November 16, 2009

Fox's Dawgs prepare for Wofford

Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox had an idea the numbers regarding his team's defense against New Orleans might be a tad deceiving.

After watching the tape, Fox's fears were justified.

So, although Georgia (1-0) held the Privateers to 38.2 percent from the floor (21-of-55) and out-rebounded New Orleans 44-31, there are still certain areas that Fox wants to see improvement when his Bulldogs host Wofford (0-1) Tuesday night (7 p.m.).

"I had a hunch that our defensive numbers for the game were much better than our actual defense," Fox said before practice Monday. "I felt that way before I watched the tape and I think the tape confirmed that. We did not play very goo defensively, in my eyes. With any first game there are a lot of things to address and improve on and this team has a LOT of areas to address."

No doubt offense tops the list.

Georgia shot just 44 percent from the field (22-of-49>), but that percentage would have been even lower if not for Trey Thompkins and Jeremy Price who combined to go 15-for-21. Price hit all five of his shots, while Thompkins scored a career-high 25 and finished with his fourth career double-double.

The Bulldogs did commit 17 turnovers, but Fox wasn't overly concerned, considering his new triangle offense will be work in progress the entire season.

"I anticipated that our offense wouldn't be very efficient, or proficient, as it might be for the first game, but the turnover numbers weren't bad except for most of those came from our big players," Fox said. "Trey had a string of turnovers late in the game, but fatigue was the issue. It was mostly driven by that but we're a work in progress offensively, and will be for most of the year."

Fox hopes to keep point guard Dustin Ware out of foul trouble as well.

The Bulldog coach blamed himself for allowing the sophomore to pick up four fouls against New Orleans, which limited him to just 21 minutes.

With Ware out, Ricky McPhee and Vincent Williams took their turn at the point.

"I put Dustin in a very bad position. When he started to foul I tried to steal a couple of more minutes out of him, but I put him in a tough position and he picked up his fourth foul. He had to sit a great deal," Fox said. "Late in the game they were very good together, but Dustin was in foul trouble the second half and Ricky was able to get some time at the point, which I think in the long run will be good for him and good experience for him. But when they're together, they're probably our best guard combo at this time."

Georgia will likely need to be at its best against Wofford.

The Southern Conference Terriers took Pittsburgh to the wire Friday night before falling 63-60.

"The game went along pretty true to form," said head coach Mike Young. "We could not handle some things at about the nine minute mark and we gave up a couple easy baskets. We missed a couple of lay-ups as well. What an unbelievable atmosphere and it is tough to come in here and win. We had our crack and I am disappointed that we did not finish the deal, but this team will be just fine."

But even if that game doesn't convince the Bulldogs, the fact that the Terriers nearly beat Georgia last year in Athens, should.

Georgia and Wofford went to overtime before former Bulldog Zac Swansey hit a three as time expired to win 74-73.

Wofford finished last season with a 16-14 overall record and in the SoCon the Terriers finished with a 12-8 mark that was fourth in the South Division. The sixteen wins were tied for the most since moving to NCAA Division I and it also marked the first winning season as a Division I team.

"They're an excellent basketball team. They pass the ball extremely well and are a very good shooting team," Fox said. "They're extremely balanced. It's an excellent basketball team that presents challenges for us all over the court."

Wofford at Georgia

WHERE: Stegeman Coliseum

TIME: 7 p.m.

RECORDS: Georgia 1-0; Wofford 0-1.

TV/RADIO: GXtra/Georgia Bulldog Radio Network.

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