Georgia men’s basketball team falls behind early, can’t catch Youngstown State

Youngstown State kept Georgia scoreless early and held on for a 68-56 victory on Monday at Stegeman Coliseum in the first game of the Progressive Legends Classic.

Georgia (1-1) did not score its first basket until more than four minutes into the game, allowing Youngstown State (2-0) to start with an 8-0 lead. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ended Georgia’s scoring drought with a 3-pointer with 15:55 remaining in the first half.

“That’s a frustrating loss,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We played very poorly offensively in the first half. … We can’t play that immaturely offensively and have chances to win.”

Georgia scored 14 points in the first half, and eight of those were scored by Caldwell-Pope. Youngstown State dominated the inside early, outscoring Georgia 14-2 in the paint. Fox said missing inside opportunities built more frustration in his post players.

“We had some shots around the basket in the first half that just did not go in,” Fox said. “The frustration just kept building on them, and Nemi (Djurisic) never could get out of it.”

Junior forward Marcus Thornton said Monday’s loss was an example of how a shortage of post production can happen to any team.

“Some days shots just do not go in, and today was one of those days for everybody,” Thornton said. “We just have to pick our heads up and move forward.”

Fox credited Youngstown State for its performance out of the gate, but he admitted Georgia’s offense was out of its element from the tip-off.

“We were so out of rhythm,” Fox said. “We started walking the ball up at a snail’s pace. We wanted to slow down and execute, but we slowed down too much.”

Youngstown State led Georgia 25-14 at the half, but the Bulldogs came out of the locker room with more momentum as Caldwell-Pope hit a quick 3-pointer. Sherrard Brantley followed Caldwell-Pope with a 3 of his own to cut the Youngstown State lead to 29-20.

Georgia improved its shooting percentage in the second half by shooting 48 percent. The Bulldogs shot 12 percent in the first half with. The Bulldogs also cut their turnover total from 11 in the first half to four in the second half.

Georgia had problems finding an offensive threat outside of Caldwell-Pope throughout the game. The sophomore paced Georgia with 27 points, while Thornton and sophomore Tim Dixon finished the game with eight points apiece. The lack of scoring in the first half stripped Georgia of any chance it had to make a run in the second.

“We put ourselves in a hole in the first half,” Thornton said. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well and we put a lot of pressure on our defense.”

Caldwell-Pope found his rhythm Monday by connecting on 10 of his 18 shot attempts, but he said the team will have to work harder if it plans to be ready when it hosts Southern Mississippi at 8 p.m. Thursday.

“We need to get into practice court and work harder,” Caldwell-Pope said. “After the game, Coach Fox just told us in the locker room that we need to play more together, pick our heads up and work harder.”

Fox said he hopes that Monday’s loss, as well as Friday night’s win against Jacksonville, will serve as learning experiences for Georgia as it moves forward.

“We didn’t play well the other night (Friday) once we got a lead, and we got away with a win,” Fox said. “Today we didn’t get away with it. Hopefully this will be a good stepping stone for us because it’s certainly a teachable moment.”

 

 

YOUNGSTOWN ST. (2-0)

Allen 3-8 0-0 7, Perry 6-12 10-11 23, Amiker 2-5 0-0 4, Belin 5-9 4-5 17, Eargle 4-10 2-4 10, Cole 1-7 2-2 5, Hain 0-1 0-0 0, Larson 1-1 0-0 2, Weber 0-0 0-0 0, Podolsky 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-53 18-22 68.

 

GEORGIA (1-1)

Caldwell-Pope 10-18 2-3 27, Thornton 1-6 6-8 8, V. Williams 0-5 1-2 1, Brantley 3-8 0-0 7, Djurisic 0-9 2-2 2, Mann 0-3 0-0 0, Dixon 2-2 4-4 8, Gaines 0-0 0-0 0, Morris 0-1 0-1 0, Florveus 1-1 1-1 3, Cannon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-53 16-21 56.

 

Halftime — Youngstown St. 25-14. 3-Point Goals — Youngstown St. 6-19 (Belin 3-6, Perry 1-3, Cole 1-3, Allen 1-6, Amiker 0-1), Georgia 6-16 (Caldwell-Pope 5-11, Brantley 1-4, V. Williams 0-1). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Youngstown St. 42 (Eargle 10), Georgia 31 (Caldwell-Pope 6). Assists — Youngstown St. 10 (Perry 5), Georgia 7 (Brantley 3). Total Fouls — Youngstown St. 22, Georgia 23. A — 4,275.