Vanderbilt snapped Georgia's nine game winning streak with a 73-66 victory Wednesday night in Nashville. Commodore's John Jenkins and Festus Ezeli scored 18 points a piece while leading Vanderbilt to victory. Vandy took the lead in this one early and never trailed with Georgia getting as close as three points in the second half.
Travis Leslie led the way for the Bulldogs with 21 points while Gerald Robinson added 20. Trey Thompkins was held to 13 points on just 5-14 shooting. Jeremy Price and Dustin Ware combined for just five points on 2-of-15 shooting. The starters were left on an island so to speak with the Bulldog's bench only scoring seven points in the game.
Vanderbilt used a zone defense almost exclusively in the second half to both frustrate and eliminate Georgia inside game. The zone forced Georgia to uncharacteristically bomb away from the outside going 5-21 from three point range. Commodore's coach Kevin Stallings may have in fact showed the blueprint of how to deal with Georgia as clearly the better teams in the league are going to do everything they can to take away Trey Thompkins and force someone else to beat them.
During the early part of this season, Georgia has relied heavily on its starters and entered tonight's game with four starters averaging over 30 minutes of playing time per game. Jeremy Price fouled out of tonight's game with 9:48 to go in the game. The fact that he is even on the floor at that point in the game shows how much the Bulldogs lack in quality depth up front. The Bulldogs had no answer for Festus Ezeli who had his way on the inside to the tune of 18 points and 10 rebounds. Georgia needs contributions in the worst way from players such as Sherrard Brantley (1-4, 2 pts) and Marcus Thornton (0-1, 0 pts, 2 reb).
Georgia's frontcourt players were in foul trouble from the start with Vanderbilt holding a decided advantage at the free throw line. Georgia was 11-15 from the charity stripe while the Commodores were 25-35 on the night. Mark Fox became so frustrated with the way his team was being officiated that he received a technical foul after charging out onto the court after his bench was warned. Such is life on the road.
Free throw differential aside, Georgia lost this game because of their inability to execute against Vanderbilt's zone defense. They desperately needed someone to knock down an outside shot as the Commodores mixed up their coverage inside on Trey Thompkins.
Georgia arrived in Nashville after a six-and-a-half-hour bus ride from Athens that was caused by the snow storm that has blanketed much of the southeast. The road trip continues for the Bulldogs as they were to load the bus once again and head this time to Oxford, Miss., for Saturday's matchup with Ole Miss.