Before the season began, Georgia’s strength was expected to be on the offensive side of the ball. With a veteran point guard in J.J. Frazier, the prevailing thought was that the ball would move efficiently while the offense operated at a higher tempo.
In essence, head coach Mark Fox gave his players more freedom on the basketball court.
That has come at quite the cost.
Through 24 games, Georgia is now ranked 10th out of 14 teams in the SEC in turnovers. The Bulldogs are committing 14 per game and haven’t been able to improve in this area all season long.
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Asked what Georgia can do following Tuesday’s 72-60 loss against Florida, Frazier offered up a simple solution.
“Don’t throw it to the other team, man,” he said.
Against the Gators, Georgia turned the ball over 16 times to Florida’s eight, which led to the Gators recording 12 steals. In 15 games, the Bulldogs have committed more turnovers than their opponent. In SEC play, Georgia has posted more turnovers than the other team in eight of its 11 games.
A lot of these turnovers have been self-inflicted, too. Soft passes along the perimeter or batted entry feeds to the post have contributed to the turnover woes. Offensive fouls and moving screens have contributed, as well.
Prior to Georgia’s loss to Florida, the Bulldogs turned the ball over 17 times against Kentucky and 15 times against South Carolina — both resulting in defeats. Against the Gamecocks, turnover margin loomed large as South Carolina limited its turnovers to only eight.
Since Georgia has been unable to take care of the basketball consistently, Fox said he might have to change his approach to how his team operates offensively.
“We may have to go back and play like we did a couple of years ago — slow, very slow, and let me control every possession from the bench, and make every decision from the bench,” Fox said. “That may be what we have to do.”
Early in the year, Fox seemed confident his team would work out the early kinks and become a better group with the basketball. Evidenced by his demeanor following Georgia’s latest loss — its third in a row — Fox was certainly displeased with the progression in this particular area.
While Florida ran away with Tuesday’s game in the second half, Georgia has had plenty of opportunities to win games that went the other way. And in almost each of those, turnovers were a big factor on the stat sheet.
Georgia finished minus-six in turnover margin in a season-opening loss to Clemson. In Georgia’s road loss against Oakland, the Bulldogs turned the ball over 19 times to the Golden Grizzlies’ 13. In two losses to South Carolina by a combined total of eight points, Georgia gave the ball to the Gamecocks 31 times. South Carolina’s turnover total was only at 16 in its two wins.
The same can be applied to Georgia’s first game against Florida. An outing that the Bulldogs led for 35:11, the Bulldogs also lost the turnover battle 18-13.
“We’re not making great decisions with the ball,” Fox said. “We’re not helping each other. Last week, we were certainly better. Our turnovers have been an issue, as you know, all year. We may have to slow it down a little bit.”