Sure, Georgia kept it close in the first half by fighting like mad – with Kevin Brohpy, Jay McAuley, and Tommy Wainscott. The Bulldogs’ scholarship players didn’t do much better against the Wildcats.
Shagari Alleyne was a photographer’s dream. He dunked the ball on Georgia players time and again as if his authoritative rim-rattlers were being taken for a Sports Illustrated center spread.
Positives? There were a few. Younes Idrissi came ready to play against the skyscraper forwards and centers the Cats have. Idrissi was in good shot blocking form and influenced a play or two on the defensive end of the court. But his dunk in the first half was the hardest I have seen him go to the basket all season.
Georgia’s guards came out of the half time break aggressive. They drove the ball on the Cats, who have some of the best guards in the country, and made some plays that way. Levi Stukes was the beneficiary of most of that driving as he recovered from his difficult outing at Ole Miss to score 18.
The game was relatively in doubt at the half as the Wildcats were only winning by 12. Georgia had their chances to keep the deficit under ten, but squandered those chances.
The negatives of the day?
Sundiata Gaines, unlike Stukes, struggled to score. Much of his recent scoring slump is just as a result of learning to play in the SEC. He has yet to score more than ten points in his last three games – this after failing to score over ten only once (Alabama A&M) in the first ten games of the year.
Georgia’s scholarship hurt is obvious. There is little doubt about the effort of the Bulldogs – effort is there from the players (when Levi Stukes is diving on the floor down 20 with two minutes left in the contest there is little question about effort). The problem is the talent level in Athens. Levi Stukes might start at another SEC school besides Georgia right now, but only a handful. The rest of the starters at Georgia would come of the bench for sure.
The Bulldogs’ hope is to shorten games as much as possible in order to give themselves a chance to win. It nearly worked against Tennessee and Ole Miss, and it could happen next Saturday against Vanderbilt, but that is yet to be seen.