UGASports - NashvilleDawgs HoopNotes™ - Pepperdine
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NashvilleDawgs HoopNotes™ - Pepperdine

FANTASTIC WIN FOR THE DAWGS!!!
Pepperdine was a 2.5 point favorite, but we walked in there and played a HECK of
a ball game to take the win going away at the end, 91-74. Kudos go to just about
everyone on the team tonight, which I will get to in a moment. To back up a
second though, let me make it clear that despite their record Pepperdine has
some really good athletes playing. This was a case where we took the best game
that Pepperdine had in the first half and still led at halftime. That was HUGE,
make no mistake. They shot 52% in the first half but it seemed a lot better than
that.
This was a good game the first half – both teams are very athletic and the first
8-10 minutes of the game showed off some good play. We really didn’t get into a
flow on the offensive side of the court and took the halftime lead simply
because we shot the three incredibly well. It seemed like every time they were
up by three or four and about to extend the lead, we would hit a big trey and
frustrate them. Cracked me up watching that halftime interview of Paul Westphal
coming off the court at the half – he couldn’t believe that they were not up by
10 points and he said so. At one point about halfway through the first half
Pepperdine was only leading by two (18-16) despite their shooting 67% from the
floor.
Anyway, we came out in the second half SMOKING. We hustled, took every rebound,
set up our offense particularly well in the first four minutes in the second
half, and extended the three-point halftime lead to 11 in a blink of the eye.
They never recovered. We shot a hair over 50% for the game, but more importantly
shot 57% from the 3-point line. Wow!
- First and foremost, I want to really prop Ryan Pevey. Tonight, my worst fears
were initially realized as Steve Thomas got in foul trouble and had to leave the
game with 3 fouls with a lot of time left in the first half, and then picked up
his fourth pretty early in the second half. Ryan Pevey came in and played one
heck of a ballgame. Hustled everywhere and really conducted a clinic on how to
box out a bigger man. He was definitely a defensive liability at times when
Pepperdine isolated their big man on Ryan, but we also did an equally good job
of recognizing what they were trying to do and took that away pretty quickly. He
played a whale of a game – he played 21 minutes and got 6 points and 5
rebounds..
- Tony Cole FINALLY showed us what all the fuss was about. He played a great
game – even though he scored 21 points, I consider the fact that he only turned
it over once the more important statistic especially because of the press he had
to help break the majority of the game. Rashad also got into foul trouble and
Tony stepped in and gave us some things that Rashad doesn’t have – a lightning
first step and a confident offensive game. WAY TO GO TONY. NOW SHOW US AGAIN. It
is interesting that he didn’t have a single assist in his 18 minutes, but that
was more due to circumstance I hope.
- That Cedric Suitt kid is from Atlanta and is playing in Malibu? How in the
heck did that happen?
- Both Jarvis and Ezra were absolute money. It is incredible to have two natural
scorers on the team – we have not had that at UGA in a long time. Ezra has
improved his game TREMENDOUSLY from last year. Did you catch that comment by
Reggie Theus, who himself was one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history?
He said, and I quote, “Ezra Williams is one of the shooters, mechanically
speaking, that I have ever seen.” Now, who knows if some of that was just him
behind a microphone killing air, but he obviously saw something in EW that he
liked. Jarvis and Ezra both showed tonight why they can both play in the NBA one
day if they continue to grow their games scoring 25 and 19, respectively.
- We still turn the ball over way too much – we had 24 tonight while they had
16.. I can’t decide if it is simply youth, the fact that our guys really have
not played together when it counts, if it is just a byproduct of how aggressive
we try to play, or if it is just carelessness. It is probably a combination of
all those factors. It is no coincidence though that we really stretched our lead
during the first 5-8 minutes of the second half and really didn’t turn it over
at all. We have to figure out a way to play smarter.
- We continue to bury our reputation from the free throw line. During both of
Harrick’s first two years at UGA, I was confounded with our lack of consistent
free throw shooting. That is a distant memory at this point because we have
really shot well from the stripe. Pepperdine gets back in the game tonight if we
don’t shoot so well from the FT line, guaranteed. We shot 87% from the line
tonight - awesome.
- Chris Daniels continues to play a great all around game. If you really watch
the game he really does a bunch of things well, not the least of which is his
ability to handle the ball. Usually when you see a guy that is about 6-7 with
the ball in his hands trying to bring it up the court, you hold you breath, say
a quick prayer and hope that the defender falls down. Not so with Chris. He has
done that enough this year already to show me that he could do that anytime. He
has really practiced his ball-handling skills in his youth. He does it too well.
Anyway, he scored 14, stole 3 and rebounded 12.
- Rashad played a pretty steady game, which is normal for him, but he did get
into foul trouble. We didn’t miss him tonight, however, because of Tony. Same
goes for Steve Thomas – he played well but Ryan Pevey played exceedingly well in
Thomas’ absence. Jonas also played but is still being bothered by his finger. He
is hustling and getting into good positions on the floor, but he just can’t seem
to catch the ball cleanly or move with the ball cleanly. I saw at least two
balls bounce off his hands and he also walked once because he didn’t have a good
handle on the ball. I wonder how long he will have to wear that ballast on his
left hand.
Just a masterful performance by the Dawgs. In a lot of respects, we stole one
tonight simply because we had a lot going against us. A cross-country flight,
playing away in a gym that is a homecoming for the coach, playing against a team
that is battle-tested and has knocked off two really good teams (UCLA and USC),
and most importantly having to deal with our first real foul problems of the
year. This win sets us up perfectly for the Hawaii tournament. We are now 9-1
with a game against Arkansas State in the first round. We obviously should win,
but they are 6-3 and played Mississippi State tight. If we can take that game
and get our 10th pre-SEC win, it really takes the pressure off and allows us to
go into a likely matchup with a VERY good Boston College team the next night.
Tune in for that game Dawgs – it won’t disappoint.
Congrats to Coach Harrick. You know he secretly wanted this win bad, going back
to his old stomping grounds with that much pomp and circumstance. He deserved
this win.