January 18, 2011

Last-second shot dooms Dawgs

Georgia coach Mark Fox pondered the question carefully.

Did Tennessee's Brian Williams go over the back of Bulldog Chris Barnes before his basket at the buzzer gave Tennessee it's 59-57 win Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum?

"I'd have to watch the tape, sorry," Fox said after an approximate 10-second pause.

The crowd of 10,523 stood in stunned disbelief, as the officials gathered at the scorer's table before determining that Williams' put-back indeed beat the buzzer for the game-winning points.

"I'm like Kobe … last shot, fadeaway," Williams said. "SportsCenter Top Ten. That's the biggest shot I've ever made … with no time left. It's the greatest feeling in the world. I'm just glad it counted."

Fox could only shake his head.

"It's the final possession and you know they're going for the final shot," he said. "The shot clock is off and as we have been taught to do, you defend, force a miss and secure the rebounds. We did everything including blocking out. We just didn't secure the rebound."

Williams' basket capped off what was a frantic finish to the game.

Trailing 57-54, Dustin Ware nailed a 3-pointer from the left of the key to tie the game.

As it turned out, the Bulldogs wouldn't get another opportunity to score.

With 31 seconds remaining, Melvin Goins came away with a rebound following a missed shot and after a timeout, held the ball for one final play.

With the final seconds ticking away, Scotty Hopson attempted a runner that bounced off the front of the rim. As the play continued, Williams appeared to go over the back of Barnes to corral before putting it back and into the basket for the game-winning shot.

However, the referees, saw it differently.

The only question that remained was whether or not Williams got his shot off on time. After a brief discussion, it was ruled that the basket indeed counted, much to the relief of Vol associate coach Tony Jones.

"We wanted our two playmakers to have opportunities. Either to find Scott off the screen to get in the lane and make something happen or read t, pitch it and throw it to Tobias (Harris)," Jones said. "Scotty got in the lane and penetrated the defense. His shot didn't go in, but Brian, who has been playing very well, got the board and went up with it."

Travis Leslie was almost at a loss for words.

"I felt he went over the back, but the officials didn't call it so we can't do anything about that," he said.

After scoring 98 points in a win Saturday at Ole Miss, Georgia (13-4, 2-2) found the points much harder to come by against the Vols who held the Bulldogs to just 20-of-47 from the field (42.6) for the game.

Tennessee (12-6, 2-2) also out-rebounded the Bulldogs 34-to-28.

Leslie and Gerald Robinson led the Bulldogs with 14 points apiece, followed by Trey Thompkins with 13. Ware tied a career-high with seven rebounds to lead the Bulldogs.

Harris and Hopson led Tennessee with 15 points apiece. Williams finished with 10.

"That was a difficult loss," Fox said. "Tennessee made more plays than we did. They made one more, for sure. There are going to be a lot of battles in this league. We just didn't make enough tonight, plain and simple."

Leslie helped the Bulldogs get off to a quick start with a seven-point binge to spark a 13-2 run to put Georgia up 23-16.

But that was before Harris found his range.

The 6-foot-8 freshman from Dix Hills, N.Y. hit three straight 3-pointers to push Tennessee ahead 33-30 with just over a minute to play before the Vols settled for a 35-33 halftime advantage.

Robinson topped the Bulldogs with 12 first-half points, followed by Thompkins with eight. Harris and Hopson led Tennessee with 11.

Georgia returns to action Saturday against Mississippi State.



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