Georgia escapes High Point in a low point for basketball

Georgia's Kenny Gaines stuff High Point's Lorenzo Cugini, in one of many displays of good defense. There were less on offense.

Five things from Georgia’s 49-46 win over High Point on Wednesday at Stegeman Coliseum

1. Naismith spun in his grave

The result of the game put Georgia coach Mark Fox in a good enough mood to rip sardonically into his team on Wednesday night.

“Dr. Naismith is buried in a small cemetery in Lawrence, Kan., not two miles from Allen Fieldhouse. A very small cemetery,” Fox said at the outset of his postgame press conference. “And he rolled over in his grave tonight with the way we played offensive basketball.”

In that putrid second half, Georgia made only three field goals, scored 16 points, and at one point went nearly 15 minutes with a field goal.

“I have too many moving parts, too many different lineups. I’ve coached them poorly,” Fox said.

And yet the Bulldogs held onto the lead throughout. High Point only shot 29.7 percent from the field in the second half, and for the game was 7-for-17 from the free throw line and 1-for-15 beyond the arc.

The big shot (from the field) for Georgia came from J.J. Frazier, who nailed a pull-up jumper as the shot clock was expiring with 43 seconds left. That gave Georgia a three-point lead. The teams then exchanged 1-for-2 free throw trips before High Point’s Lorenzo Cugini rolled in a driving shot, setting up Mann’s heroics.

“The second half was pretty bad. There isn’t really any way to explain that one,” Frazier said.

2. Mann rebounds (figuratively)

This time Charles Mann came through at the free throw line.

After his misses loomed large in Georgia’s season-opening loss, Mann won the game for Georgia by hitting two free throws with 11.1 seconds left in the game, making it a three-point game.

That forced High Point to try for three, and both shots by Anthony Lindauer were off.

It wasn’t just those two free throws either: Mann was 8-for-8 from the line, after going 12-for-20 in Georgia’s first two games.

“I’ve been working a lot. Shooting 100 free throws a day,” Mann said. “I want the ball all the time. But I felt confident in myself to go to the line and make both of them.

Mann, one of the teams mainstays, had a rough first two games and one had to wonder if he’d be benched, as happened briefly early last season. This time Fox stuck with Mann, who validated the call by scoring a team-high 13 points.

“In our locker room we always say the game is fair. You’re going to go through your struggles in the game of basketball. And Charles works day in and day out on his game. It was sad to see in the first game that he struggled at the line. But we know how hard he works and eventually the game will be fair to him.”

3. Georgia back on track (sort of)

Luckily for the Bulldogs, the RPI formula doesn’t include field goal percentage. In the long run this game might help their NCAA chances.

High Point (3-1) was picked to win its conference, the Big South, and its only loss this season was at Texas Tech, by four points.

Georgia’s season-opening loss to Chattanooga also doesn’t look as bad now after the Mocs also won at Illinois. Now the Bulldogs head to Seton Hall on Saturday.

“We just played three teams picked to win their league, and this team I would say likely will,” Fox said. “We’ll look back and say this win really helped us, even though it wasn’t a thing of beauty.”

4. Bulldogs getting healthier

Freshman forward Derek Ogbeide missed a third straight game but this time his shoulder wasn’t in a sling. He probably woon’t be available for the Seton Hall game but could be for the three stretch of games beginning Tuesday, including Kansas State on Dec. 4.

“He’s close,” Fox said. “We obviously need to get him back, so we can really stabilize our rotation.”

Junior small forward Juwan Parker (Achilles) might also be back soon, according to Gaines.

“We’re feeling good. We know we’re about to get Derek back. And Juwan is around the corner,” Gaines said. “We’re getting back whole.”

5. Brown in check

High Point may have had the best player on the court: John Brown, a 6-foot-8 redshirt senior, is an NBA prospect who came in averaging 19.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.

Foul trouble limited him in the first half: Brown picked up his second foul with 10:45 left and only played eight minutes, notching four points.

Late in the game Brown began to hit some big shots, including a nice driving layup to make it a one-point game with just under two minutes left. But he missed three free throws down the stretch and only had 11 shot attempts.

“We only shot 29 percent. We know that’s not good enough,” Fox said. “But they only shot 29 percent because our defense is starting to get better even with the glued-together lineup.”

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