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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Grantham discusses Jenkins and assistant coach search

Georgia beats Auburn, 81-72, in overtime

Georgia avoided a loss that might have severely derailed its NCAA tournament hopes. Clearly, it can't be happy with the fact it received this much of a scare.

Trey Thompkins had a very uneven game, taking too many outside shots to my liking. But he came up big in the final minutes: He had a big defensive rebound, then on the ensuing possession converted a three-point play to make it 77-72. That was the key sequence of the overtime.

Meanwhile, Gerald Robinson and Dustin Ware were off by a wide margin. Robinson especially, missing two key free throws near the end of regulation, which would have forced Auburn to hit a 3 to force overtime.

Of course the way Ernest Ross was shooting, he may have done it.

Either way, Georgia escapes with the win. And the good news is the fact it had to go overtime at home to beat such a bad team doesn't count in the computer rankings.

End of regulation: Tied at 67

Georgia may still win this, but the fact it needs to go overtime against Auburn is not a great sign.

It should have put this away earlier, but blew those chances. Missed free throws, a bad inbounds attempt ... equals overtime at home to the worst team in the SEC.

11:13 left in regulation, Georgia leads 56-49

Georgia still can't shake pesky Auburn, but it's showing signs that the talent is on the verge of winning out here.

Travis Leslie now has a game-high 19 points, including a 3-pointer that made it 50-45. Of course his highlight will be an alley-oop dunk just now. Leslie had 12 points combined in the previous two games.

Jeremy Price also has 16 points, taking advantage of Georgia's severe height advantage.

The problem for Georgia is Auburn keeps getting big shots to stem runs.

Halftime: Georgia leads 38-34

Sorry I couldn't offer my halftime analysis quicker. I went over to talk to Todd Grantham (the blog post on that interview is up now.)

Georgia was showing signs of pulling away, but an 8-0 Auburn run got the Tigers back in the game. The Bulldogs are dominating the boards, 22-13, but are 4-for-12 from beyond the arc.

My spidey sense says the Bulldogs will need to concentrate on getting more easy baskets, rather than relying on outside shooting. Trey Thompkins in particular needs to stop wandering the perimeter. He missed three 3-point attempts in the first half.

6:10 left in first half, Georgia leads 29-20

Up until a few minutes ago, Georgia wasn't playing well but was still leading. Now it is playing well and threatening to run away with it.

I can't emphasize this enough: Auburn is bad. We knew that, but it takes seeing it in person to realize how little the Tigers have to work with, especially in the size department. The Bulldogs are dominating in rebounds, including on the offensive end, which has created a few more scoring opportunities.

Auburn started off with a 14-8 lead, but Sherrard Brantley started the run with a 3 from the corner. And the sophomore guard just nailed another one from the same spot. Brantley tends to start shooting, without conscience, the moment he gets off the bench. Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's bad. Today it is very good for Georgia.

Travis Leslie has also decided to show up today: He made a circus layup and then a spot-up 3-pointer in the past few minutes.

15:26 left in first half, Georgia trails 8-6

Georgia is off to a sluggish start, lacking a lot of energy as this one begins. Trey Thompkins has missed a couple free throws and a 3-pointer, Travis Leslie missed a couple chippies in a row (as Bill Walton would say, throw it down big fella.)

Basically the Bulldogs look a bit like they did a few weeks ago at home to Tennessee. They were coming off a big road win (at Ole Miss) that time too.

The difference today is Georgia is playing a much-weaker opponent. It can probably still win by playing at about 75 percent; But right now it's playing a little closer to 60 percent.

1:43 p.m.: Moments from tip-off

A moment of silence was held before the game to honor the passing of Uga VIII.

Meanwhile, Georgia will be wearing silver uniforms for, as far as I can remember, the first time this season. Auburn will be in its dark blues.

It's not a full building for this one, predictably. But the vast majority of the empty seats are in the upper reaches of Stegeman. It should still be a loud joint for this one.

1:20 p.m.: A hoops game, possibly

Now that the Jenkins announcement is out of the way, who's up for some basketball?

Auburn hasn't been, most of this season. The Tigers enter this game with a 7-14 record, and an RPI rank of 282. That's below teams like: Jackson State, Columbia, North Florida and Northern Colorado. And when I saw below those teams, I mean that Auburn is MORE THAN 100 SPOTS LOWER than Jackson State, Columbia, North Florida and Northern Colorado.

Then again, Auburn still went into South Carolina and won last week. That's why I tend to think Georgia will avoid the same fate today: Head coach Mark Fox has his eye-opening Auburn win to point at and scare his players.

It also doesn't help Auburn that it doesn't have 6-10 center Rob Chubb, who apparently will remain suspended for this game. Chubb is averaging 8.1 points and 4.1 rebounds a game.

1 comment:

gastr1 said...

Hey Seth--
Thanks so much for the basketball reporting! I have an unanswered question, though, and wonder if you might ask it of Mark Fox next time you get a chance--
What is up with Thompkins' 3-point shooting??? Last year and the year before he shot 37 and 38%, respectively, and was one of the best 3-pt shooters on the team; this year he is now shooting 21 or 22% and has been off all year. What is his trouble? He is getting open looks but just isn't making them.

It would help both his and the team's offense an awful lot if one of the other team's bigs had to guard him out there.