The Georgia Bulldogs showed zero quit on Saturday morning (yes, morning), but in the end, Mark Fox and his gutty club fell in short in attempting to extend their season with a 79-71 defeat at the hands of Louisiana Tech.
The first half was the definition of disastrous for the Dawgs, and it began from the opening tip. Louisiana Tech blitzed Georgia out of the gate with a 22-4 run, and that wasn’t the end of it. UGA did quell the early momentum with 5 straight points after that, but the “other” Bulldogs just kept coming, as they went on another 17-4 run to mount a somewhat surreal 39-13 lead with 7:25 left before halftime.
Turnovers were the story of the early run, and to make things worse, they were of the “live ball” variety. Louisiana Tech forced 11 turnovers in the first 15 minutes of action, and that included 9 steals that turned into numerous easy points on the other end of the floor. Georgia did respond, however, as they turned around that early 26-point deficit a bit with a 10-2 run of their own to cut the lead to 41-23 just before the under-4 timeout.
After taking a 19-point deficit into halftime, Georgia did battle throughout the second half, but the large lead that they staked in the opening half was too much to overcome. Mark Fox’s club clawed within 7 points at the 4:29 mark after a 10-2 run that saw the crowd whipped into a frenzy. Unfortunately, they were unable to close the deal down the stretch (despite a furious rally), and even with it being the always entertaining “tale of two halves”, the first half won out in the end.
From an individual standpoint, there wasn’t a single standout performance for UGA, but there was a great deal of balance offensively. J.J. Frazier had an explosive game off the bench with 15 points (including 4 threes) while Charles Mann (13 points, 6 rebounds), Brandon Morris (10 points), and Marcus Thornton (9 points, 6 rebounds) provided valuable production. The aforementioned turnovers from the first half were the overriding theme, however, and Charles Mann was the chief culprit, committing 7 giveaways against just 1 assist.
Now, the Georgia Bulldogs will have a lengthy off-season to reevaluate and reflect on what happened down the stretch of the season. Frankly, this was an overachieving club based on the amount of talent and what they were able to accomplish (especially in the SEC), and there is a lot of positives to take from that. They simply ran into a (relative) buzzsaw in Louisiana Tech, who many thought should be an NCAA Tournament team, and they were seemingly caught off-guard, forcing them to the end of their season.
Things are looking up with regard to hoops in Athens (just look at the raucous crowd for an 11:00 am tip-off on Saturday), but they’ll have to wait until next fall to exercise that momentum.