kier

Georgia basketball player Justin Kier (5) during a game against Mississippi State at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

The Georgia men’s basketball team lost to Arkansas 99-69 in its second away game of the season on Wednesday. The Bulldogs are now 7-3 after their third straight loss to open conference play. Here are some observations from The Red & Black:

Very little defense

After facing a high-octane LSU offense on Wednesday, Georgia had to turn around and travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to play the top offense in the SEC. The Razorbacks headed into the game averaging 87.2 points per game and it looked like they were on track after the first 20 minutes.

Georgia was lackadaisical on defense after its two-day break. The Bulldogs weren’t running shooters off the perimeter, they fell under screens, giving up easy drives and open shots. They also struggled to end Arkansas possessions on the glass. The Razorbacks hit six 3-pointers in the first half and grabbed six offensive rebounds in the first half.

In the second half, Georgia fought for the first few minutes but extended droughts on offense and a lack of engagement on defense allowed Arkansas to pull away and run up the score. The Bulldogs weren’t able to get out and run as much as they liked as the Razorbacks continued to make shots and Georgia continued to be careless with the ball. They ended with 21 turnovers and Arkansas scored 25 points off them and 29 points on the fast break.

The Razorbacks shot 60% from the field in the final 20 minutes while the Bulldogs shot 38.2%. Arkansas moved the ball easily around the Georgia defense as they totaled 24 assists on 36 made baskets in the 30-point win.

"I think it was 18-20, with 12 minutes to go, that’s a lifetime of basketball," head coach Tom Crean said in a virtual postgame press conference. "But, today when they were looking back at me, they weren’t believing me. Right? There was too much quietness, too much into our own feelings, too much pouting — whatever it is, it didn’t manifest itself in being together enough. Our youth, our newness, whatever it is, those things came out because no one really responded and tried to lead the team through it. That hurt us, no doubt about it.” 

Camara in foul trouble

Georgia looked prepared for the shootout in the first two minutes when sophomore forward and Georgia’s leading scorer Toumani Camara hit back-to-back 3-pointers. His quickness and versatility forced Arkansas’ 7-foot-3 center Connor Vanover off the court as head coach Eric Musselman opted for a smaller and faster big man to help on Camara.

But Camara wasn’t really able to impact the game thereafter because he picked up two fouls and was forced to sit with just under 16 minutes to go in the half. He didn’t see the floor again until about six minutes to go in the first half and instantly helped the Bulldogs to get back to within two points. Despite only playing nine total minutes in the first half, he was Georgia’s leading scorer alongside Sahvir Wheeler with 10 points.

Four minutes into the second half, he picked up two more cheap fouls and was once again forced to the bench. He came back out with 13 minutes to go as Arkansas’ lead swelled to almost 20 points before fouling out with 10 minutes to go. He had 15 points and no rebounds. Georgia didn’t get many contributions from the likes of Justin Kier, who was 1-for-5 from the field for 5 points, and the Bulldogs paid for it.

Besides scoring, the Bulldogs missed Camara the most on the glass as they were outrebounded 40 to 30 and gave up 11 offensive rebounds. Crean said he would've like Andrew Garcia and Tyron McMillan to step up more on the boards.

"We did not come out for a 40-minute battle," Crean said. "When you come out for a 40-minute battle rebounds are a huge part of that. I think the rebounding was four or five at the half. But no, we were not nearly as active as we needed to be. We were not nearly as full of energy when getting on the offensive glass or defensive glass as we needed to be. Which in turn makes our break go, we just did not do that."

Can’t match from outside

Arkansas entered Saturday second in the SEC with 103 3-pointers made this season. Georgia was seventh with 59. Outside of Camara’s three 3-pointers, the only other Georgia player to score from beyond the arc was PJ Horne with two 3-pointers.

On the other hand, Arkansas was efficient from outside and utilized its deep threats to surge into an insurmountable lead in the second half. The Razorbacks ended the game 12-for-21 from beyond the arc while Georgia was 5-for-18.

Arkansas spread out its scoring from outside with six players hitting at least one 3-pointer. Vance Jackson hit four from outside and had 15 points total, JD Notae hit three 3-pointers and Moses Moody, Arkansas’ best player today, hit two and had 25 points. Crean said that Georgia's bad perimeter defense all comes down to effort.

"Communication falls under effort," Crean said. "Hustle back and transition falls under effort. Guarding the first dribble falls under effort. Giving up drives—that’s all effort related. I would love to put it, ‘Hey, we just didn’t call this out or we didn’t call that out.’ That’s part of it, but our effort was not nearly good enough on guarding the ball."