Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean understands there will be challenges for his young and undersized team this season.
But Crean, a two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and the architect of a Final Four team at Marquette, will not accept the lack of effort witnessed on Saturday night in Starkville.
The 91-59 defeat at Mississippi State was embarrassing on the scoreboard, but also to the most casual of UGA basketball fans that tuned in to the SEC Network on Saturday night.
“The most disheartening thing is we didn’t compete on the glass, at all,” Crean said after the game on the Georgia Bulldogs Sports Network, referring to State’s 40-22 rebounding advantage.
“Ray Hammonds is the third leading or fourth leading rebounder in the league, his effort was pitiful, as was everybody else’s on the glass.,” Crean said. “That’s a toughness issue that we’ve got to continue to work through.
“I wouldn’t even call that a maturity issue, I’d call that a toughness issue.”
Freshman Anthony Edwards, who called out himself and his Georgia teammates for a lack of toughness in the second half of a home loss to Kentucky earlier this season, led Georgia with 19 points.
But Edwards had his issues getting back on defense and communicating.
“The maturity issue is when it’s not going well for us offensively, or we turn it over, we’ve got to get back on defense,” Crean said. “So the two biggest keys to the game were rebounding and then transition defense, by far, as they are most games.
“Both of those we failed, and we failed miserably tonight.”
Georgia, which scored it’s only road SEC win under Crean last year at Florida. returns to action at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Kentucky.
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