The best victory the Georgia Bulldogs have had so far was against the Missouri Tigers on the road earlier this season. The rematch this Tuesday in Athens suggested a 19-8 talented Mizzou squad that would be out for revenge. The Dawgs, still holding on to slim hopes of making the NCAA tournament, needed this home win as another notch in the resume. Georgia was coming off a rather easy win against a struggling South Carolina team on Saturday, while the Tigers had ill luck against Alabama team they should have easily handled.
The first half opened with Georgia going on an immediate 5-0 run before the Tigers battled back to a 9-8 Dawg lead at the first media break. The action continued to go back and forth until about seven minutes to go in the half, when Mizzou went stone cold shooting the ball. From that seven minute mark all the way to the end of the half, Missouri only made one basket. While it seems unbelievable for a team that normally scores 75 a game, Missouri couldn’t throw it in the ocean. The Dawgs, seeing an opening, amassed a 31-22 lead at the half. The downside was that the Dawgs went 0-6 from the free throw line, and they were outrebounded by the Tigers. Those stats wouldn’t bode well for the Dawgs if they couldn’t turn things around in the second half. After all, with a team that can score like Missouri, a 9 point lead was far from secure.
Unless, however, that Missouri team decides to have it’s worst shooting game of the year. That’s exactly what happened to the Tigers while everything was clicking for the Bulldogs. Missouri shot 32% from the field while going an flabbergasting 3-18 from the 3 point arc. When the Tigers can’t shoot the three-pointer, they are a completely ordinary team, and UGA made them pay. Georgia shot 50% from the floor, and had 6 steals to go with 3 blocks. Offensively, defensively, it was all working for Georgia as they really put the screws to Mizzou in the second half.
Charles Mann had another great performance with 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Combined with Kenny Gaines’ 10 points, and Marcus Thornton’s 15, the trio was responsible for almost as many points as the entire Missouri team. This win leaves Georgia with 3 games to go, two of them on the road, and a chance to finish with a 19-11 record if they run the table. While the SEC isn’t the best conference in the land in terms of ranked basketball, finishing with 19 wins and making a decent run in the SEC tournament might put the Dawgs in the dance. Right now the Dawgs RPI sits at 88, and the committee can only take 68 teams, including conference tournament winners. The Dawgs need to continue the winning streak and force the committee to make some hard decisions.