Young Bulldogs Finish at 15-17

The Georgia Bulldogs took big steps forward during the 2013 season. With a team that counted many freshman and sophomores among its key players, they tallied 15 wins, but more importantly became just the third Georgia squad in the past 10 years to post a .500 record in Southeastern Conference play.

Georgia recovered after a slow start in its non-conference play by finishing on a 4-game winning streak. Then, after another slow start to their SEC schedule, the Bulldogs climbed back into contention with a 5-game win streak amidst conference play. That represented the longest such streak at Georgia in 12 years. Three of those five games were on the road. In fact, the Bulldogs came achingly close to finishing the season on a 7-game road winning streak. They dropped overtime decision at Ole Miss, followed by three consecutive last-possession losses at Arkansas, Vandy and Alabama.

Without question, the Bulldogs were carried by their sensational sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Greenville, Ga., native had a season that ranked in the annals of all-time great invididual efforts at UGA.

KCP Sweeps SEC Top Player Awards

Georgia sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named in mid-March as the 2013 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by the Associated Press. A week before Caldwell-Pope became the first Georgia player to win the Coaches’ Player-of-the-Year award since its official inception in the 1986-87 season. He’s just the second Bulldog to win any SEC Player-of-the-Year trophy since wire services began naming recipients in 1965. Dominique Wilkins won the award in 1981, also as a sophomore, as given by the Associated Press and United Press International.

Additionally, Caldwell-Pope was the only unanimous choice to the 5-man AP All-SEC first team that included Erik Murphy of Florida; Trevor Releford of Alabama, Jordan McRae of Tennessee and Nerlens Noel of Kentucky.
KCP led the Bulldogs and ranked second in the SEC in scoring at 18.5 points per game. In fact, he ranked among the SEC leaders in nine of the 13 categories for which individual statistics are kept. He led Georgia in scoring in 29 of 32 regular-season games, in rebounding in 16 games.

More KCP Notes

Caldwell-Pope also earned a reputation for his performance in clutch situations. In the last five minutes of SEC games this season, he averaged 5.4 points (projects to 43.2 points over a 40-minute game), shooting 65 percent from the field, 63 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent from the free-throw line. In fact, he scored 31 percent of his total of 332 points in SEC play during the last five minutes.

Caldwell-Pope was one of just nine players in all of NCAA Division I to score in double figures in every one of his team’s games this season. Not that he didn’t have some close calls. In Georgia’s home win over Texas A&M, KCP need a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to reach double digits.

In his last game of the 2013 season, KCP tallied a career-high 32 points against LSU, including 25 in the second half. That figure made him the 42nd player in UGA history to score 1,000 career points. It took him 64 collegiate games to reach that landmark. By comparison, Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins reached 1,000 in 46 games, and the fastest Bulldog to 1k points was Jacky Dorsey (1975-76), who needed just 43 games.

Team Highlights

Georgia’s 5-game SEC win streak was the longest in SEC play under coach Mark Fox. The longest win streak, period, of the Fox era is a 9-game run in the 2010-11 season. The school record for consecutive SEC wins is six, established three times: in 2001, 1992-93 teams (spanning both seasons) and also the SEC championship team of 1990. The last time for a 7-game league win streak occurred in the 1930-31 season, when the Bulldogs belonged to the Southern Conference.season in school history.

Mann Named to All-SEC Frosh Team

Point guard Charles Mann was named to the Coaches’ SEC All-Freshman team. The Alpharetta, Ga., native was third on the team in scoring at 6.7 points per game. He led the Bulldogs in assists (92) and free throws attempted (170). Five times, in fact, Mann got to the charity stripe at least 10 times, including 14 tries in two of Georgia’s last four games.

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