A notable road win against a post-season opponent was staring Seton Hall straight in the face again tonight in Athens.
For the second time in a road environment this season, the Pirates failed to show up and watched the resume-building opportunity go to the wayside as Georgia out-performed Seton Hall in all aspects, winning comfortably 65-47.
"They made a couple shots in the first couple of possessions, we missed a couple of shots, we just didn't have a whole lot of fight tonight, that's probably what I'm most disappointed with. We didn't play with the same fight and tenacity that we have been," said Kevin Willard post-game. "We didn't play well offensively, we didn't play well defensively, we didn't rebound, just a bad performance."
Sixth man J.J. Frazier (6 pts, 11 rebs, 7 asts) made a huge impact off the bench and was a triple-double threat for the Bulldogs after shooting guard Kenny Gaines (15 pts, 3 asts), who was returning from a shoulder sprain, picked up two early fouls. Forward Marcus Thornton (13 pts, 8 rebs) continued his dominant play on the block for Mark Fox's team, outplaying Angel Delgado (2 pts, 4 rebs).
"I wouldn't say he was getting dominated, but Marcus Thornton is a fifth-year senior and he was bringing it to him," said Willard of Delgado's match up. "As a freshman, you get frustrated and he got frustrated, and that's going to happen, that's part of the learning process [...] It's a good learning lesson."
Desi Rodriguez (8 pts, 5 rebs) and Khadeen Carrington (8 pts, 5 rebs) were lone bright spots off the Pirate bench while Isaiah Whitehead, Sterling Gibbs, and Jaren Sina combined for a meager 11 points, five assists, and seven turnovers and looked second-best throughout. Seton Hall shot a ghastly 3-for-20 from beyond the arc and just 29-percent from the field.
After not playing for two weeks, Georgia roared out to a 22-7 start going into the under-12 timeout and never looked back. The Bulldogs were efficient from the field early after Charles Mann and Marcus Thornton hit unexpected three-pointers but more importantly clamped down on defense and translated it into a 16-0 advantage on the fast break.
Like it did two weeks ago against Colorado, Georgia's 3-2 zone looked stout. Seton Hall tried to go through Georgia-native Brandon Mobley (8 pts, 2 rebs, 3-11 FGs) in the first half, but also attempted and missed a handful of shots early in the shot clock. Not a particularly strong team on the defensive glass, the Bulldogs didn't give up any second chance opportunities, definitively winning the rebound battle 36-22.
"He got some good open shots early," said Willard of Savannah-native Mobley. "I think he started forcing some post things and got himself out of rhythm and got himself into a funk, but no one played well, he wasn't the only one."
Down 27-13 late in the first half, Isaiah Whitehead picked up three fouls in a 3:30 span and Georgia made a 14-4 run over the remaining 6:30. Seton Hall scored just two field goals over the same stretch, effectively digging a 19-point halftime deficit that wouldn't be improved upon. Georgia led by at least 19 for nearly the entire second half after Whitehead picked up his fourth foul quickly out of the locker room.
Seton Hall returns home to play 1-9 Maine at Walsh Gym next Saturday prior to starting Big East play against ranked St. John's in Newark on New Year's Eve.