November 4, 2011

Exhibition win for Dawgs

As far as exhibitions go, Georgia coach Mark Fox got just what he was wanting out of Friday night's 74-50 win against visiting Morehouse College - the opportunity to gives his various young players just as many minutes as possible.

From that standpoint, consider it mission accomplished.

Twelve different players saw at least eight minutes of action, with 10 getting at least 11 as Fox experimented with a number of different combinations to get as many looks as he could leading up to next Friday nights season-opener against Wofford.

"It was good first outing for us," Fox said. "We got a lot of guys some experience which we needed, we did a lot of things on tape we'll like; we did a lot of things on tape we won't like. The key will be to try and get better from here."

Despite the lopsided score, there were times when Georgia's youth definitely showed.

"I won't like the fact that we turned the ball over 12 times in the second half, I liked the fact we only turned it over five times in the first," Fox said. "I felt like defensively we had some very good possessions, but we didn't play very good defensively when we got ahead."

Offensively, Georgia finished 19-of-47 from the field, getting 20 points from senior guard Gerald Robinson Jr. and 12 from freshman forward Nemanja Djurisic.

"When you play as many guys as we were when you're running them in and out of there," Fox said. "I didn't expect we wouldn't get a good offensive rhythm, so that doesn't concern me as much. But our defensive effort has to become more consistent."

Of course, many of the 3,458 in attendance came to see heralded freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

Caldwell-Pope didn't start the game, but played 20 minutes scoring six points on a pair of 3-pointers. The graduate of Greenville High would have had more, but missed a dunk late in the second half, that brought some good-natured razzing from the Bulldog bench.

"He won't think he played very well but I think he did a lot of good things. He had some teachable moments, but he's such a competitive kid and he wants to be good that he'll probably be a little bit frustrated knowing there's a lot he needs to improve on," Fox said. "But the advantage he has is he's very coachable. He shot a couple of balls in, was quick, but he'll have a lot of things to on the tape where he says wow, I should have laid that ball off the glance instead of going for that dunk."

Caldwell-Pope admitted to feeling some first-game nerves.

"When I first touched the ball I got really nervous. I was shaking at first," he said. "But I think I did all right. My defense was a little off and on, but I'll work hard to get better at that."

Georgia, which led 41-19 at the half, led by as many as 31 points before settling for the 26-point win. The Bulldogs out-rebounded Morehouse 45-to-30 and forced 19 turnovers on the evening.

Georgia went 25-of-35 from the free throw line, led by Robinson who went 11-for-12 and Djurisic who was 6-of-8.

"I'm feeling more comfortable with the game, the speed of the game," said Djurisic, who also hit both of his 3-point attempts. "We didn't execute as well as we should have and wanted to, but he will keep working hard to do that."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]