February 27, 2008

Dawgs fall flat

Despite all the issues that have plagued Georgia's basketball team, effort and energy remained two aspects that head coach Dennis Felton could always depend.

Until Wednesday, that is.

The Bulldogs looked like team ready for the season to end, falling to Florida 77-64 before a Stegeman Coliseum crowd of 8,695.

"I think tonight we just looked like a team that hit some sort of a wall," Felton said. "We were just sluggish and a step slow. We were a step slow to loose balls, we were a step slow to rebound and we were a step slow to stop drives.
"Offensively, we were just very sluggish and hesitant. It was that kind of night all the way."

Especially in the first half:

Georgia (12-14, 3-10) opened the game in a fog, shooting just 35.7 percent the first half while the Gators (21-7, 8-5) lit it up from all over the court.

Florida's first four shots were all successful 3-pointers and Billy Donovan's squad raced out to a 12-4 lead before fans had barely found time to find their seats.
It would get a lot worse than that.

After trailing 45-32 at the half, the Gators extended their margin to as many as 17 points at 70-53 with 4:42 to play.

"I don't know what's wrong with this team right now," junior Terrance Woodbury said. "I know we're missing some people and all that, but we can't accept playing like this. We have to fight through it."

As they had done for the previous two games, Georgia played the contest with only eight scholarship players following the loss of forward Chris Barnes to a torn meniscus.

The loss was the fourth straight for Georgia, which has dropped nine of its past 10 games.

"I would always be surprised by our team being sluggish because typically we play with max energy," Felton said. "I'll always be surprised by what happened tonight."
On the other hand, Donovan could not have been happier with his team, which was led by Nick Calathes with 22 points.

"We were a lot more balanced from the field tonight, shooting 52 percent and they did not shoot the ball well at all which played a role in tonight's outcome," Donovan said. "(Sundiata) Gaines is a hard guy to guard. We wanted to put pressure on him and try to create turnovers. Maybe not the (18) that we got on the court, but just put pressure on him to take away his driving and weaving ability."

The plan worked.

Although Gaines finished with a team-high 13 points, the senior was just 3 of 11 from the field.

Georgia's bright spot was actually sophomore Albert Jackson, who made his first career start in Wednesday's game.
Jackson finished with a season-high 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

"Albert played awfully well. He was the bright spot," Felton said. "He had earned the start by his performance and did a lot of good things. He scored very efficiently, rebounded solidly and blocked a couple of shots."

Georgia returns to action Sunday at LSU.

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