MONDAY MORNING REWIND:
ATHENS — It was good to be a Dawg this past weekend.
Well, mostly it was anyway.
Georgia comported itself quite well in three of its five most visible sports this time of year. There was a championship won, a doubleheader swept and some bleeding stopped on the hardcourt.
There were also a couple of face-plants. We’ll review it all here in “The Rewind.”
1. Mark Fox’s Bulldogs won on the road — again. And this time the 66-65 win over Alabama came with the unlikeliest of heroes.
Cameron Forte, the 6-foot-7 junior forward who seems to be perpetually in Fox’s doghouse, shot his way out of it for one night when he made a short-turnaround jumper with a defender in his face for the winning points with six seconds remaining in overtime.
Freshman Yante Mante, having to hold down the post position in overtime with Marcus Thornton fouled out, blocked Retin Obasohen’s shot with one second left and the Crimson Tide failed to get off a shot before the final buzzer.
It was much-needed and almost surprising win considering all that went wrong late in the game. The Bulldogs (17-9, 8-6 SEC) missed several key free throws and shots down the stretch and couldn’t hold a nine-point lead in the first half or an eight-point one in the second. But they desperately needed the victory after dropping a pair of home games to SEC bottom-feeders Auburn and South Carolina and played considerably more determined than in those contest. They’ve now positioned themselves well for a run to the regular-season finish line.
Georgia’s RPI eked by up into the mid-30s with the win. Joe Lunardi has them at 35 for another challenging road game Wednesday night at Ole Miss, which he has at 32. The Bulldogs now won four of its seven SEC road contests so far and the Rebels (19-8, 10-4) have been vulnerable at home, where they’re 9-5. The Bulldogs beat Ole Miss 69-64 in Athens on Jan. 20.
2. Jack Bauerle will have to make some room in his trophy case as the Lady Bulldogs came back to Athens with yet another SEC championship. The title secured at Auburn on Saturday is its sixth straight and 12th overall, all under Bauerle.
“This is a feeling that never gets old,” Bauerle said. “But at the same time, every championship has its own unique qualities. Every team puts its own stamp on a championship.”
Georgia’s men also did well. The Bulldogs finished second for the 17th time in school history but the first time since 1998.
Hali Flickinger and Chase Kalisz earned the Commissioner’s Trophy for high-point honors. Flickinger finished first in the 400-yard individual medley and second in the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard butterfly. Kalisz won the 200-yard butterfly and the 400-yard individual medley and came in fourth in the 200-yard individual medley.
3. Scott Stricklin’s Diamond Dogs showed some resiliency and some promise by taking two of three from No. 12 FSU Friday and Saturday.
After losing in one of the most humiliating fashions possible on Friday — a pickoff at first with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth — the Bulldogs (5-1) rebounded with 4-1 and 10-5 victories to sweep Saturday’s doubleheader. The series victory was Georgia’s first over a top 25 opponent they took two of three from then No. 7 South Carolina last May.
Offensively, the Bulldogs (5-1) combined for 14 runs on 14 hits in the two contests. On the mound, Georgia’s starters (Ryan Lawlor and David Sosebee) yielded three runs on nine hits in 12 innings of work on the day.
“We came into this weekend saying ‘We need to win this series,'” Stricklin said. “Certainly you can’t win every game and you can say `what if’ about (Friday) night. The bottom line is our kids came out after losing a tough one … and swept a doubleheader from a nationally-ranked team and that’s exciting for all of us.”
The Bulldogs host Presbyterian and Kennesaw State this week before heading down to Statesboro to play a three-game set against Georgia Southern this coming weekend.
4. Traditionally it has been beam that has tripped up the Gymdogs in big meets. But this time Georgia actually had to count a fall on floor and that contributed significantly to losing to rival Alabama in a home meet Friday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
The late fade wiped out what have been a fantastic start for the No. 11 Gymdogs (3-5, 2-3 SEC) against the fifth-ranked Tide (6-1, 4-1). Georgia led through two rotations as it scored season bests on both vault and beam. UGA tied or set six career and seven season personal bests in the meet.
5. There’s not much left to say about the Lady Dogs’ basketball team. Injuries seem to have sapped all of the competitiveness out of them. They lost to Auburn on Sunday 44-26. It was the first SEC victory of the season for the Tigers (10-17, 1-13) and Georgia’s lowest offensive output in program history.
It was the seventh consecutive loss for the Lady Dogs (17-10, 5-9), who are playing without Shacobia Barbee (broken leg) and Merritt Hempe (illness). Krista Donald tried to play Sunday despite a sprained ankle.
Next up is No. 6 Tennessee (22-3) at Stegeman Thursday night at 9. Georgia’s NCAA tournament streak looks to be in serious jeopardy.