March 19, 2011

Dawgs came close

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Almost. It seems one can say that a lot about Georgia's basketball season, which came to an end Friday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament with 68-65 loss to Washington.

From Florida (twice), Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Xavier and Notre Dame, the list of games that the Bulldogs could have won is almost as impressive as their tournament resume - a resume that earned Georgia its first NCAA tournament appearance in four year.

The Bulldogs entered their East Regional game against Washington as a 10 seed in the East bracket and heavy underdogs to most of the national pundits but when halftime rolled around, Georgia found itself tied at 28 after leading at one point, 23-16.

Junior forward Trey Thompkins said that the Bulldogs had one focus in the locker room at halftime.

"Making sure that we played 40 minutes instead of just 25 or 30," Said Thompkins when asked what was said during the break.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the second half did not get off to a good start as the Huskies went on a 5-0 run to grab a lead they would not relinquish.

"We are two teams with two different styles of play. We were able to control the tempo in the first half but not the second and they were able to go on a run." admitted Thompkins. "They know how to control the game, they are a veteran team and they have a veteran leader in (Thomas)."

The Bulldogs were granted one last chance to force the game into overtime when C.J. Wilcox missed a free throw to put the Huskies ahead by four with 3.7 second left in the game.

Jeremy Price was able to make the rebound and throw the ball to guard Gerald Robinson Jr.; Isaiah Thomas tipped the pass though and Travis Leslie was forced to launch a prayer three-pointer off the deflection.

"We've been a resilient group all year and we were going to scratch and claw to the end," said Dustin Ware[db]. "We just kept fighting, we were hoping we could make some plays down the stretch and we did. We had a lot of guys make plays towards the end to give us a chance but Washington just made more plays than we did."

Senior [db]Chris Barnes was understandably upset after the loss but he admits that his squad lost to a very talented Pac-10 squad.

"We didn't want our season to come to an end so fast but the ball didn't bounce our way," he said.

The Bulldogs were able to hold the nations third-leading scoring team to just 68 points, a number that Ware thought would give the team a chance to get win.

"I would have said that we were in good condition, in good shape but like I said they're a really good team and they can play in all kinds of different places." Ware said.

Despite the loss, Barnes said he's pleased he was able to do his part to help get the Bulldog program headed back in the right direction.

"We will always know that we put Georgia basketball back in peoples minds, We wanted to take it to another level but unfortunately we didn't." said Barnes. "We did finish very well though with 21 wins."

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