Bulldogs hope to weather Arkansas' storm

Georgia suffered a devastating – and controversial – loss at the hands of Ole Miss in Oxford this past Saturday. Now the Bulldogs head back out on the road to face Arkansas, and it’s important that they leave the bad breaks behind.

“I’m concerned about the mind frame of our team,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said Wednesday, shortly before his team departed for Fayetteville, Ark., for a rare Thursday night tip. “They’ve been a pretty resilient bunch, but they were obviously very frustrated the other night. But they’ve got to be able to climb back on the horse and get after it. But I’d be less than honest if I didn’t say I was a little bit concerned about that.”

Georgia was the victim of at least three controversial officiating calls in the 84-74 overtime loss to the Rebels.:

  • The Bulldogs led by eight points with 3:36 to play when freshman guard Kenny Gaines was called for flagrant, technical foul. Gaines' elbow inadvertently glanced Marshall Henderson's nose as Marshall tightly-defended him near the half-court line late in the game.
  • After Henderson made two free throws and the Rebels retained possession, Gaines was whistled for a foul again when he executed what looked like a clean block of a Henderson 3-point attempt. Henderson made all three foul shots, effectively giving Ole Miss a five-point possession.
  • Later, with the game tied at 70-all on the last possession, Georgia's Donte Williams appeared to be fouled as he tried to make a lay-in off an "alley-oop" pass with nine-tenths of a second remaining. Williams missed as a result of contact, but no foul was called and the game went to overtime.

Fox said he discussed with Gerald Boudreaux, the SEC’s coordinator of officials, those and some other calls made by referees Mike Nance, Steven Anderson and Chuck Jones.

“Standard procedure in that situation is that you ask for a review of certain things, which we obviously did and have done at other times,” Fox said. “The league’s terrific in their role with the whole thing. I’m sure they will handle it very professionally and we’ll all move on.”

Fox could not say what, if anything, will come from the complaints. In any case, the Bulldogs (12-13, 6-6 SEC) have to get ready to face an Arkansas team that has been nearly unbeatable in Bud Walton Arena this season. The Razorbacks (16-9, 7-5) are 15-1 on their home court this year, including 6-0 against SEC competition.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs have distinguished themselves as one of the league’s best road teams. They had won their last three away games in a row and felt they should have gotten No. 4 at Ole Miss.

Fox was asked why he thought his team performed so well away from home.

“Playing on the road has its share of challenges, just with the travel, the atmosphere, the different balls you end up using, the sight-lines, the size of your locker room,” Fox said, leaving out officiating. “There are so many things that can come into play on the road and change how you feel. But it’s just life on the road. I think we go into it expecting those things are going to be there and you just kind of roll with them and just play basketball.”

Georgia’s trip to Arkansas got off to awkward start. Due to heavy snowfall expected in Fayetteville Wednesday night, the Bulldogs had to move up their departure time from Athens by a couple of hours. If and when they can get back out of Arkansas may depend on how fierce the storm is.

But it’s the storm inside the Bulldogs’ heads that has Fox concerned.

“We’re going to have to get over the other night,” Fox said. “That’s part of life. We’ve got to get over it; we’ve got to move on. We’ve got to get ready to play again. We’ve played extremely well the last four road games. Are we going to play extremely well in another one? I hope so. But we’re playing against a very good team that’s been terrific at home. So we’ve got a big challenge in front of us.”

About the Author

Editors' Picks