It is easy to describe a game that finished with a score of 58-49 as “ugly” or the “aesthetically displeasing”, but I’m not sure that either of those terms would be strong enough to describe the majority of Georgia’s victory over Gardner-Webb on Thursday afternoon.
For a game that began with an 11:30 am tip-off time (not a misprint), it’s a bit ironic that it’ll be known for something other than that odd feature, but the first half futility of both teams stood apart. For starters, the teams combined for exactly 2 points (on a jumper by GWU’s Jerome Hill) before the first media timeout (4 minutes), and Georgia became the first team to reach double-digits at the 10:47 mark of the 1st half. When it was all said and done, the Bulldogs led 21-12 at the half, and the shooting numbers were borderline comical.
Gardner-Webb’s 12 first-half points came on 6-for-22 shooting (27%) while the hometown Dawgs shot just 10-for-26 (38%, including 0-for-6 to start the game) in route to their 21 points. Fortunately, the scoring picked up (!) to more manageable levels after halftime, as both clubs scored 37 points in the final 20 minutes, with UGA maintaining their 9-point halftime lead to the very end.
Juwan Parker (who posted career-highs with 12 points and 9 rebounds) and Marcus Thornton (11 points, 7 rebounds) were the standouts for Georgia in this one, but in the end, UGA did manage to have 5 players score 8+ points despite the meager overall offense. As a unit, Georgia utterly dominated the glass 46-to-27, and that was the biggest impetus for the win, simply because it created extra shot attempts in order to offset 19 turnovers from Mark Fox’s club.
It’s a bit ironic that, in our preview, we mentioned that KenPom projected UGA as a 9-point winner, and that was spot-on. It was a hideous route to get there (mostly in the 1st half), but in the end, the home team grabbed a win in front of an enthusiastic early afternoon crowd.
The Dawgs will be back in action on Saturday, as they host Western Carolina for a 2:00 pm tip-off. Stay tuned.