Bulldogs run out of gas vs. Vandy in SEC quarterfinals

NEW ORLEANS – Mark Fox insisted he was not concerned about the turnaround his team faced in playing on back-to-back nights in the SEC tournament. But the Bulldogs looked a step slow Friday night as they fell to Vanderbilt for the third time this season, 63-41 this time.

Despite much evidence to the contrary, Fox was still hesitant to admit fatigue was a factor.

“We just didn’t defend well enough,” said Fox, who saw the Commodores outscore his team 39-16 in the second half. “That would be unfair to Vanderbilt to say that. Our defense was pretty good in the first half, but I think they made their first five or six shots to start the second half, and I really think that was the big key. . . . Our defense failed us.”

That poor defense probably had something to do with tired legs. The Bulldogs fought hard and played one of their better games in defeating Mississippi State 61-51 on Friday. But they looked completely different 22 hours later.

After having five players score in double figures in the opening round, Georgia had just one Saturday and that was Dustin Ware with 10 points. Gerald Robinson, who had 23 the previous night, scored just three. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s two points were 11 fewer than he had in the game 22 hours before.

In fact, Georgia’s five starters totaled just 15 points combined.

“Definitely, fatigue got to us a little bit,” said freshman forward Nemanja Djurisic, who had 7 points and 5 turnovers in 30 minutes after posting an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double on Thursday. “They shot the ball much better in the second half. We stayed with them as long as we could, but we were in foul trouble the whole time and we just couldn’t pull it out.”

Robinson was nearly unstoppable on the dribble-drive against State, but he was 1-of-6 Saturday and attempted just two foul shots against Vandy.

“Maybe a little bit,” Robinson said of being tired, “but that’s part of basketball. You’ve got to learn how to play through that. Tonight we just weren’t able to overcome that. We dug ourselves a hole in the second half and just couldn’t overcome it and get over the hump.”

Vandy was led by John Jenkins with 15 points, though that represented 13 fewer than he had versus UGA in Athens last month. Brad Tinsley added 12. The Commodores were only 6-of-25 from 3-point range but scored most of their baskets at the time.

The victory gave Vanderbilt a three-game sweep of the Bulldogs this season. Seeded No. 3 in the tournament, the Commodores (22-10) advance to the semifinals where they’ll take on No. 7 seed Ole Miss (20-12) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Vandy is likely to encounter another tired team. The Rebels needed overtime to defeat Tennessee 77-72 in a game that ended after 10 p.m.

Kentucky and Florida will meet in the other semifinal Saturday at 1 p.m. after hard-fought matchups in the quarterfinals. The Gators (23-9) defeated Alabama 66-63 while the Wildcats (31-1) rallied late to edge LSU 60-51.

Georgia was looking to crash the weekend party at the tournament for the first time since 2008 when it made its unexpected run to the championship in Atlanta. But the Bulldogs appeared to run out of gas in the second half against Vanderbilt.

After forging a 25-24 halftime lead, Georgia was outscored 12-2 over the first four minutes of the second half. They briefly got Vandy’s lead back down to four with Ware’s second 3-pointer at the 14:36 mark, but then the Bulldogs didn’t make another field goal for more than eight minutes. By then they had fallen behind by 15 points.

Ware provided the lone highlight for the Bulldogs. His 3-pointer 6:10 into the contest gave him 1,000 points for his career. He becomes the 42nd Bulldog to accomplish the feat.

“I guess it feels good,” said Ware, whose career ends with 1,007 points. “I wish I could have left on a win, but it’s definitely an accomplishment. It’s something I set out to do and I was glad I was able to accomplish it. ”

Georgia hung tough for the first 20 minutes. In fact, despite serious foul trouble in the first half, the Bulldogs led 25-24 at halftime.

Just like in the first-round against Mississippi State, starters Caldwell-Pope, Donte Williams and Marcus Thornton were all on the bench with two fouls apiece just 11 minutes into the contest.

But once again, other players stepped up in their absence. Rarely-used freshman center John Cannon led UGA with 6 points on 1-of-1 shooting and 4-for-4 foul shooting in the opening half. Junior guard Sherrard Brantley came off the bench and played 12 minutes and grabbed four defensive rebounds and 2 points. Even Tim Dixon, who has played all of 10 minutes since January, got in two minutes of work and grabbed two rebounds in that time.

“That’s as bad a foul trouble as we maybe have been in all year,” Fox said. “We have
had a couple games like that. But our bench was good in the first half, but we certainly had to go a little deeper into it than most coaches would ever plan on.”

58 comments Add your comment

DeepDiver

March 10th, 2012
4:01 am

OK year considering limited talent pool. Time to hit the recruiting trail.

Gman

March 10th, 2012
4:28 am

A gritty halftime lead devolved into a wipeout-where have we seen that before?

Football Guy

March 10th, 2012
6:07 am

Hahahhhahahahahahahahaha
hhahahahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahahahahahahahahahaha
hahahahaha……………………………..
……………………………………………
………

Buzz 2011

March 10th, 2012
6:21 am

Wher was Kantavian Pope for this game? Looks like Fox only plays the kid once in a while. Last week he hit for 25 points..

Dawg

March 10th, 2012
7:12 am

This game reminded me of the way Auburn was asked to leave the sec tourney at this time by Mike Slive and the officials.

Gordon

March 10th, 2012
7:13 am

Huge step back from last year. I know losing Thompkins and Leslie was tough, but they stayed 3 years which is more than most talented players. This was year 3, not year 1.

Both Tech and UGA scored 16 points in their final half of the season. I think Tech has a much better excuse than UGA.

Joey

March 10th, 2012
7:24 am

Ran out of gas? None of these 20 year olds better have NBA asperations . . .

TampaGator

March 10th, 2012
7:26 am

Florida is most lkely next out of the tourney…….vs. Kentucky. But that would be true with any team playing Kentucky next.

Thenumber34

March 10th, 2012
7:27 am

Not the way I’d prefer for us to go out, however, it was good to see some of the young guys get this experience heading into next year. Mark Fox has shown he can coach up his players, and if we can get some consistent shooting from the incoming guards, UGA will be a tournament team…..and sooner vs. later. Go Dawgs!!!!

falcaints

March 10th, 2012
7:55 am

Yeah, now we can spend the next 5 months talking about how great Ga’s football team will be.

TommyP

March 10th, 2012
7:56 am

Wow…the ignorance is on display this morning!

This team is not very talented at all. Fox did a very good job with this group. He just needs to keep building the talent base and this year’s incoming recruiting class is his best so far. If he lands Tony Parker, the lid will be blown off next year.

There’s a reason Mark Fox was named the #1 coach in the country in developing players.

Denard

March 10th, 2012
8:04 am

Wow, it must be hard for UGA to be the only team in the NCAA that plays on back to back days in their conference tournament. I dont know what is more pathetic. UGA being that poorly conditioned and coached or the AJC writing stories that make excuses for the team as if they are the only team to play on consecutive days. AJC needs to branch out and hire some non-UGA journalists. It’s a joke to read some of these articles.

RJ

March 10th, 2012
8:05 am

Thanks TommyP for bringing some reality into the conversation. Fox is a good coach and they will be a much improved team next year. Just listen to the guys who know more than bloggers, the other coaches who respect Fox and recognize his talent. I am proud to have him represent the University of Georgia and so should the true fans.

bucket

March 10th, 2012
8:48 am

The fact of the matter is that Vandy is just a better basketball team than UGA this year. The first half was alot of fun to watch even though 3 of the better UGA players only got to play about 10 minutes. Because it was only the second game of the tourney and most of the starters played so few minutes in the first half I call bullcrap on the fatigue thing, too. Unfortunately, the second half played out like most of the season did. The freshman played like freshman and the two senior guards were incredibly inconsistent. Here’s hoping the incoming guards are ready to go and another year helps the current roster to mature. Oh, and I am still hoping for a Tony Parker type miracle!

Jim

March 10th, 2012
8:49 am

Fox is a good coach but not a good recruiter–don’t know what he is telling prospects but suggest he change pitch–seems like talent level on team is going down not up.

Dogs Smell

March 10th, 2012
8:57 am

Really ? and I guess you thought you were going to win it all? Go ahead and tell us how you deserve to go to the dance?

AngryDog

March 10th, 2012
9:00 am

fox better start winning big next year or he can hit the road! Not even making the NIT is embarrassing!

Dogs Smell

March 10th, 2012
9:01 am

Yes Georgia , you should be better next year but so will Florida, Vandy , Tennessee,MSU and the rest of the SEC. You found your right place in the SEC just cozy up and enjoy being 2nd to last.

Beast from the East

March 10th, 2012
9:15 am

Vandy will not be better next year. Look at the number of seniors they are losing. UF may be worse, as well. Much depends on who decides to leave early.

Dogs Smell

March 10th, 2012
9:28 am

Beast, they Vandy have dept. They have players coming back. Georgia doesnt have any dept. They have a coach who lacks the ability to make 2nd half adjustments. BTW Beast from the East , does your name reflect UF? It sure as Hell cant be Georgia unless you’re still asleep.

Buzz 2011

March 10th, 2012
9:34 am

Wht didn’t Fox play Kantavian Caldwell Pope in final game?/

jc_dawgs

March 10th, 2012
9:42 am

Well…not the best of seasons. Anyhow….thanks goes out to our seniors….Ware…Robinson…Nolte and Bucklin. Thanks for the effort guys and best of luck.

Otherwise….I got only one word to say…..RECRUIT!

Snoop Dawg

March 10th, 2012
9:50 am

Why is the UGA men’s basketball team a perennial loser in a state stacked with NBA talent? That would be because the alumni and fan base accept it. The problem with UGA athletics is a pitiful fan base that hallucinates on a regular basis that UGA is elite. It isn’t. It once was.
As long as the alumni and fans are complacent with mediocrity and agree to pay scam artists like Adams, McGarrity, and Richt the big bucks, you will continue to hallucinate.

Snoop Dawg

March 10th, 2012
9:52 am

Just like Corey sings, it’s always, “wait ’till next year” with the UGA teams…

RaleighDawg

March 10th, 2012
10:02 am

@Buzz 2011

Not sure if you’re tryiing to be funny, but in the event you’re not…KCP started the game but when he picked up his second foul in the first half, Fox, being the great coach as so pundits here have lauded, then sat him down for the remainder of the half. In the second half KCP played 14 minutes, but the the streaky KCP’s shooting was turned to the cold setting for this game and went 1-6 in the second half.

Homepage | MrSEC

March 10th, 2012
10:13 am

[...] Georgia 41.  Defense makes the difference for the Commodores. Georgia’s five starters combine for 15 points. Bulldogs season ends with a 15-17 [...]

christophorm

March 10th, 2012
10:16 am

Old man bob knight is looking good right now boys…HUH

Bama=home of the T-bag special

March 10th, 2012
10:39 am

Talk about a tough week Bug U loses in the first round of the ACC tourny and then Lo and Behold their 2009 ACC football title is once and forever declared forfeit….

duronimo

March 10th, 2012
10:46 am

I’m wondering if Fox is that astute at assessing players. Some people off that bench showed more poise and better skills than the starters they replaced. I’m also wondering why he can’t do something about shots that are jacked up way past the pro 3 point line.

duronimo

March 10th, 2012
10:56 am

FIrst half fouls did what Fox would have never done …. let some really good players on the floor out of necessity. That’s why the first half was excellent. And some of those guys have only played a few minutes all year … in all those blow-outs? I’m off the Fox bandwagon..How far down would we have been if the starters were’t forced to sit,

441North

March 10th, 2012
11:03 am

Marcus Thornton has no business being on the court.

LakeDawg

March 10th, 2012
11:13 am

TommyP

March 10th, 2012
7:56 am

Wow…the ignorance is on display this morning!

This team is not very talented at all. Fox did a very good job with this group. He just needs to keep building the talent base and this year’s incoming recruiting class is his best so far. If he lands Tony Parker, the lid will be blown off next year.

There’s a reason Mark Fox was named the #1 coach in the country in developing players.
———————————————————————————————————————————

You are right on the money with that post, TommyP

Beast from the East

March 10th, 2012
11:20 am

Dogs Smell,
Yes, I’m a Gator. Just keeping it real about next year. Vandy may have depth, but you cannot replace experience. UF will take a step back if Boynton and Beal decide to leave early. If Patrick young leaves early, then we’ll be in the ditch on bigs.

Pope UGA XXIII

March 10th, 2012
11:21 am

Don’t know who “football guy” is and don’t really care, but that is one
of more functionally illiterate comments I have seen posted in some time.
Do you know any other words or can you even think of the school you
support, or do you even have a G E D ??

Beast from the East

March 10th, 2012
11:23 am

For what it’s worth, I think Fox got as much out of his talent as anyone this year. But if he isn’t able to attract more talented kids then he won’t make it very long at UGA. The SEC is going to get nothing but harder with Grant over at Bama, Calipari at UK, and the additions of A&M and Mizzou.

UGA is building, never re building

March 10th, 2012
11:27 am

Fox knows how to win in the SEC. He knows what pieces are missing and he knows that he must get some depth and some upper level kids to come in play a couple and then go on. Once Fox can demonstrate that UGA under his leadership, can win around 20-21 or so games consistenly in the SEC and win 2 or 3 in the tourney, and that ensemble creates a path to the league, UGA will be fine.

UGA is building a BB program not rebuilding. GT is rebuilding. UGA is at step # 1 …………..attract high quality kids, #2 is to win 21-22 per year, #3 is to see the UGA players move to the next level often.

This will take about two more years. UGA is on course.

Go Dogs.

Snoop Dawg

March 10th, 2012
12:02 pm

It’s always “next year” with UGA… That story is no longer credible.

The fan base is always full of excuses for their losing programs. What they want to see, they always see more of…

It will not change until the entire expectation culture changes and pressure is brought to bear on the second most profitable university athletic program in the NCAA, behind only Texas. The fans and alumni are not getting value for the money the pump into these programs. Wake up, folks…

It should not take five years to build a competitive basketball team… We’re already on year three…

Terry

March 10th, 2012
12:05 pm

Denard, You have to be one of those pathetic Tech Fans with you’re hatred for UGA, if it bothers you so much to read about UGA, Don’t Do It Idiot!!!

Albert

March 10th, 2012
12:06 pm

I wonder if we combined players from UGA and Tech into one team, would we be any good?

441 North

March 10th, 2012
12:46 pm

Marcus Thornton is not Div. I material right now. He’s got much work to do!

bucket

March 10th, 2012
1:40 pm

Next year is a significant year for the Fox regime in Athens. He has a couple of good guards coming in, but he has got to get better production out of the young bigs next year. I don’t see how anyone can be making bold proclamations about what Fox can and can’t do yet. The program was in a mess when he got there and his 2 best players left for the NBA last year. This year was a rebuilding year anyway you slice it. Fox had 4 scholarships to hand out for next year and three are already taken. He needs a stud to go with Gaines and Mann. I am watching Gaines play in the state championship right now and he is a player!

Dawg BB

March 10th, 2012
5:21 pm

to start getting the top players, Ga is going to have to build a first class arena and get rid of that dump they play in now. Stegeman used to be a rodeo barn and looks like it. It’s embarrassing when ga has to recruit against kentucky and tennessee with top facilities.

luckysnap

March 10th, 2012
7:03 pm

Georgia needs to drop basketball and put the money into the Equestrian team: they know how to win!

Hoopster

March 10th, 2012
8:22 pm

Ran out of gas? Tell that to UConn last year who won 5 in 5. Those kids are 18-20 years old. They didn’t run of out gas. They have no talent and no coach.

phil

March 10th, 2012
10:43 pm

Ran out of gas is bull….

Hung over is more like it.

Embarassed, yet again, to be a dawg.

Fire CMF!!

dee6634

March 10th, 2012
11:31 pm

Let’s see…the first time Vanderbilt beat uga Towers blamed it on the refs and Vanderbilt getting calls. The second time, Jenkins made too many 3s. This time, the dogs were tired I don’t think uga has lost to Vanderbilt yet….

UGA Dawg 97

March 10th, 2012
11:33 pm

Embarassing basketball program!

Tired

March 11th, 2012
6:29 am

Kentucky plays 7 players the whole game including 4 freshmen and 3 sophomores — but they don’t seem to “run out of gas.”

Hairy Dawg

March 11th, 2012
6:32 am

I hate losing to the pointy head Commodes. But we plays stinky and that causes loss. We got to get some more talents and then we can compete better instead of being bad. Losing Thompkins and Leslie was not good and we need learn how to reload. We has to start filling arena to support Dawgs BBall. We know talent in state of Georgia is good and Dawgs own state. We just needs to make the talents stay home in Athens where they get the ladies and partying like no other. They know that what they want best. But recruiting is where it was won after we not reload for Thompkins and Leslie.

Hairy Dawg

March 11th, 2012
9:41 am

Daqgs not in bottoms. We wons the East and went to Dome. The problem not the sportswiters. It Adams. He got to many pointy head restrictoins on recruiting and stockpiling talents at places like Hargraves. Then when player turns out stinkys we can cut him loose and call-up or activate one of the Hargraves mens from stockpile. This allows us to have more talent than bad teams and compete with Bammers. Right now Adams got choking hold on recruiting with the pointy head rules. McG got to stand up Adams.