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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hoops blog: Georgia vs. Colorado

End of game: Georgia wins

Georgia escaped again.

I'm sure Mark Fox would prefer to blow out teams, but without Trey Thompkins, he'll probably take every victory. And for the final 3:27 of this one, the Bulldogs also played without Travis Leslie, who had fouled out.

Leslie had a team-high 19 points when he exited. When it ended Gerald Robinson was the leading scorer, icing the game with a nice drive with a minute left, and then free throws down the stretch.

Jeremy Price also had 17 points, and that was with missing a substantial part of the second half with foul trouble.

Colorado isn't a bad team. It's in the Big 12, after all. But based on the first two games, Georgia is going to need to step up its play in order to beat the likes of UAB, Notre Dame and whoever else it plays in next week's Old Spice Classic. The next game at Saint Louis isn't a given either.

3:45 left in second half, Georgia leads 67-64

We're a the final media timeout, and Georgia has a chance to put some distance between it and Colorado - but first it has to do what it hasn't been able to do well this game: Hit free throws and defend.

Chris Barnes will be at the free throw line when we come out of the break. Then it'll be up to the defense, which a few minutes ago just let a Buffalo walk down the lane and dunk it home.

The Bulldogs have also missed a bunch of easy shots around the rim, the kind that a 6-foot-9 preseason SEC player of the year would probably dunk home with ease.

7:58 left in second half, Georgia leads 59-57

Georgia is showing signs of pulling away again, though it hasn't quite done it yet. In fact as I typed this post Colorado whittled it back to a two-point game.

Travis Leslie, however, has wrested control back of his game and is up to 19 points. He's even hit an outside shot, along with one of his typical open-court dunks - and this time he made it.

Fouls are becoming an issue, however, as Chris Barnes has three, and three other Bulldogs have three - Leslie, Dustin Ware and Gerald Robinson Jr. The officials have called this one tight from the beginning, which is strange for two teams that are lacking their best frontcourt players.

Georgia would be way ahead by now if it had just made free throws. It is dominating the boards, with a 36-27 margin in that department.

13:25 left in second half, Georgia leads 47-45

Georgia has had a few highlight-type plays in the second half, but hasn’t wrested back control of the game.

Gerald Robinson had a nice pass-back on the break to Jeremy Price, who laid it in for a 41-38 lead. But the Buffaloes came back to tie it.

Marcus Thornton had a great block on the break, which brought a roar from the crowd. But it didn’t lead to any points.

The Bulldogs are speeding up the tempo here in the second half, maybe trying to exploit their depth advantage. Or they’re just trying to avoid the half-court offense, which has sputtered since the game’s first 15 minutes. After hitting their first three 3-point attempts, Georgia is 1-for-10.

Halftime, Georgia and Colorado tied at 33

Disregard my earlier post about Georgia running away with it. That may still happen, but a 19-2 run by Colorado to finish the half has altered things a bit.

Georgia's foul trouble caught up with it, as did its inability to hit free throws. It's 5-of-13, which is worse than it's shot from the 3-point line. Chris Barnes missed five in a row from the free throw line, although he does have six points.

Travis Leslie, after vowing to show out tonight, only had seven points in the first half. He also missed an open-court dunk, with the ball bouncing off the rim and all the way to the other side of the court.

So the Bulldogs need to hit free throws. They also need to guard the perimeter better, as Colorado finished the half on a flurry from beyond the arc.

6:54 left in first half, Georgia leads 27-12

If Georgia is going to emerge as a power this year, I think it needs that dead-eye 3-point shooter that hits back-breaking shots, the way Lee Humphrey did for Florida during its back-to-back national titles.

A former SEC coach told me recently he thought junior college transfer Sherrard Brantley could be that guy. The sophomore didn’t play in Georgia’s opener, but he entered early tonight and has played a lot. And he just nailed his first 3 as a Bulldog to extend the lead to 27-10.

Colorado, meanwhile, is 3-for-16 from the field, and 0-4 from beyond the arc. It’s not looking like this game will be as competitive as the football version.

13:14 left in first half, Georgia leads 18-6

You've seen this before: A top 25-caliber basketball team has a rough game against a weaker nonconference opponent, then responds nicely in its next game.

So far, it’s looking that way for Georgia against Colorado.

Georgia is following its lackluster, comeback two-point win over Mississippi Valley State by jumping out quickly against the Buffaloes.

The Bulldogs made their first six field goal attempts, half from three-point range. Travis Leslie, after a rough outside-shooting game in the opener, nailed a 3 to start this game out better. Jeremy Price, the difference in the opener, started this one with a basket, then had an alley-oop dunk (off a Gerald Robinson pass).

It’s a good performance that isn’t being witnessed by many people, at least in person, as Stegeman Coliseum is about half-filled.

Pregame: I have a soda

Greetings from Stegeman Coliseum, where Georgia has an interesting matchup tonight against Colorado. A few pregame thoughts and nuggets:

- I've seen a few NBA scouts here, and there should be more here by gametime. While Trey Thompkins is out, Georgia has Travis Leslie (and down the line, Marcus Thornton), while Colorado has a couple potential draft picks in guards Alec Burks and Cory Higgins. Read more about those two players in the Q&A below with Denver Post beat writer Tom Kensler.

- Georgia is a six-point favorite, according to one line I saw. (And as always, such lines are just for entertainment purposes, and if you choose to gamble you're going straight to Hell, there's just no way around it.)

- It's ironic that Georgia and Colorado just played in football six weeks ago. Here's another tidbit that only I may find funny: Georgia also played Idaho State in football; meanwhile in basketball Colorado is 1-0, with its first win coming over ... you guessed it, Idaho State.

We can only guess that some time ago Damon Evans and his counterparts at Colorado and Idaho State got really drunk at an airport bar out west and concocted all this. Georgia and Colorado immediately regretted it the next morning, but Idaho State had made sure to have them sign it before the final round of beers came.

(I'm having a "Glengarry Glen Ross" flashback.)

In any event, coffee is for closers, so I'm just gonna have a Coke Zero and get ready to cover this game.

2 comments:

BCSAV said...

Love the Bball coverage.

Barnes really hurt the Dawgs tonight. I was thinking he was going to take a step forward but through 2 games it looks like hes gone backwards.

Rebounding seems to be a big issue for this team right now. Price has to be better than 2 rebounds!

Robinson is fast.

Steve said...

I thought the refs called this one a little too tight (both directions). Neither team was able to get into any sort of rhythm.

This team is going to be very, very competitive when Thompkins comes back from the ankle...