As ugly as this game was, I actually thought we played with good effort and at a decent pace. It was ugly for different reasons, primarily because both teams seemed to commit a lot of unforced turnovers and neither team could put the ball in the basket.
While I have some minor issues with Coach Grant's decisions regarding timeouts in this game, this loss isn't on him. We were atrocious at the free throw line, and that is where the game was lost.
Retin stepped up and made a couple of huge pull up contested 3s down the stretch. He had his usual moments of being out of control, but I thought he played well overall. If nothing else, he was at least aggressive, which we were missing from Levi and Coop. I thought Shannon Hale also regressed in this game. He scored 8 points, but had some bad turnovers and was a liability on defense. Conversely, Riley Norris had one of his best games of the season with 14 points and 5 rebounds. I wish we would have run him through some screens to try to get him more open shots later in the game.
Mark Fox did us a huge favor by grabbing the official to argue for a foul after Retin blocked a shot late in the game. That technical foul led to a 4 point play giving us a 2 point lead with 2 minutes to go. Unfortunately, we just could not close out the game at the free throw line.
Give credit to UGA for making a great shot to take the lead on their last possession. I question why we didn't call timeout when Retin dropped his head and it was obvious that he was going to charge full speed to the basket despite being 1 on 3. We could have stopped the clock with 3 or 4 seconds left and had more options. There's no excuse for pump faking with 1 second remaining, especially for a senior coming out of a timeout.
There was a surprisingly decent crowd on hand; I would estimate about 7,500, with UGA bringing about 400 or so of their own fans. The crowd was into the game and loud at key times. It was also good to see Senario Hillman in attendance.
Up next, we look for revenge against the South Carolina Gamecocks, as they come to Tuscaloosa for a 6 pm tipoff Tuesday night. It's "Star Wars Night." I'm not sure who we are paying in the marketing department to come up with these things, but they are stealing money. The game will be televised on SEC Network. May the force be with you.