INDIANAPOLIS – Well, it was fun while it lasted. Unfortunately for the Georgia Bulldogs, they didn’t have much fun in the last one.

Their season ended with a thud on the hallowed court inside Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Seton Hall Pirates were the beneficiary of Georgia’s poorest outing in a month, waltzing to an 84-67 victory in the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament. The Bulldogs’ second season under coach Mike White ends with a deep run in a secondary tournament and a 20-17 record.

“These guys were devastated downstairs,” White said in the postgame press conference above the Bulldogs’ locker room. “It shows how much they care for one another, how much they intended to play another game.”

Instead, the Big East’s Pirates (24-12) will play Indiana State (32-6) for the NIT championship on Thursday. Like it was for the Sycamores’ 100-90 win over Utah on Tuesday, Hinkle is expected to be packed to the rafters with ISU fans. The school resides just 75 miles away.

As for the Bulldogs, they played the first half like their minds were at least that far away. They simply were uncompetitive from the opening tip.

Well, Georgia actually won that, then immediately turned the ball over on an unforced exchange error. A couple of minutes later, point guard Silas Demary executed a beautiful drive down the middle of the lane only to miss an uncontested dunk.

Seton Hall dutifully feasted on each morsel Georgia so generously doled out. By halftime, the Pirates seemed almost bored. They missed six of their last seven shots before intermission, yet still led 42-25.

UGA leading scorer Noah Thomasson missed all five shots he took in the opening 20 minutes. He managed 10 points in the end but took 15 shots to get them. Demary led the Bulldogs with 19 points but also missed six shots. A team with a rep for making 3s missed 21 of the 26 it took. Seton Hall gladly made off with the rebounds, dominating that, too, 45-32.

“They got after us and were physical and got after us defensively,” Thomasson said. “We knew that about them coming in. They just made that run early and it was hard for us to get back in it.”

Said Demary: “It just felt like we were playing in a hole the whole time.”

Seton Hall’s guards simply had their way. Al-Amir Dawes led the way with 20 points on 11 shots, including four 3s. Dre Davis added 19 and leading scorer Kadary Richmond left with 15.

The Pirates finished fourth in the Big East this season and both them and Indiana State were listed as two of the “last four out” to make the NCAA Tournament field.

“Our message in the summer was we wanted to be playing for a championship in April and that’s what were able to do,” Richmond said. “It just happens to be here.

The Bulldogs played noticeably looser in the second half and actually played Seton Hall to a 42-all tie over the final 20. But armed with such a fat lead, Seton Hall was happy to trade baskets.

What resulted was something resembling an AAU game. The Pirates didn’t even bother manning the lane on their foul shots. The other four players simply stood on the defensive end of the court and chatted while they caught their breath.

As for the opening half, Georgia could not have started much worse. The Bulldogs missed their first eight shots of the game and were still 1-for-9 at the first media timeout at 15:50. The crazy thing: It got worse.

In the stretch before the next timeout, Georgia’s drought extended to 0-for-10 while Seton Hall’s streak heated up to 5-for-5 from the field. The combination therein resulted in an 18-3 lead for the Pirates that forced the Bulldogs into a timeout with Richmond still hanging on the rim after an uncontested dunk at the 13:57 mark.

Again, it got worse. White introduced wholesale substitutions and that briefly allowed the Bulldogs to chew into the lead. Georgia scored on back-to-back possessions on a basket from Russel Tchewa and a 3-pointer from RJ Melendez. When Melendez would make an old-fashioned 3-point play at the 10:49 mark, Georgia cut it to nine and it felt for a second the Bulldogs were going to get back in the game.

They didn’t. Seton Hall used another 10-0 run to push its lead back to 19.

“The ball would not go in,” White sighed. “Seton Hall’s a really good defensive team. It’s not like they were giving us anything easy. But the open 3s we had didn’t go and we had a couple at the rim that didn’t go and all the sudden our body-language changed.”

Georgia may finally have run out of gas. It has been playing short-handed for the last month of the season. Senior Jabri Abdur-Rahim, a 27-game starter, missed his ninth consecutive game with an ankle injury Tuesday. Eleven-game starter RJ Sunahara also couldn’t go.

Tchewa, the 280-pound 7-footer who missed all but five minutes of the last two games due to illness, tried to go but was good for only 10 minutes and three points.

“Yeah, obviously the last seven or eight days I’ve been really sick with a cough and fever,” said Tchewa, a graduate transfer from South Florida. “I practiced this whole week, but it took a long time to get back to the way I was.”

Still, Georgia had managed to win five of the last seven games with a similar cast manning all the minutes. For whatever reason, all the Bulldogs seemed off. And that’s why the reality of the season’s end hit this group so hard.

They know they will not be together next year, most of them anyway. In the age of the transfer portal, the expectation is another major overhaul is on the way.

The hope within the program is at least the nucleus of the three freshmen starters – Demary, Blue Cain and Dylan James – will stick together to be built around. Along with 5-star signee Asa Newell, Georgia is expected to add pieces in the coming weeks.

Nobody was willing to make a declaration one way or the other an hour after the last game.

“I’m definitely going to need to decompress,” said Demary, a freshman from Raleigh who started all but one game. “We’ve played a lot of basketball since June. Honestly, I need to take some time away and rest my body. It’s been a long season.”

It has been for the coaching staff as well, but there is no time for them to rest. They’ll meet together immediately to discuss roster plans, then quickly prepare for exit interviews with players.

“Very quickly. I don’t have a day or time, but it will be very soon,” White said. “Until tonight, our mind was on playing and advancing to a championship. But we’ll have those discussions as a staff (Wednesday) morning.”