Georgia basketball wins an ugly one

semerson@macon.comJanuary 4, 2013 

ATHENS -- This was not a basketball game to teach the young.

One team had 25 turnovers. The other missed 75 percent of its shots and all of its 3-pointers.

But it did produce a fourth straight win, 52-41 over George Washington, for head coach Mark Fox’s Georgia team as it enters SEC play.

And it also provided this very ironic stat: The last team not to hit a 3-pointer against Georgia was Nevada, in 2004 -- whose head coach at the time was Fox.

“I remember that game: It was my first road game as a coach,” Fox said Friday. “I remember that game vividly: 56-48 was the final score.”

Close. It was 57-48.

Fox went on:

“We didn’t make a 3 at Nevada that year because we were the second-worst 3-point shooting team in America. We were. And we won the league and we won an NCAA tournament game.”

George Washington (6-7) isn’t likely to make the NCAAs. But Fox’s point is that defense is more important, and, given the way his team has played, it’s understandable he’s emphasizing that.

Georgia (also 6-7) won despite having trouble holding on to the ball. Looking down at the stat sheet, Fox noted George Washington’s field goal percentage, the fact Georgia won the rebounding margin, and shot 48 percent from the field.

“There’s some nice-looking things on the stat sheet,” Fox said. “And then you look at the further right, and you see the turnover column.”

It’s been a recurring problem for Georgia, which started the season by losing seven of its first nine. But in getting closer to .500, the Bulldogs have ridden their defense, hoping the offense will eventually come around.

“We have been playing well on defense,” sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said. “We struggled on offensive end sometimes. Sometimes we don’t. But, on the defensive end, we’re coming together. … On the offensive end, we’ve gotta do the same.”

Caldwell-Pope (17 points) and fellow sophomore Nemanja Djurisic (17 points) led the way for Georgia, which trailed for much of Friday’s game. The Colonials led by five early in the second half. When Georgia briefly took a four-point lead -- propelled by a Caldwell-Pope fast-break dunk -- it turned the ball over on its next four possessions, giving the lead right back.

But George Washington’s shooting struggles allowed Georgia to inch back ahead, and then Djurisic scored four straight points down the stretch to push the lead to seven.

This sequence in the final minute basically summed the game up: Leading by five, Georgia committed its 25th turnover. But with a chance to make it a game again, George Washington missed its 10th 3-pointer.

Fox said he was surprised by the number of turnovers for his team.

“We saved the ball to our basket,” he said. “We did some things to night that makes you scratch your head.”

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service