ATHENS -- Last week, it was Madison Square Garden. This week, it’s Chattanooga’s McKenzie Arena.
Either way, the way the Georgia men’s basketball team has played on the road, nothing can be considered a given.
Georgia (3-3) limps into this rare trip to a mid-major team’s home arena, having dropped games last week in New York.
The first one, to No. 10 Gonzaga, was acceptable, but the loss to Minnesota put the Bulldogs in a bad spot.
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Once again, they’re off to a bad start to their season, unable to get statement nonconference wins. Chattanooga (3-4) wouldn’t be, but the Mocs have yet to lose at home this season, and the Bulldogs have yet to win away from home.
The frustration was evident for Georgia head coach Mark Fox last Friday, in comments posted on the team’s own website after the loss to Minnesota.
“We had 15 turnovers in the first half and only 16 shots,” Fox said. “We just did not start well. And finally (J.J.) Frazier gave us great leadership at the point and we stopped turning it over and gave ourselves a chance to win.”
Frazier has been good. The sophomore point guard leads the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio, at 4.4 -1, and only committed one turnover in 62 minutes in New York.
But it was junior point guard Charles Mann who was supposed to be leading the Bulldogs. He was the team’s leading scorer last year and a coaches preseason All-SEC pick.
Instead, he was benched for the second half against Minnesota because of his turnover problems.
Senior forwards Marcus Thornton and Nemanja Djurisic are playing well. So the key is getting more outside shooting from junior guard Kenny Gaines, and straightening out Mann.
Georgia has gotten off to bad starts in all three of its losses, trailing by double digits at halftime of each game.
Colorado, an NCAA tournament team, will visit Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday, in a game that now looms as very critical.
But first, the Bulldogs need to figure their turnover and first-half issues out, starting with Tuesday at Chattanooga.