ATHENS — Georgia basketball looks to get back on track at home against Sam Houston State after suffering its first loss of the season at Temple on Tuesday night.
“It’s a football weekend, lots of people will be in town, hope we have a great fan turnout, and I hope there’s a lot of energy in the building,” first-year Bulldogs coach Tom Crean said on Thursday.
“Sam Houston is one of those teams, they’re sneaky good because they’ve got some veterans.”
The Southland Conference Bearkats are 2-2 this season and coming off a 74-59 loss at Clemson on Wednesday night.
Georgia, 1-1, opened with a rousing 110-76 win at home over Savannah State before falling to the Owls in Philadelphia by an 81-77 count on Tuesday night.
Travel complications led to the Bulldogs traveling on the day of the game to Temple before a late rally from 12 points down fell short.
Crean makes no secret of it that Georgia basketball remains a work in progress to the extent that he will continue to play a lot of players to let things sort themselves out.
“We haven’t had a lot of separation, we haven’t had a lot of guys establish themselves like they’re going to get these minutes,” Crean said. “Really, the measuring stick for us is defending on the ball and off, and not turning the ball over, and until we get that corrected we’re not going to have that style of play that we need, we’re not going to have that consistency, and we’re not going to look very good.
“But we’ll get there.”
The 7 p.m. Friday game at Stegeman Coliseum with Sam Houston State offers the Bulldogs a chance to advance the ball in that respect.
Crean says he has no plans to slow down the Georgia offense and remains committed to an uptempo style of play.
“We’re trying to play a very quick pace, but we don’t want to be giving the ball back to the other team,” Crean said. “We’re working on building our efficiency everyday at both ends and I like that fact that we have this game and then we turn around and we’ve got three next week.”
Georgia plays in the Cayman Islands Classic next Monday through Wednesday, opening up the three-game tourney with Illinois State at 1:30 on Monday.
The Bulldogs will play either Akron or Clemson on Tuesday afternoon.
Georgia is in the midst of playing six games in 13 days to open the season.
Tyree Crump leads the Bulldogs in scoring through the first two games, averaging 16 points, and Derek Ogbeide is scoring at a 15 points-per-game clip.
Senior starting point guard William “Turtle” Jackson is averaging just 2.5 points per game, hitting 2-of-6 shots in the 42 minutes he has played.
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