Ricky McPhee knocked down a pair of free throws with 53 seconds left to put his Georgia Bulldogs up 74-68. The Dawgs were less than a minute away from earning their first road win of the season, and against a Top 25 team at that.
But Vanderbilt’s senior point guard Jermaine Beal had other plans in mind. Beal was able to get to the rim and finish on two lay-ups in merely 11 seconds, and following an Andre Walker three-pointer the Commodores were down only 77-75 with 24 ticks left.
The ‘Dores then fouled Dustin Ware, sending him to the line for two shots.
Ware missed them both.
A.J. Ogilvy tipped in a missed Beal shot on the other end, Leslie missed an out of control jumper and the game was going to overtime.
In overtime, Vandy built up a 92-86 lead with 28 seconds left, but Ware knocked down back-to-back three’s and the Dawgs actually ended up with Chris Barnes at the line shooting a free throw with the score 96-94. Barnes intentionally missed the shot, and Ware was able to track down the offensive board…but with only 0.9 seconds left he had to toss up a near impossible shot that fell short (Leslie grabbed it out of the air and put it in but the buzzer had already sounded).
Had the Dawgs not suffered a defensive let-down in the game’s final 53 seconds, one could go so far as to say that they played a near perfect game.
Georgia shot 46.5% from the field and 47.6% from beyond the arc. The Dawgs out-rebounded Vandy 35-32, and they only committed 10 turnovers.
The fact that Georgia was able to go into the half down only 5 was an accomplishment within itself. Trey Thompkins picked up his second foul with 8:15 left in the half, and he didn’t see the floor again until after the break.
The Dawgs had five players score in double-figures, with Travis Leslie leading the way with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists (he also showed up on Sportscenter’s “Top Plays” once again).
The Dawgs are now 4-9 in the SEC, and 12-14 overall.
Mark Fox can add the Vandy game to his team’s collection of heartbreaking SEC losses that they have suffered this season – Ole Miss, Miss St, South Carolina and Arkansas.
It’s mind-boggling to think that Georgia has now lost 5 conference games this year by a total of 14 points.
Georgia has three games remaining on its schedule: Florida and Kentucky at home, and LSU at their place.
If the SEC Tournament were to start today, I’d have to say that I like the Dawgs seed. Georgia would get Ole Miss in round one (a team that UGA had beat in Athens), and the winner of that game would play Vandy in round two. Another bonus of having the East sixth seed is that it keeps Georgia on the opposite side of the bracket from Kentucky.
Ok, that was my attempt to cheer everybody (including myself) up following last night’s nail-biter.