February 14, 2012

Robinson on a roll

Gerald Robinson Jr. couldn't have asked for a better birthday present last Saturday in Starkville, Miss.

It was Robinson's eight points in overtime that helped propel Georgia to a 70-68 win over 20th-ranked Mississippi State, just three days removed from a career-best 27 -point effort last Wednesday in a 81-59 victory over Arkansas.

"It was a good week," Robinson said prior to practice Tuesday, before jumping on the bus for Wednesday night's game (7 p.m., CSS) at South Carolina (9-15, 1-9).

That's putting it mildly.

Georgia's recent resurgence can be credited in part to the play of the Nashville, Tenn. native, whose success of late continues to draw praise from head coach Mark Fox.

"He's a more focused player than he was earlier," Fox said. "I think he's more confident in the guys around him than he was earlier, and understandably so because there was so much inexperience around him."

Robinson couldn't argue with what Fox had to say.

"That's very fair. I was just not properly evaluating situations at times," Robinson said. "That caused me to make some bad decisions. Of course, I wish I had them back but the thing now is just to continue to go forward."

Fox admits it wasn't all that easy to get Robinson to change his approach.

In fact, it took some time on the bench to finally get the point across.

"We've had lots of conversations. He didn't start several games, Dustin (Ware) didn't start several games. They were both trying too hard and you can't win it by yourself. We talked about that, we talked about how important his approach would be for our new players, because it was going to be important for them to see this guy function the right way," Fox said. "If we were going to continue to get better, we had to get Gerald to start functioning the right way. So we had lots of conversations about that, and he's had a pretty good year."

Saturday, Robinson came up big when his teammates needed him the most.

Robinson had just three points going into the final minute of regulation, until he hit the game-tying lay-up with 27 seconds remaining before scoring eight more in overtime to help the Bulldogs to their two-point win.

"The first 39 minutes he was just OK, but he had a great poise about him with the other guys which I think kept him grounded," Fox said.

"Right now, everybody is getting to see what kind of really good player he is, how much he really does help our team," Ware said. "Obviously, him helping us pull out the Mississippi State win for us, and up to then had been playing well, coming off his career high. He's just being Gerald."

NOTES: Back-to-back wins didn't convince Fox to take it easy on his players during practice Monday. In fact, the opposite was true. "They probably didn't enjoy it yesterday. I'm not very old, but I must have seemed like a crotchety old man," Fox said. "There's still a lot of growing that we have to do." … Georgia leads the league with 10.3 miscues per game, a figure that ranks 4th among 338 Division I teams (the NCAA does indeed keep this stat.). Already this season Georgia has had 11 games of single-digit turnovers, including a season-low four turnovers last Saturday at Miss. State. Game-by-game stats are available only back to the 1979-80 season. There is no game during that time span - 1979 to the present -- where Georgia committed fewer than its four turnovers from last Saturday. …Counting his two seasons at Tennessee State, Robinson enters Wednesday's game with 1,759 career points, 738 at Georgia and 1,021 in two seasons (2008-09) at TSU. That combined total would rank 4th on Georgia's career scoring list, 16 points shy of Vern Fleming (1981-84).