The Georgia Bulldogs Men’s Basketball team quieted the disquieted crowd this past Saturday with a road win over rival Tennessee. They look to take the next step towards redemption Tuesday in Athens.
The Georgia Bulldogs Men’s Basketball team has been on a late season swoon. Losers of 6 of their last 7, going into last Saturday’s tip in Knoxville, UGA managed to come away with a much-needed 1-point win, and took that first step back to relevancy. In short, it was a must win, and they got it.
That said, it wasn’t a conventional win for these almost defenestrated Dawgs. This Tennessee Vols team isn’t one of size. Georgia should’ve been able to clean glass and get multiple looks on the block, at will. That wasn’t the case, however, as UGA’s two big men, Yante Maten and Derek Ogbeide, went a combined 5 of 11 from the field, with Maten fouling out of the game. This is usually the stat sheet of defeat. But in stepped J.J. Frazier, Juwan Parker, and heralded Freshman phenom Tyree Crump to fill the gap. Frazier poured in 29, Parker added 11, on 4 of 8 shooting, and Crump, in his first start of the year, dropped 13 very timely points. It was arguably their best win of this season.
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That, though, was just the first step in a 7-step process of possibly finding that big March Madness dance floor next month. The 2nd step in this process is a home game versus Mississippi State, the other “Bulldogs”, Tuesday, 9 PM at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens. State comes into this match up 14-10 on the year, almost identical to the Dawgs, and having lost 4 of the last 5 of their own. The lone victory for Mississippi State during that stretch was at home.
For UGA, there are six more regular season games in the 2016-2017 season. Three are at home in The Classic City, and three are on that lonesome road through the back country of the SEC. It is an absolute imperative that they win the rest of their home games. The one home loss the Dawgs can take, and it not effectively end their season, is when Kentucky comes-a-calling. Other than that, no exceptions. Georgia probably needs to win all of their road games, as well, truth be told.
Mark Fox, and his down-trodden Dawgs, are still breathing and hoping after the win in Knoxville. That was the first step in a dance with the devil that requires winning 6 of 7 after having lost 6 of 7. And the devil is in the details. Maten cannot continue to find foul trouble. Ogbeide has to improve in post-play, and turnovers have to be reduced.
It is a long shot, but if these Dawgs, along with some of the young pups who are starting to get their legs, can find a way to beat the beat over the next few weeks, they could be toe-tapping on the big floor after Conference Tournament play. It all starts with that two-step in Athens Tuesday night.