In a span of what couldn’t have been more than 9 seconds, Georgia‘s (10-8; 1-3) Nemanja Djurisic blocked a shot and took the ball coast-to-coast, finishing with a running lay-up off the glass that put his Bulldogs up 52-50 with only 2:17 left in the overtime portion of the game. If I hadn’t seen this progression of plays with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed that they had actually transpired.
Regardless though, the Tennessee Volunteers (8-10; 1-3) wouldn’t go away, and senior Skylar McBee buried a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to reclaim the lead at 53-52 with just 2:03 remaining.
The Dawgs came out of a timeout and ran a designed backdoor cut that saw Gerald Robinson, Jr. receive a pass and then immediately dish it to a slashing Donte Williams who finished the play with a basket while being fouled. With Georgia now leading 54-53, Williams stepped up to the free throw line for a chance to finish the three-point play.
Donte missed the free throw attempt, but Kentavious-Caldwell Pope sneaked into the lane and snagged the offensive rebound. Despite the fact that Georgia failed to capitalize on KCP’s board, Nemi was able to tie up the Tennessee defender on the rebound, giving the Dawgs the ball (because of the possession arrow) once again.
This play was absolutely huge for Georgia, who was leading by a point, since it gave them a new shot clock with only 41 seconds left in the game. Tennessee Coach Martin forced his team to foul GR2, who calmly made both free throws, giving his team a 56-53 lead with only 27 seconds left.
After a Trae Golden miss on the other end the game was Georgia’s and the Dawgs ended up winning by a final score of 57-53.
The effort plays at the end of overtime by KCP and Nemi were indicative of the workman-like effort that Georgia gave Coach Mark Fox for 45 minutes on Wednesday night.
Sophomore Donte Williams definitely brought his lunch pail with him to Stegeman, bringing down a team-high 8 rebounds to go along with 11 points. Williams looked comfortable playing with his back to the basket again tonight, and he’s now scored in double-figures in two straight games.
The Dawgs came into the game with some of the worst team defense statistics in the conference, yet they were able to hold the Vols to their second-lowest offensive output of the season. UGA limited Tennessee to under 40% from the floor and just 2 of 16 from beyond the arc, while forcing the Vols into 20 turnovers.
Tennessee was led offensively by Trae Golden, who finished the game with a hard-earned 16 points.
Robinson carried the Bulldogs offensively with 16 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. This game certainly wasn’t one of Gerald’s better shooting performances as he finished only 6 of 19 from the floor. However, when the game was on the line Georgia was able to count on their senior leader, who scored the game-tying lay-up with 18 seconds left in regulation as well as the two aforementioned free throws at the end of OT that helped the Dawgs pull away with the victory.
The two halves and overtime of basketball played in Athens tonight could in no way be classified as “pretty”, with both teams combining for just 4 three-pointers on 34 attempts. I’m sure the Stegeman rims are sore after playing host to a game in which neither team broke the 40% field goal barrier.
Sometimes teams just find a way to win by grinding it out though, and that is exactly what the Georgia Bulldogs did tonight at home in Athens.
The Dawgs picked up their first win of 2012 and they no longer have a goose egg in the SEC win column.
Coach Fox and his team should enjoy this victory because they sure earned it.
This Saturday the Bulldogs get Ole Miss at home with an opportunity to get to 2-3 in conference play.