ATHENS -- At one point in the second half on Friday night, the Georgia mens basketball team had six players on the floor. One barely rushed off before Jacksonville inbounded the ball.
It was that kind of opener for the Bulldogs.
They came away with a 68-62 victory, but the post-mortem read like a loss. Head coach Mark Fox and players bemoaned too many turnovers, a lack of spirit and defensive play, and too many fouls.
It was just kind of an ugly game, Fox said.
It also didnt help that a key player was out. Forward Donte Williams did not play, although Fox would not say whether it was related to his offseason arrest for marijuana possession. Williams was cleared legally, and Fox made clear it was not a suspension related to UGAs drug policy.
Donte didnt play because I didnt think he was as responsible as I want him to be, Fox said, declining to say whether it was related to the arrest or something else. He just wasnt as responsible as I want him to be, in life ... period. He doesnt have a substance suspension, none of that nonsense. So please dont write that because that would not be true. Just trying to help him grow.
Asked if Williams would play Monday against Youngstoen State, Fox just said, Well see.
Among those who did play, sophomore forward Nemanja Djurisic (14 points, 12 rebounds) had the best game. Sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the teams best player, was scoreless until the two-minute mark of the first half, but finished with a game-high 17 points.
Georgia never trailed Jacksonville, which was 8-22. But the Dolphins hung in there, drawing within four points in the final minute. Their full-court press was a big problem for the Bulldogs, who committed 23 turnovers.
I didnt have us prepared for the fullcourt pressure, Fox said. We havent worked enough against it, to be honest with you. We have not worked enough against it. So I dont have concerns that that will be a long-term problem.
Junior forward Marcus Thornton said he thought the players were frustrated. We didnt feel like we were doing some of the things we should be able to do.
The Bulldogs also struggled with their shooting, going 4-for-19 from beyond the arc. The halfcourt offense looked very out of sync, which could have been a product of a team still getting to know itself.
When you end a game like this, the only thing you can think about is (Saturday), and how you can improve on these things, Djurisic said.