February 2, 2008

Shooting woes continue

Billy Humphrey could only shake his head: Another afternoon of missed opportunities, another loss for the Georgia basketball team.

It was a familiar refrain.

Kentucky knocked off the Bulldogs 63-58 Saturday in front of 10,313 fans at Stegeman Coliseum, a game reminiscent of Wednesday's defeat at South Carolina.

After shooting just 36.9 percent (24 of 65) in their 62-56 loss to the Gamecocks, the Bulldogs (11-8, 2-4) fared even worse against the Wildcats (10-9, 4-2), miss-firing to a tune of 34.4 percent (22-of-64) despite a plethora of wide-open looks.

"We're getting the looks, we're just not making the shots," said Humphrey, who finished with just eight points. "It's just something that isn't happening. We've just struggled. I don't know what else to say."

Head coach Dennis Felton is running out of words himself.

After watching his team's home-winning streak snapped at 11 dating back to last year, Felton could only lament the missed opportunities that his Bulldogs let slip away.

"I actually thought we played our tails off for the most part. Defensively, I thought we were pretty effective," Felton said. "We did have 17 offensive rebounds to their 5, which was huge. We certainly had our opportunities; that's plain to see."

Kentucky's Joe Crawford certainly took advantage of his.

The senior from Detroit continued his stellar play in Athens, scoring a game-high 26 points, 15 on a career-high five 3-pointers, after scoring 29 points in last year's overtime loss to the Bulldogs.

Freshman Patrick Patterson proved difficult to defend as well. Patterson scored 16 points, six coming on a trio of alley-oop slam dunks for Kentucky, which shot 51.1 percent (24-of-47).

"We didn't run very pretty offense, but we are not a very pretty team," Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie said. "We just got the ball where it needed to be. This team had an 11-game winning streak here. This win shows that we are continuing to improve."

The same can't be said for the Bulldogs, who dropped their third straight game, with contests looming against Vanderbilt, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.

"Anytime you play a game real close and lose like this, it's disappointing," senior Dave Bliss said. "This game was one of those things where either team could have won down the stretch. We were just not able to finish it out."

Kentucky led by a scant 30-29 at the half and opened up the second half with a 10-0 to extend its margin to 11-points.

But the Bulldogs rallied back.

A 13-4 run helped Georgia climb within 42-40 with just over 10 minutes to play, before a layup by Sundiata Gaines gave the Bulldogs a 54-53 edge with 5:15 to play.

Crawford's fifth 3-pointer put the Wildcats back in front 56-54 and that would prove to be enough as Georgia managed only four points the final 2:25, three coming on a meaningless 3-pointer by Troy Brewer with less than a minute to go.

Gaines led Georgia with 15 points, followed by Terrance Woodbury with 12 despite going just 4-of-16 from the field.

"I thought we attacked really aggressively on both the offensive and defensive ends," Felton said. "We gave ourselves plenty of chances to build a lead but we were never able to break through and give ourselves any kind of cushion."

NOTES: Georgia was a mere 4-of-19 from 3-point range. … Kentucky guard Ramel Bradley left with a possible concussion after slamming to the court following a collision with Bliss in the first half. … Freshman Jeremy Price played only three minutes, a season low. He finished with zero points.

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