Georgia basketball team looks to stay rolling

semerson@macon.comFebruary 5, 2013 

ATHENS -- Tennessee men’s basketball head coach Cuonzo Martin was asked Monday what had spurred Georgia after a slow start.

“They changed some lineups, and now I think they have the right lineup more than anything,” Martin said. “They have not changed what they do. Their system and style is still the same, and their guys are playing with a level of confidence.”

The overall point is accurate. But here’s the thing about the idea Georgia has found the “right lineup.”

“We changed our lineup the other day,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said Tuesday.

That’s true. Georgia went with a smaller lineup and won at South Carolina, in a continuing theme to its season -- trying to find the right four players to line up with star Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. And getting them to play well.

That has been the case the past five games, during which Georgia has won four, the exception being against Florida -- now the nation’s second-ranked team. Georgia (10-11 overall, 4-4 SEC) will enter Tennessee (11-9, 3-5) on a three-game win streak.

“We’ve played better basketball,” Fox said. “I still think there’s a lot of room for this team to improve and grow, but I do think that they’ve made progress throughout the year and found some recent success.”

Caldwell-Pope was named the SEC player of the week Monday, after averaging 19.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in last week’s wins over Auburn and South Carolina. But without contributions from his supporting cast, the Bulldogs likely wouldn’t have won either of those games.

In fact, Caldwell-Pope only had three points in the decisive second half on Saturday. But he was picked up by freshman Kenny Gaines (11 points in the half), while the team got well-timed 3-pointers from Sherrard Brantley, Vincent Williams and Gaines.

“We just have guys that have been a little bit more consistent,” Fox said. “We have a lot of guys chipping in right now. I think in the last two or three games we’ve had a lot of guys make a play, or two plays, and so we’ve kind of had some production outside of Kentavious, by committee, and that’s probably been the biggest reason we’ve been successful.”

Extra points

The Volunteers are dealing with an off-court distractions. Senior forward Kenny Hall, who just played his best game of the season in a loss at Arkansas, was arrested Tuesday morning for driving under a suspended license. Hall’s status for Wednesday’s game has not been addressed. ... Fox said there has been no change in the status of Marcus Thornton, who has been out since the non-conference part of the season. The junior forward is dealing with chronic knee problems, and if he doesn’t return this season could pursue a medical redshirt.

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