Knew we couldn't pull it out when J.J. got hurt. He's the only guy on the roster with the speed to get past UK defenders off the bounce and finish with off-balance lay-ups or floaters.
It was one of those floaters that unfortunately led to Georgia's defeat. Frazier penetrated, lofted up a floater, which went in, but he landed on one of their guys' foot.
Turned ankles happen like that all the time when you play basketball, but J.J.'s occurred at the worst possible moment for Georgia.
Calipari noted after the game, "The break we had was when J.J. hurt his ankle." "That was a big break for us because we couldn't guard them."
2. UK Strategy
Kentucky went right after J.J., post-injury, and Briscoe took advantage by driving him right to the basket. J.J. is a willing defender, but with one bad wheel, Briscoe overpowered him. Don't blame Calipari at all.
3. UGA Strategy
Kudos to Coach Fox for finding a way to put UK on their heels. Great coaching. It worked, too, for 3 quarters of the game. In the end, we ran out of gas. Kenny Gaines had a couple of good looks rim out that he might have hit when rested.
I guess J.J. probably "deserved" to have a chance to play through pain and give it his best shot. However, in retrospect, it probably would have been better to close out the game with Turtle Jackson at the point,
4. Big Men
Once again, our big men outplayed Kentucky's. Happened last year when Marcus Thornton and Nemi Djurisic led the charge. This time, Maten went for 20 and Ogbeide did a great job on the boards. Houston Kessler was scrappy.
UK starters Poythress and Labissiere didn't hurt us. Lee was neutralized for the most part. Kentucky has great depth, though, and as Georgia got tired, Willis hit free throws and open looks.
Proud of Derek Ogbeide, Mike Edwards, and Yante Maten. Those guys will play a lot of great basketball for Georgia in the future. Maten has another level to reach. Want to see him come out chiseled next year. When Edwards gets stronger and adds three or four inches of leaping ability, and Ogbeide gets down an improved right-hand jump hook, look out!
I hope some guys watched UGA today. Nothing better than representing the Dawgs on the floor.
Sure, you can choose to play way across the country, like Jaylen B. at California, Tony Parker at UCLA, or Kobi Simmons at Arizona. But no one from this side of the country gets to see you play in person, and the games aren't even on t.v. Tony Parker is finishing his senior year at UCLA. His 13 points and 8 rebounds a game would have been huge for us. Meanwhile, the Bruins are 10th in the PAC-12, and not going to the NCAA's. With their losing record, it doesn't even look like they'll be invited to the NIT.
Some elite players may want to head north up the east coast. Same answer as above. Why go to Duke or another school, when you can be the man at Georgia? Even out of state players should give Georgia a serious look.
Who wouldn't want to come in and help? J.J. and next year's four sophomores will be that much better, and Jordan Harris and Tyree Crump will ratchet things up on offense. We're just a player or two away from having an incredible run.
6. Coach Fox
For those who wanted a coaching change, it ain't gonna happen. If Fox will use his momentum and continue to play fast on offense and zone on defense, that would be enough of a coaching change for most of us. That, and #5 above.
7. NCAA Tournament
Makes sense to me to have four teams from the SEC in the NCAA Tournament: UK, Texas AM, South Carolina and UGA. I think we're in. Sure, I'm biased, but Georgia closed the season with five straight wins and a close one against Kentucky. That's a lot for the selection committee to disregard.
All in all, great game, Dawgs. A win would have been huge, but you represented us well.