February 3, 2012

Baskets hard to come by

Mark Fox said Friday he accepted a long time ago that this year's basketball squad would struggle when it came to scoring inside.

He just didn't know his perimeter game would scuffle as well.

"We realized and accepted the fact that it was going to be hard for us to score inside with the loss of so many guys from last year's team," Fox said. "The one thing that we thought we'd be able to do more consistently is shoot the ball. But when you're interior game is not as strong as you need it to be it puts a lot of pressure on your perimeter shooting and our perimeter shooting has been very inconsistent. That's been an issue."

The statistics don't lie.

Georgia (10-11, 1-6) enters Saturday night's game at Tennessee (10-12, 2-5) still bringing up the rear in the SEC in two very important offensive categories - average points per game (60.6) and field goal percentage (.389).

Senior guard Dustin Ware admits it hasn't been pretty.

"We've just got to keep battling. The good thing is these last few how many games we've been no more than a player or two away. The balls just haven't gone in when we need them."

Fox doesn't think the issue is due to his players taking bad shots.

"I just don't think the ball's going down. I think we've got a lot of shots that we like and we want. Hugh Durham said after the game against Ole Miss that 'you had the shots, you've got to put them in the hole,'" Fox said. "Some of these guys just need it to go down so they can relax, but that's an issue right now."

That was certainly the case in Wednesday's 59-51 loss at Auburn.

In the game, Georgia scored only 15 points the entire first half and just .250 percent for the evening.

"You've got to continue to get the right shots where guys can finish them. Dustin will be the first to tell you that he hasn't shot the ball well," Fox said. "He was a 40-percent 3-point shooter last year. He had a period earlier this year when he wasn't shooting it well and we brought him off the bench and he got hot as fire. It's kind of turned the other way on him, but it will come back. We've just to continue to get him taking the right shots."

Ware, who is shooting a career-worst 33.8 percent from the field, including 31.9 percent from three-point range, is not the only Bulldog having trouble finding his mark.

"Sherrard's (Brantley) another guy who hasn't shot it as well as he did a year ago. All our shooters are a little frustrated," Fox said. "That's what happened the other night, we just didn't handle frustration very well and it just snowballed on us. You have to be mature enough to play through a miss or two. The only way you're going to make a shot is to take it, and we've got to handle frustration better than what we have."

Veterans, as well as many of the team's youngsters, are feeling the same pain.

"I think it's affected all of them, I really do. Gerald (Robinson) from the start realized the amount of production that we lost and he tried to do too much at times," Fox said. "He's calmed down, but when he sees a couple of guys struggling, he's got to manage possessions a little better than he has so I think it's affected him, too. It's just one of those things. We've got to grow and we've got to do it quickly."