The start of the season has not been kind to Georgia’s record.
But Bulldogs coach Mark Fox sees signs of improvement as the team heads into its rivalry game against Georgia Tech.
“We’ve played well at times, but we haven’t played well for 40 minutes,” Fox said. “We’ve played well for 32 one night, 37 the next, 36 the next. We’ve got to play 40 at this level against the kind of teams we’re playing. We haven’t done that yet. That’s some consistency that we’ve got to find and a little bit more maturity to get those 40 minutes or 45.”
Georgia (2-5) has lost five of its last six games going into today’s matchup with the Yellow Jackets (4-2). Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at Georgia Tech’s newly refurbished McCamish Pavilion.
“It’s easy to be frustrated in any endeavor that you have,” Fox said. “It’s your reaction to it that’s really critical. I think we’re improving. I think we’re getting better in certain areas. I want it to happen faster than it has. We are where we are and we’ve got to keep focusing on getting better.”
Fox said he has been encouraged by Georgia’s defense in the early going. Georgia is forcing opponents to shoot 41.5 percent from the field, including 32.1 percent from the 3-point line. Last week, Georgia held East Tennessee State to 14 of 50 (28 percent) field-goal shooting and 38 points in a 54-38 victory. But last Friday in a 64-53 loss at South Florida, the Bulls were 20 of 42 (47.6 percent) field-goal shooting.
“Our defensive numbers are not far away from an area where we want them,” Fox said. “I don’t think it was very good the other night (South Florida). But I do think defensively we’ve become more consistent.”
Offense is where Georgia has struggled the most this season. One area where the Bulldogs could help themselves tremendously is the free-throw line, where the Bulldogs are shooting 64.9 percent. Georgia has not been very effective getting to the line to get more opportunities there. In its last four games, Georgia has averaged 8.5 free throw attempts a game as a team when it has lost three of four. In the only win of the stretch, Georgia went 0-for-1 against East Tennessee State.
“We’re still not getting to the foul line enough,” Fox said. “Not shooting the free throws is maybe the most frustrating thing. We’re not shooting the free throws as well as we should. But I think we’ve made some improvements. We’re spending some time on some things in practice. Hopefully some of those numbers will get better.”
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been Georgia’s bright spot on offense. The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard is the only Bulldogs player scoring in double figures at 17.6 a game. He has hit 22 of Georgia’s 46 3-pointers and has taken nearly twice as many shots (102) than the next-highest Bulldog (Nemanja Djurisic with 61).
“Kentavious is doing all he can,” Fox said. “We need somebody else to finish some plays. Our front line, Nemi (Djurisic) and Donte’ (Williams) have got to be more effective. (Djurisic) is not shooting the percentage he’s capable of (36.1 percent). We do have some young guys — John Cannon and Tim Dixon — who have come in and finished some plays for us. But we’ve got to find some other guys who can score and not put it all on one guy’s shoulders. That’s probably our No. 1 issue right now.”
Georgia at Georgia Tech
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: McCamish Pavilion, Atlanta.
Radio: WRFC 960-AM.
Records: Georgia is 2-5, Georgia Tech is 4-2.
Season at a glance: Georgia has lost five of its last six, including 64-53 last Friday at South Florida. Georgia Tech has lost two of its last three, including 75-62 at Illinois last Wednesday.
Probable starting lineups: Georgia Tech: Robert Carter Jr. (Fr., 6-8, 245, 7.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg); F Marcus Georges-Hunt (Fr., 6-5, 218, 11.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg); C Daniel Miller (Jr., 6-11, 258, 5.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg); G Mfon Udofia (Sr., 6-2, 195,10.2ppg, 2.5 rpg); G Brandon Reed (Jr., 6-3, 182, 4.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg). Georgia: F: Marcus Thornton (6-8, 235, Jr., 3.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg); F Nemanja Djurisic (6-8, 230, So., 8.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg); C Donte’ Williams (Jr., 6-9, 225, 6.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg); G Vincent Williams (6-0, 165, Sr., 5.7 ppg, 3.0 apg); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (6-5, 205, 17.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg).
Series record: Georgia Tech leads 102-86.
Last meeting: Georgia Tech won 68-56 last season in Athens.
Noteworthy: This will be Georgia’s first time to see newly refurbished McCamish Pavilion. … The road team has won the last two meetings in the series. Georgia won 73-72 in the 2010-11 season in Atlanta. After tonight, Georgia will go on an 11-day break from games for final exams. … Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has led Georgia in scoring in all seven games so far this season. He also leads the team in rebounding (6.0 rpg) but had a season-low three at South Florida on Friday. … Point guard Vincent Williams has taken 10 free throws (hitting four) and has not shot any in the past three games. … Donte’ Williams has shot 14 of 22 (63.6 percent) from the field. … John Cannon has hit 10 of his last 17 field goals (58.8 percent) and has averaged 7.3 points in the last three games. … Georgia Tech has not played in six days since returning from Illinois. The Illinois game was a stop-over after the Yellow Jackets went 2-1 in a tournament in Anaheim, Calif. … Georgia Tech returns every player except one who scored against Georgia last season. … Georgia Tech is holding opponents to 55.7 points a game and two opponents have scored less than 40.