Defensive woes doom Georgia to loss


Published: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 11:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 11:57 p.m.

Try as they might, Georgia duo of Trey Thompkins and Ricky McPhee just couldn't will the Bulldogs to victory Wednesday night.

They certainly looked good trying, though.

Both Thompkins and McPhee finished with more than 20 points as Thompkins led all scorers with 24 points and McPhee added 21. McPhee's performance Wednesday was a career-high for the former walk-on turned starting senior guard.

For Thompkins, it was the eighth time this season he led all players in scoring. It was also the second game in a row that the 6-foot-10, 247-pound sophomore forward hit at least two 3-pointers.

Even with his size, Thompkins said he has no problem playing outside the arc. Entering the game, Thompkins was 12-of-27 (.444) from 3-point land.

"I've been shooting threes since I was a little kid. It's nothing new to me," said Thompkins, who also added six rebounds. "Whenever I've got it, I shoot it."

Their individual performances helped add some positive flavor to the Bulldogs' 87-71 loss.

And things started off relatively well for Thompkins and the Bulldogs.

Thompkins got things going early by opening with the game's first two points off a jumper. The versatile Thompkins had the frame and athleticism to get through Florida's defense, but instead, relied more on his shooting skills than physical play near the basket.

It paid off as he literally started the game perfectly by connecting on hist first six shots, in which four were jumpers. He even stepped out from distance to knock down a 3-pointer to put Georgia up 21-20 with a little more than nine minutes left in the first.

His first miss didn't come until 4:56 left in the first half when his jumper from the right side of the basket rimmed out, leaving him with 11 points.

After finishing the first half with 13, Thompkins felt more of the pressure from Florida's interior in the second half. Thompkins started the half with four quick points, but was then held scoreless for almost 10 minutes until he drained his second 3-pointer of the night with 8:43 remaining.

Like Thompkins, McPhee had no problem chucking it from deep.

However, that's his job.

Before Wednesday, McPhee was shooting 40 percent (35-of-85) from beyond the arc. He did a tad better against the Gators, going 5-of-8. He didn't even attempt his first 2-pointer (which he made) until 6:41 remaining in the game. McPhee was a perfect 2-for-2 from inside the 3-point line.

Because of the zone the Gators were running, McPhee said it was easier for him to take and make those kinds of shots.

"My strength is shooting, so I feel comfortable shooting the ball," McPhee said. "When I get a look, I'm pretty confident in myself in knocking it down. I was able to get free out there and knock down some shots for us."

To Georgia coach Mark Fox, he doesn't care where McPhee shoots, as long as he's doing it.

"He's got a complete green light," Fox said. "He's a terrific shooter, a senior. He's got as much of a green light as you can have it."

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, as much as Thompkins and McPhee tried, their offensive performance couldn't overshadow the defensive woes.

"I wasn't feeling anything special, I just wanted to win," Thompkins said. "I have a passion to win. I want to do what ever it takes for our team to win and tonight we didn't do it on the defensive end, taking care of the ball, so it came back to bite us."

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