Wake Forest took an 8 point lead off a Marqus Marion three about nine minutes into the contest, and the Deacs looked like a rather well-oiled machine on offense. The ball was moving and the threes were dropping. Georgia methodically took control, using size and a steady pace to eventually take a game-high 13 point lead for the Bulldogs with 7:34 remaining in the second half. Wake Forest didn’t entirely concede, a pair of Andrew Carr free throws making it a two point contest with just under 5 minutes. However, the problems of Wake Forest turnovers and timely Georgia offensive rebounds foiled any further attempts. Wake Forest didn’t have a terrible number of turnovers at 14, but for the entire game, Georgia only committed 6, and in a game as close as this one, that is more than enough.
I will say, I was genuinely impressed (as I always am) by how much grit the Deacs showed. There was a time when this game looked like it was going to be an absolute blowout, but the Deacs made the Dawgs sweat. They had a chance to tie the game with 19.5 seconds left with the ball down 3 after some clutch Cameron Hildreth defense, but the ensuing offensive possessions fell short, after a missed Andrew Carr three and Wake offensive board which led to a jump ball to Wake’s favor with 7 seconds remaining. The Bulldogs nearly forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass with 5.5 remaining, and Georgia played staunch defense as a solid look from deep for Cam Hildreth just barely rolled off the rim, preventing any chance for Wake to win in overtime.
Moral victories don’t count in March, but frankly, the fact that this easily could have been a blowout against an SEC team on the road and the Deacs didn’t let that happen could potentially bode well for other games later this season, and if UGA is a quality team this year, a three point loss is certainly never going to be a bad one, whereas a blowout might be, Still, I’m sure Coach Forbes is going nuts over this one, especially since the Deacs came so close to March Madness last year, only to just fall short. If this loss had been a win, it very well could have been something to put the Deacs over the edge.
It’s a long season, and I remain extremely secure in my belief that Steve Forbes can coach with the best of them, but it’d be a bold-faced lie to say this game didn’t have a disappointing result.
On to the next. Go Deacs.