UGA wins a shocker, but should we really be so shocked?

Paul Hewitt was brought low in Athens yet again. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Tech's Paul Hewitt was brought low in Athens yet again. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

ATHENS – There’s a good team in there somewhere. Maybe it’ll show itself Saturday when Duke comes to Atlanta. It needs to show up soon. We’re into January now, and Georgia Tech still acts as if it’s just another collegiate aggregation. It could, and should, be much more.

“This team still has a pretty high ceiling,” Paul Hewitt said Tuesday night. He said this moments after his tall and talented team had run face-first into a closing door.

The Jackets came to Stegeman Coliseum to play a game not many folks watched — another Tech team was busy elsewhere — and for that Hewitt can be grateful. Tech fans, as we know, have seen it all before. But here, for late tuners-in, is a recap:

Once again the Jackets allowed a lesser opponent to dictate tempo. Once again Tech seemed determined to match every basket with a turnover. Once again it lost.

Yes, yes. We must credit Georgia at the same time we castigate Tech. The Bulldogs have one player (Trey Thompkins) who would make the Jackets’ 10-man rotation.  Mark Fox is doing brilliant things with this undermanned team. And Hewitt … well, he’s not looking so brilliant.

Three days ago Georgia lost to Missouri by 28 points. On Tuesday it beat Tech and was the better team throughout. You kept waiting, as is always the case with the Jackets, for talent to have its way, but talent, as is often the case with these Jackets, meant little without direction.

Tech’s best play was an offensive rebound — it had 19 of those and 18 second-chance points. It didn’t make a trey until the game’s 33rd minute. Its famous freshman Derrick Favors finished with more turnovers (five) and fouls (four) than baskets (three).  I hate to keep harping on coaching — really I do — but if you’re ranked 20th in the land and you can’t handle the team picked to finish last in the SEC East, what does that say about the man at the top?

It wasn’t as if the Stegasaurus took on the charged ambience of Cameron Indoor Stadium. The place was barely half-full. But Tech allowed Georgia to become the aggressor early, managing but 12 points in the first 11 minutes. You can’t do that on the road. You have to hit the other guy harder sooner. Tech did nothing but counterpunch.

The Jackets finished with 66 points. With their size and speed, they should be playing games in the 80s. But they don’t know how to press the issue without throwing the ball away. (They finished with 20 turnovers against 23 baskets and eight assists.) They’re young on the perimeter, sure. But they act even younger.

In the end it came down to Georgia making the assertive plays and the Jackets being unable to guard Ricky McPhee, who’s listed as 6-foot-1. When in doubt, the Bulldogs put the ball on the floor and made something happen in the lane. Thompkins drove for a huge hoop at the shot-clock horn, and McPhee, of all people, shook free down the lane for an underhand banker to clinch it.

Tech, by way of contrast, did its stand-around thing. When it got the ball low to Gani Lawal, it was OK. (He had 21 of the Jackets’ 66 points.) When it couldn’t, it was at sea. And that, sad to say, is the impression Tech has left after 14 games. It has won 11 times, but when put to the test by Florida State and now Georgia it failed. FSU is a decent-enough team. Georgia still has miles to go before it can lay claim to decency.

But say this for the Bulldogs: They know who they are and how they have to play, and they keep doing it. “We have limitations,” Fox said, “but we know what they are.” Contrast this with Tech, which has assets almost everywhere but doesn’t seem to know where to turn.

451 comments Add your comment

willie martinez

January 5th, 2010
9:28 pm

Barry

January 5th, 2010
9:29 pm

A UG
A win and I’m first. Two miracles.

Barry

January 5th, 2010
9:30 pm

Typed too fast.

Atlanta dawg

January 5th, 2010
9:30 pm

Go Dawgs!!!!

willie martinez

January 5th, 2010
9:34 pm

Barry, it really wasn’t fair. i did the play-by-play while Mark did the game column, so i knew he was about through with the piece.

Buzz Aldrin

January 5th, 2010
9:35 pm

Paul Hewitt needs to leave and take his one-and-dones with him since they don’t contribute

Where's Saint Simons' b!tch a$$ now?

January 5th, 2010
9:35 pm

GT football is overrated!
GT basketball is overrated!
The ACC is overrated!
WE RUN THIS STATE!!!!!

Bride of Chucky Knapp

January 5th, 2010
9:36 pm

We run this state!

bryan

January 5th, 2010
9:36 pm

bradley your an idiot if you think Thompkins wouldnt start for GT. He weld his own in the offseason with some of the best. GT has an overrated coach and overrated players. Next yr no favors and lawal and they are mediocre again. WE RUN THIS STATE!!!

NCBULLDAWG86

January 5th, 2010
9:36 pm

teehee… Go DAWGS!!!!

bryan

January 5th, 2010
9:36 pm

bradley your an idiot if you think Thompkins wouldnt start for GT. He held his own in the offseason with some of the best. GT has an overrated coach and overrated players. Next yr no favors and lawal and they are mediocre again. WE RUN THIS STATE!!!

jellybeandawg

January 5th, 2010
9:37 pm

HA! SUCK IT, TECH!!!!!

UGAissolastyear

January 5th, 2010
9:37 pm

Bobby beats UNC and Hewitt loses once again to an inferior team. Oh, how things have changed…. for the worse.

woodie

January 5th, 2010
9:37 pm

Mark- I don’t know what you are watching but Tech will not be a good team this year. You have to have good guard play to be good and they don’t have it.

Eat It St. Simons

January 5th, 2010
9:37 pm

((((30-24)))) hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
((((73-66)))) hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

WE RUN THIS STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

secdawgs

January 5th, 2010
9:38 pm

Dawgs win…..and only if IA can hold on in FL. Would be a graet night all the way around. GO DAWGS

bjfussell

January 5th, 2010
9:39 pm

paul hewwitt beter thank the good lord tech is playing in the orange bowl

Athenzdawg

January 5th, 2010
9:40 pm

(((((30-24))))) HAHAHAHAHAHA St, Simons

I loved the student section chanting at the end of the game

“Just like football”

State Champs again ;D

Jim Ragan

January 5th, 2010
9:40 pm

Great comeback victory for the UGA Basketball Program, especially after the blowout loss to Missouri. Glad to see another big win tonight vs. Tech, in addition to their recent upset victory over Illinois. Hopefully, under Coach Fox, they will continue to get better going into the SEC part of their schedule.

Bill

January 5th, 2010
9:40 pm

I’m a GT fan. Tell the truth Fox out coached Hewitt which was no shocker. Congrat to UGA & FOX.

Fire HEWIIT.

willie martinez

January 5th, 2010
9:41 pm

Maybe Coach Hewitt is overrated.

Barry

January 5th, 2010
9:41 pm

Willie, you always could makee the adjustment. And Mark, you didn’t like the Fox hire. Are you changing your mind? UGA has no business beating Illinois or Tech.

J Clay

January 5th, 2010
9:41 pm

Where is the nerd spin on this one? guess you are watching your football team struggle

ThrashDawg

January 5th, 2010
9:41 pm

“Georgia has miles to go before it can think about breaking .500.” The way I see it 8-5 is above .500 as of now. I assume you think the Dawgs will go in the tank from here.

We Run This State

January 5th, 2010
9:41 pm

Football and Basketball State Champions!!!!

tgc198

January 5th, 2010
9:41 pm

Trey Thompkins should be starting just about anywhere he overwhelmingly outplayed Derrick Favors

bjfussell

January 5th, 2010
9:42 pm

Buzz Aldrin

January 5th, 2010
9:43 pm

Fire Hewitt! Fire Hewitt! Fire Hewitt!

Right On Time

January 5th, 2010
9:43 pm

Shocker???????

How has yech done in Athens? How has the current yech coach done in Athens?

Not really a shocker…

kentucky beating UGA in football in Athens is a shocker…

Happydawg

January 5th, 2010
9:43 pm

WE RUN THE STATE

Shocker

January 5th, 2010
9:44 pm

I’ll give you a shocker!

tgc198

January 5th, 2010
9:44 pm

not getting blown out by UK would be a shocker

RedGADawg

January 5th, 2010
9:45 pm

Often I have commented that Tech has a really bad coach! Good recruiter, but proves time and again he can not coach. This is a one year and done team that now may not make the Big Dance! How long before the Yella Bug Alumni yell like the Dawgs “old folks” did for a talent to lead their team! Every game gives me hope that the “round ball” product will become a tough ticket like fall ball in Athens.

Ozzy

January 5th, 2010
9:46 pm

HEWITT MUST GO!!! TONIGHT WOULD BE GOOD!!!!!!

UGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Turtsnap

January 5th, 2010
9:46 pm

On a football note….. sitting here watching the GT/Iowa game…. what if….. Mark Richt is waiting to talk to Iowa’s Defensive Coordinator? I mean, they do have the number 13 defense in the NCAA… and UGA would be a more attractive place to coach than Iowa……

Floundering Fox Hounds Batman!

January 5th, 2010
9:46 pm

Iowa driving again!

Denver Dog

January 5th, 2010
9:47 pm

I still want to know how Alabama has gone 11 SEC games without a holding penalty? I guess there is something to Coach Fox. He obviously had less talent. Hey Jackets, who is coaching up now???

Bunch

January 5th, 2010
9:47 pm

Mark, You are to be commended for calling Hewitt to task for his failure to coach top talent and noting Fox’s good work thus far at UGA. However, your assertion that only Trey Tompkins would crack Tech’s 10-man rotation – whatever that means as Hewitt rarely plays ten players in any game – seems off-base. Travis Leslie remains a bit raw skillwise, but he’s a real force on both ends of the floor with his athleticism and hustle. In his 2nd year he’s averaging 13-6 and to date has saved his best games for the best on the schedule (Tech 12-4, Mizzou 18-5, Illinois 17-3, St. John’s 14-5 and VPI 17-7).

Frank

January 5th, 2010
9:47 pm

In bookstores now: “How to select a suit, secure a nice rollover contract (courtesy a UGA grad), and fail at your job” by Paul Hewitt with forewords written by Leading Empty Suits of Corporate America.

JM

January 5th, 2010
9:47 pm

Mark, you’re normally not prone to hyperbole, but your statement that Thompkins is the only guy who be in Tech’s 10 man rotation is a little bit over the top. While GT is clearly much more talented than UGA, I think Leslie would definitely be in Tech’s rotation, and Price probably would be as well.

bigdawg88

January 5th, 2010
9:48 pm

Bet ‘ole Bobby Cremins is looking pretty good right now, huh?

30-24 Dawgs - WE RUN THIS STATE

January 5th, 2010
9:48 pm

Just Like Football! Clap Clap, Clap Clap Clap!

Denver Dog

January 5th, 2010
9:49 pm

Hey Turtsnap, what if he already has?

ToccoaDawg

January 5th, 2010
9:49 pm

Wait until Fox gets a couple of years of recruiting in Bradley you will go running home to Kentucky

ToccoaDawg

January 5th, 2010
9:50 pm

Never surprised to see Marky put the Dawgs down.

phil

January 5th, 2010
9:51 pm

Not sure all that Tech has complimentary talent. Lawal and Favors may have a tough time sharing the block. “Young on the Perimeter” means that distributing the ball and three point shooting will be erratic. Tech is young and talented and that may be, at times, a curse!

Go Dogs! Go Tompkins! Yippee for McPhee! Oh well, for one night, it feels good.

phil

January 5th, 2010
9:51 pm

Enter your comments here

Floundering Fox Hounds Batman!

January 5th, 2010
9:52 pm

CMR either needs to talk with the Uconn or Iowa DC’s immediately….

jellybeandawg

January 5th, 2010
9:52 pm

Bill you are are a classy tech fan.. Thanks.

Ozzy

January 5th, 2010
9:52 pm

Losing to Georgia in basketball is just flat out embarrasing. In football it’s expected.

Hewitt is 4-6 against UGA. Fire him tonight.