ATHENS - The Georgia men’s basketball team suffered a very early, very bad early-season stumble on Monday night.
Youngstown State delivered a convincing defeat of Georgia, 68-56, which never led and played horrendous offense for much of the game.
“We set the game back 10 years the way we played offensively in the first half,” Bulldogs head coach Mark Fox said.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did what he could for Georgia, scoring 27 points on 10-for-18 shooting from the field. The rest of the team shot 7-for-35, and sophomore forward Nemanja Djurisic, perhaps the team’s second-best player, was 0-for-9.
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“Kentavious was great,” Djurisic said. “He was a true leader tonight. And we failed as teammates to follow him, and definitely me in the first place.”
The problem at first was offense. But as the game hit the stretch, and Georgia finally got its offense going, its defense failed.
Youngstown State was 14-15 last year, and had an RPI rank of 170. Georgia, which is now 1-1, is set to face No. 1 Indiana on Monday in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Georgia, which was out-rebounded and had trouble scoring inside, played without forward Donte’ Williams, a result of team discipline. But Fox didn’t blame that for the loss.
“The list of things we’ve gotta address is – you think of something with basketball, we’ve gotta address it,” Fox said. “So to answer your question, I’m not trying to be a smart-aleck, but we’ve got a lot of things we’ve gotta clean up.”
Fox was very up-front in his postgame comments. Here are the highlights:
- “They came in here to beat our tail and that’s what I did. We played very poorly offensively in the first half. We set the game back 10 years the way we played offensively in the first half.”
- “We didn’t play well the other night when we had a lead and we got away with it with a win. Tonight we didn’t get away with it, and hopefully this will be a good steppingstone for us, because this is certainly a teachable moment.”
- “Poor Nemi just could not get a ball to go in the basket. We had some great shots. We had Charles, and Marcus and even Kenatavious with some shots around the basket in the first half that just did not go in. And the frustration just kept building on them. And Nemi never could get out of it.”
- “Donte’s a pretty big difference, I’ll tell you that much. We got pounded on the glass tonight. And when you can offensive rebound and put a few back in, that takes some pressure off you offensively. But that’s not why we lost the game, that’s for darn sure.”
- “I didn’t tell the team that (they don't have confidence on offense). I’m telling you that. I told my team if they play like I tell them to play, they’ll have a good basketball team. But they’ve gotta play like we tell them to play.”