February 8, 2012

A Hog rendering

For a team that has obviously endured more downs than ups, Wednesday night's game against visiting Arkansas couldn't have been more fun.

Sometimes it's just your night.

That basically sums up the evening for Georgia, which received a memorable night from senior Gerald Robinson Jr. to roll past the Razorbacks, 81-59.

"We needed it bad; this game came at the right time," said Robinson, who tallied a career-best 27 points. "But it's a long season. In football, you've got 14 games, in basketball; you've got over 30 games so there's always time to turn it around."

Head coach Mark Fox hopes that's the case.

The victory was just Georgia's second in eight SEC contests this year, snapping a four-game losing streak.

"You have to be complete to beat anybody, and tonight we were very complete. We played very well," Fox said. "That's as well as we've played maybe all year; there's not any question about that."

Robinson wasn't the only Bulldog smiling after this one was done.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope chipped in with 18 points, followed by Nemanja Djurisic with 14 and Marcus Thornton with a career-high 10 as the Bulldogs (11-12, 2-7) tallied their most points in an SEC-game this year.

Georgia was even more impressive on the boards.

The Bulldogs made second and sometimes third shots a routine, thanks in large to the fact they were able to out-rebound the Razorbacks (16-8, 4-5) 44-21.

"Every player came ready to play," said Djurisic, who drilled a trio of 3-pointers. "We were very confident from the beginning. Everybody was in the game, we focused well."

Robinson's previous career high was 22 points.

"Gerald was terrific. If you look at the league stats, I think he's in the top 10 I think in scoring, assists and free throw shooting. He's having a pretty good season," Fox said. "He does a lot of things for us, and we probably ask him to do more than is fair. But tonight he was really good, and finished a lot of plays for us."

Arkansas, meanwhile, fell to 0-7 on the road for the year, an effort that left Razorback coach Mike Anderson an unhappy man.

"I thought it was one of the worst performances, it was just flat. There was no energy," Anderson said. "I'm very concerned. We had a workout here last night and I thought we had great energy, so I was really surprised."

Georgia did little, if anything wrong, in the first half as the Bulldogs raced to a 43-24 lead.

Who was this team?

The group was barely recognizable to the paltry Stegeman Coliseum crowd of 5,622 as Georgia went on a 15-0 run early in the half, eventually building a 24-point lead on a pair of free throws by Robinson.

Robinson's free throws were just a small part of his contribution as the senior scored 17 points the first half, followed closely by Caldwell-Pope with 13, including back-to-back 3-pointers with just over five minutes to play.

"This was a lot of fun," Caldwell-Pope said. "Everyone was competing hard for 40 minutes, everybody started believing each other, playing together. It was a lot of fun out there playing."

For the half, Georgia shot 56.3 percent (18-of-32) while holding the Razorbacks to just 6-of-23 from the field (26.1 percent). The Bulldogs also dominated the boards, holding a 25-10 advantage.

"I thought we were really ready to play because we had a great deal of respect for Arkansas," Fox said. "We've been getting better as a team. We told them before the game you're not the same team you were a month ago, you just haven't tasted the fruits of your labor. Tonight, we were able to play pretty consistent in a lot of areas and beat a pretty good basketball team."

Georgia returns to action Saturday when the Bulldogs travel to Mississippi State.