1. Another slow start – Georgia started slow for the second game in a row. The Bulldogs scored the first three points of the game and then went six minutes without scoring again.
Often Georgia looked perplexed in their half court offense and struggled to find good shots. They ended the first half with nine turnovers, which lead to 15 points for Southern Miss. The Eagles had a 12-point lead late into the first half – for the second week in a row Georgia surrendered a relatively early double-digit lead. This team cannot win playing from behind – not by double digits.
The Bulldogs need to show more passion at the start of ballgames. Two games in a row now the opposition has jumped out to quick leads. Southern Miss’ bench (players) was noticeably more active and energized than Georgia’s bench.
Mark Fox, for his part, was noticeably active in the second half of the ball game on the bench as the Bulldogs sawed their halftime deficit to two points with about ten minutes to go in the contest. The crowd, which was small, didn’t seem to be interested until very late in the game when Georgia tied the game at 55.
2. KCP and who? – Once more the Bulldogs relied too heavily on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He was the only reliable option on the floor most of the game. He scored on a four-point play, and attacked the glass effectively even if he didn’t score each time he was aggressive.
Being aggressive is good. Georgia needs more aggressiveness in general, but specifically on offense.
KCP is most effective when the other team is not only concerned with him… but he’d better get used to the extra attention this year. There is no viable option for the Bulldogs on the offensive side of the ball beyond KCP at this time. What happens when KCP gets into foul trouble? What happens when KCP has an off night?
To say the Bulldogs are limited on the offensive side of that ball right now is an understatement. If the Bulldogs are going to have what anyone would call a “successful season” the offensive production overall is going to have to pick up in a big way… and it cannot be focused so much on KCP.
3. Clawing back – Georgia, which was outplayed for the vast majority of the game, managed to have the ability to take the lead within the last minute of regulation as well as overtime. The execution both sets didn’t go the way the Bulldogs would have liked.
KCP wound up with the ball too late and in too difficult a position to make a serious play at scoring the ball in both situations.
In both cases Georgia needed to execute much better at the end of a contest. Basketball often comes down to the last possession of the contest. At a minimum it comes down to the last minute of the game a fair amount, and the Bulldogs need to work on their offense in those situations.
At the same time, had Georgia made one of the ten free thrown they missed in regulation the game wouldn’t have been in the win column before the extra session.
“If we shoot 65% from the free throw line, which is not that good, we win,” Fox said after the game.