Having less than 48 hours between its next two games may not be the most ideal situation for Georgia, but Mark Fox isn‚Äôt complaining about the Thursday-Saturday turnaround this week.
‚ÄúTo be honest with you, a Thursday game probably helps us a little bit,‚Äù the Bulldogs coach said.
The Bulldogs were able to get guards Kenny Gaines and Juwan Parker practicing together for the first time in more than 10 days on Monday, Fox said, and the extra time before today‚Äôs 7 p.m. home game gives those players coming off a thigh and hamstring injuries, respectively, a chance to get their rhythm back for the ESPN2 game.
Georgia (10-10, 4-4 SEC) is on a three-game losing slide to Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Auburn and could use a win to boost its confidence.
‚ÄúThis has never been a group that‚Äôs had great confidence and I think you have to be mindful of that as a coach,‚Äù said Fox, referring mostly to who would take over for NBA lottery pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as the go-to scorer. ‚ÄúThey‚Äôve also won some good games and beat some good teams this year. They‚Äôve got to be able to understand how that happened, look at the mistakes we‚Äôve made in the last week, some of it out of our control but much in our control.‚Äù
Said center Donte‚Äô Williams: ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve just been playing poorly on defense, haven‚Äôt been executing good on offense and free throws have been a problem. If we do those three things, we can have success.‚Äù
LSU (14-6, 5-3) is positioning for at-large consideration for the NCAA tournament after winning four of its last five, including home wins over then-No. 11 Kentucky and Arkansas last week.
Forward Johnny O‚ÄôBryant, a 6-foot-9, 256-pound junior, averaged 26 points and nine rebounds in those wins while shooting 63.8 percent from the floor. Another forward, 6-8 forward Jordan Mickey, scored 22 points and had 11 rebounds and six blocks against the Razorbacks.
‚ÄúThey have a lot of size,‚Äù Georgia point guard Charles Mann said of the post players. ‚ÄúOf course, Johnny O‚ÄôBryant is an NBA draft pick. We‚Äôve got to come ready to play and play at our best in order to win.‚Äù
Said LSU coach Johnny Jones: ‚ÄúThey‚Äôve done a tremendous job of feeding off of each other.‚Äù
Georgia‚Äôs Williams, who was pulled from the starting lineup at Auburn after Fox was disappointed with his recent play, rebounded and played better, Fox said.
‚ÄúI thought it worked in that way,‚Äù Fox said.
After LSU, Georgia gets Texas A&M Saturday night at home.
‚ÄúOne of the things you have to try and do is protect your home court,‚Äù Fox said. ‚ÄúLast week we didn‚Äôt do that and this week we need to because they‚Äôre very good.‚Äù
Mann said Georgia‚Äôs confidence level actually ‚Äúis still fine. We still believe. We‚Äôre in great position. Confidence isn‚Äôt an issue with us.‚Äù
Marc Weiszer: twitter.com/marcweiszer
LSU AT GEORGIA
When/Where: 7 p.m. today/Stegeman Coliseum.
TV/Radio: ESPN2/The Ref 960-AM
Records: LSU is 14-6, 5-3 SEC; Georgia is 10-10, 4-4 SEC