Georgia Bulldogs head to Arkansas looking to break 4-game skid

Georgia center Russel Tchewa (54) grabs a defensive rebound during their game against the Alabama at Stegemen Coliseum, Wednesday, January 31, 2024, in Athens, Ga. Alabama won against Georgia 85-76. (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz

Credit: Jason Getz

Georgia center Russel Tchewa (54) grabs a defensive rebound during their game against the Alabama at Stegemen Coliseum, Wednesday, January 31, 2024, in Athens, Ga. Alabama won against Georgia 85-76. (Jason Getz /

ATHENS — It will have been 31 days since Georgia last played Arkansas when the teams tip off Saturday night in Fayetteville. A lot has happened since then.

When the Bulldogs (14-9, 4-6 SEC) beat the Razorbacks 76-66 on Jan. 10 at Stegeman Coliseum, it seemed to signal a new era was on the way for UGA basketball. But Georgia has won only two games since then and heads to Bud Walton Arena for a 6 p.m. tip (SEC Network) mired in a four-game losing streak.

Georgia coach Mike White insists his team, coming off a 75-62 loss to Mississippi State on Wednesday, will arrive in a good state of mind.

“This team has been great all year between games, win or lose,” White said. “It’s more of the in-game issues in terms of responses – how we respond to a couple of empty possessions to when we can’t come up with a stop – that’s where we got to get a little better.”

Now past the halfway point in conference play, both teams arrive with an air of desperation. The Razorbacks (11-11, 2-7) at least will be better rested. They’re coming off an bye week.

Georgia will get a well-earned week off before playing host to Florida a week from Saturday.

“Who knows?” White said of whether that was an Arkansas advantage. “More of it probably depends on how you’re practicing and how you execute in those 40 minutes.”

Some commonalities have revealed themselves during the Bulldogs’ losing streak. First, they have been unable to stitch together two strong halves of play. And, typically, they’re getting manhandled inside, offensively and defensively.

That certainly was the case against Mississippi State, which is led by 6-foot-11 Tolo Smith. Smith and fellow forward Cameron Matthews combined for 28 points and 23 boards and out-rebounded the Bulldogs 43-33. Normally a poor outside-shooting team, State also managed 9 3-pointers.

Georgia is known as a sharp-shooting perimeter team and made 12 3-point shots in the losing effort. But it took 33 attempts to get there. And when it did, it was too little too late.

Suffice it to say, the Bulldogs need to be more efficient, inside and outside, first half and second.

“We’re losing to very good teams who we had chances to beat. So, there are some positives, obviously,” White said. “Do I like that we lost four in a row? No. But if we sit here and sulk, we have no shot at Arkansas.”

Georgia’s struggles haven’t been from a lack of trying. After sticking with basically the same starting lineup most of the season, the Bulldogs have gone with a different first five in three of the past four games. Meanwhile, they’ve tweaked their halftime routine in hopes of creating more consistency.

The Bulldogs’ fight in Starkville was strong. After trailing by as many as 15 points, they whittled State’s lead to three late in the second half. But Georgia missed good offensive looks and couldn’t come up with stops, and the home team pulled away from there.

The key for Georgia on Saturday is the same it is every week – defend with vigor. When the Bulldogs hold their opponent to under 70 points, usually they win. They’re 24-1 under White over the past two seasons.

Meanwhile, striking some balance between scoring from beyond-the-arc and inside the paint will help. Seven-footer Russel Tchewa has left the past two games with single-digit numbers in scoring and rebounds after averaging a double-double in the previous three. Georgia turned to freshman Dylan James in the last game looking for some new energy and found some at times.

The Razorbacks are led by guard Tramon Mark, who averages 17.8 points per game. Georgia will counter with one of the SEC’s more balanced offensive teams, led by 3-point specialists Jabri Abdur-Rahim (13.2 ppg) and Noah Thomasson (12.3).

“Our margin of error defensively is pretty small,” White said. “But I know these guys are going to keep fighting and competing.”