ready for Primetime Offense
If trying to force things that were not there and attempting to show off in their first game on linear television could generate points, then Georgia would have been extremely impressive at doing so. However, this is the game of Basketball and in this game, it is a team sport that requires everyone to play within themselves and in concert. That was not what happened this afternoon or morning for those in Maui. If you watched this game and wondered why Anthony Edwards was taking the shots he was trying or everyone looked like they were skating on ice, well you are not alone. There was no composure nor was there any control in this game.
Dayton played excellent defense on the Georgia backcourt, Rodney Chatman was the clear Player of the Game for setting the defensive tone. However, this Georgia team did the Dayton Flyers a lot of favors in what seemed to be a game at UD Arena West and this was a major factor in this game.
There were several problems for Georgia in this game on the offensive end that had nothing to do with Dayton:
- Selfishness and terrible movement with and without the ball. By the standard that we hold Tom Crean, this was disgusting offense. By the standard we held Mark Fox, this was an incredible performance. Too many isos on offense, dribble-drives to nowhere, and shots that were ill-advised. The most ill-advised shot was a Tyree Crump three point shot when Georgia may have had a chance to fight back in the game and he took a quick shot on the wing in secondary break and missed, setting up points on the other end for Dayton.
- Not knowing the lines: The yellow lines on the court threw off Georgia as far as what was in and out of bounds. The three point line was also deceptive and it was never quite sure if the facility was upholding the lines that are on home floors across the country or if it was an exhibition to show off wares to NBA scouts.
- Aimlessness. Dribbles and passes were made without purpose, there were few well-executed screens, and nobody was prepared for a pass to come their way. The offense did not look like a team was executing it, it looked like five different guys with five different ideas as to what to do. The shot attempts were bad and the players knew they were bad and did it anyway.
- Shot selection. This plays into the previous three points. If the three point shots looked hurried, forced, or inexplicable, they were. The ball movement to set up the shots was simply not there. Most of the time, when it was there and a shooter was ready, the shooter turned down the shot.
The game turned from an opportunity to build the resume to an opportunity to build experience for the team and on offense, it showed. Jaykwon Walton learned he cannot lean into a defender while on a jump stop, Mike Peake gained a little bit of confidence with his range, Toumani Camara fought for points in the restricted arc, Christian Brown played through mistakes and hopefully will set better screens in the future, Sahvir Wheeler showed everyone that he may be the most important player on this team and everyone has to help him because he cannot carry the scoring load, and Tye Fagan showed his progress as a cutter and finisher.
This was an opportunity to build depth, it was not supposed to be this way, but it was.
Not Ready for Primetime Defense
Georgia took a punch to the mouth defensively and handled it like this…
Obi Toppin was in control for Dayton in the first six minutes of the game, but he was not challenged on defense at all. How can Toppin get shots off without a hand in his face? Amanze Ngumezi’s effort on defense was abysmal, he absolutely failed in his efforts to defend Toppin. Ngumezi gave Toppin position, he gave him too much space, and he didn’t challenge shots. Ngumezi is responsible for this. There was no need to double team, Ngumezi did not make an effort to deny, he just held his ground and hoped, which is not good enough EVER.
Georgia’s defensive efforts to disrupt Dayton’s offensive rhythm were seen in the second half, but it was far too late. It was like nobody chose to make or read a scouting report.
- Obi Toppin gets most of his points off assists, the objective should have been to get him to dribble. They didn’t.
- Georgia defenders went under ball screens, which makes no sense to do since Dayton is not a dribble-driving team in the first place.
- Dayton is not necessarily a grind it out team and they are a chameleon that is capable of playing your style, they did. Georgia’s transition defense was not good enough.
Georgia’s issues with getting anything to happen offensively set up Dayton’s offense. Dayton had 22 points off Georgia’s 23 turnovers. A 31.9% turnover rate does not win games and this was completely out of character for Georgia thus far in the regular season. Georgia had a 75% defensive rebounding rate, but what good is it when nearly a third of Georgia’s possessions end up in a turnover. It was not like Dayton was running up and down trapping and pressing, Georgia was just turning it over with offensive fouls and going out of bounds. Dayton had only forced 6 live ball turnovers.
The X-Factor points made for a 17 point difference in this game in favor of Dayton.
- Dayton outscored Georgia 22-8 on turnovers.
- Georgia outscored Dayton 8-4 on second chance points.
- Dayton outscored Georgia 16-9 at the Free Throw Line.
Georgia’s Fanbase was not ready for primetime.
Those who are in Maui to support the Dawgs deserve a lot of credit and hopefully have a good time in paradise, but there were simply not enough of them. This made an impact on the game in more ways than one as this game became a road game for Georgia. Georgia did not sell its full allotment of tickets behind their own bench and so the Dayton alumni took the seats. It was loud like a game at Dayton or Xavier, in fact, it felt like the games that Georgia played at Xavier.
— Julia Goolia 🦃 🍂 (@juliaflyer) November 25, 2019
Flyer fans outnumbering Dawg fans about 30 to 1. Once again UD Arena South Pacific Region Southern Outpost. pic.twitter.com/lT70jeJ00d
— UDPride™ (@UDPride) November 25, 2019
— Dan Shulman (@DShulman_ESPN) November 25, 2019
Selling out Stegeman Coliseum is important (and how blue Stegeman Coliseum will be when the Dawgs host Kentucky in January is unknown), but these tournaments matter. These are like early bowl games or a neutral site game that the Football Team plays against Virginia or North Carolina. These games matter and in College Basketball, the crowd matters and it is not just to pick up the spirits of one team and intimidate another, but the officiating is impacted. To say that the officials were catering to the home Dayton crowd would definitely not be a stretch. Georgia is a team that draws a lot of fouls and the officials were letting Dayton play more physically than Georgia, it happened on at least a half-dozen occasions in this game.
The officials were giving the home crowd edge to Dayton, they forgot they were in Maui working a neutral site game. This was Dayton’s Western Home Court and Georgia ceded it because it is still Football Season. Until this mentality changes, Georgia will continue to have these sorts of issues with programs that prioritize Men’s Basketball. Officiating can mess with a team because it can remove confidence, physicality, and trust that players on a team can execute in a fashion that they are in some way comfortable.
Credit goes to those who attended, but this was a game where Bulldog Nation let this team down. If the place was full of Dawgs like it was a game at Neyland Stadium, Notre Dame Stadium, Jordan-Hare Stadium or even the Independence Bowl, this game would never have been officiated like this.
No time to mope. Game #2 matters just as much as Game #1.
Every game matters. Coming out of Maui 2-1 is an accomplishment. Nobody wants to come out of Maui having played in the 7th place game, it was a very common experience under Mark Fox. Going 1-2, 0-3 or 0-2 was the norm for UGA. It was an unhappy time, imagine going to the Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden and seeing school pride for every school, but yours. That’s what Georgia Basketball was during the Mark Fox era, being one of 20 Red and Black dots at Madison Square Garden or Barclays Center is an experience that is sad. This is what Tom Crean is in the process of fixing. It’s not just a Basketball Team, it’s a culture that is hostile to anything that may be perceived to take attention and resources away from King Football.
It has to matter and we have to make it matter, we have taken the first steps with selling out Stegeman Coliseum. However, that is not enough to show that we are here. We have to fill up another school’s arena, we have to show up in force to Nashville for the SEC Tournament and crash a few Bachelorette parties, and we have to buy up tickets for the exhibition tournament in Dallas in 2020. Are we serious? We have to show our seriousness. We spent thousands on flights to go to Notre Dame and will spend thousands to attend possibly a Fiesta Bowl. We can take that next step, let’s crash the party. Being one of 25 people cheering for our Dawgs at Temple and moping on a SEPTA Subway Bus alone is not enjoyable, we did not deliver. We have to be better organized, we have to care, we have to show up. We will get better calls, if we make our presence known.
Michigan State is a massive opportunity for this Georgia team. The talent is there, but this game has to be an outlier. Nobody wants to end up having to play in a no-win scenario of playing Chaminade.