Say this for Mark Fox: It didn’t take the new Georgia basketball coach long to get his first signature win.
To be sure, the men’s basketball Dogs are still an undermanned unit that faces a long, tough slog in the SEC wars beginning Saturday at No. 3 Kentucky. But facing No. 17-ranked Georgia Tech, a heavily hyped team with the nation’s most celebrated freshman class, Fox’s team played smart, hung tough and, most importantly, showed good coaching. The fact that the Dogs currently are the SEC’s best free throw-shooting team is an indication of that.
Georgia’s lone quality player, Trey Thompkins, came up big with 20 points in the 73-66 upset win, but here’s the key to what kind of night it was for the heavily favored Jackets: The Dogs’ Ricky McPhee, a former walk-on, hit two key baskets near the end of Tuesday night’s game at Stegeman Coliseum and scored 16 points, twice as many as Tech’s much heralded Derrick Favors, who many expect to be the latest in the string of talented players putting in a year at the Institute before going on to the NBA.
So the Dogs won their 13th consecutive game against Tech at the Steg, setting the tone for a great evening for anyone who favors red and black as the football Jackets learned the hard way that before you start talking about making a run at the BCS title next year, you first have to win this year’s bowl game. And the list of folks Paul Johnson would like to punch continues to grow.
If it weren’t Tech, you could almost feel sorry for them. First major bowl since LBJ was president, and they come up short. Again.
But it was Tech. So you’ll see a lot of smiling Bulldogs fans today.
With the Lady Bulldogs also having beaten their North Avenue rivals recently, the stars definitely seem correctly aligned of late. As the final seconds ticked away in the basketball game in Athens, those students in the “Wreck Tech” T-shirts who made it to the game despite school not being in session yet started chanting, “Just like football!”
OK, Diamond Dogs, it’s your turn next!
RENNIE NOT READY YET
As expected, Reshad Jones made it official Tuesday that he’s leaving school a year early to go pro, but reports from ESPN and elsewhere that Rennie Curran would join him in the announcement proved premature.
Apparently Curran is still undecided, which at this point can only be viewed as a good thing by Dogs fans. Odds are he’ll still skip his senior year for the NFL, but perhaps he’s waiting to see who Georgia’s new defensive coordinator will be.
Curran told Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald Tuesday afternoon that he “definitely” hasn’t made up his mind. Curran said “it’s pretty funny to read newspapers reporting that sources close to me [say that he’s leaving]. I’ve told people many times that before I make a decision I’m going to talk it over with Coach [Mark] Richt and my family and we’ll go from there. I don’t know what information they’re getting that I’ve already decided to leave when they haven’t gotten it from me.”
I still think Curran will leave. But my fingers are crossed.