December 21, 2010

Despite big win, Fox wants more

This time, there was no letdown.

As a result, Georgia was able to effectively finish a game for the truly first time all season, rolling past visiting High Point Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum, 85-38.

Still, despite the team's largest margin of victory since a 97-37 win over Southern in the 2006-007 season-opener, head Mark Fox wasn't ready to call the game Georgia's most complete effort of the year.

He was right.

The Bulldogs once again struggled from the free throw line, shooting just 55.3 percent (16-for-29) and had to out-rebound High Point 26-17 in the second half to tie the Panthers with 42 boards for the game.

"It was a big win, but I don't think we necessarily played well, to be honest with you, especially early," Fox said. "We still have some mental errors. I gave our group a call during a timeout and we walk out and call something completely different, so I call another timeout right away. We just weren't mentally dialed in early. The second half, we played pretty well."

It was about time.

Although the Bulldogs improved to 8-2 with the victory over the Panthers (5-5) from the Big South Conference, Georgia previously had struggled when it's had the opportunity to put teams away.

For example, on Nov. 5, the Bulldogs led Notre Dame 37-25 at the half only to see the Irish rally back to win in double OT. Recently, the Bulldogs enjoyed an 11-point advantage over UAB but struggled to hang onto a 2-point victory before seeing Arkansas State rally back from a 21-point deficit, getting as close as seven late in the second half.

Four Bulldogs finished in double-figures, led by Gerald Robinson with 21, Trey Thompkins with 15, Travis Leslie with 11 and Dustin Ware with 10.

The victory was Georgia's fifth straight, its longest winning streak since the 2006-2007 squad won seven in a row from Nov. 18-Dec. 16.

Shay Shine led the Panthers with 15.

"In the second half we came out and played defense," Thompkins said. "I think we held them to under 20 points (14) in the second half. It just proves we can play defense."

Robinson agreed.

"We got a good convincing win and it was definitely a confidence booster," he said. "We've had a lot of close games early in the beginning of the season and we were able to pull out a couple of close ones. To get a big win and build a large margin is definitely a confidence booster."

The first half was relatively non-eventful as Georgia jumped out to a 34-24 halftime lead despite shooting a mediocre 43.3 percent.

High Point was even worse. The Panthers shot just 26.7 percent, converting just 8-of-30 shots.

"It's good to win one with a big margin," Fox said. "I think High Point played hard, they were just a little bit out-manned. We had a lot of guys who got significant minutes that they needed and that's hopefully going to help us as we build our team."

All 12 players on the Georgia saw minutes, and all but Chris Barnes scored a point.

Georgia returns to action Thursday night when the Bulldogs travel to Macon to challenge the Mercer Bears. The Bulldogs' next home game is Dec. 28 against Charleston Southern.

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