Extra effort not enough for UT
Posted: Thursday, January 19, 2012 7:00 pm
By CHARLES ODUM
AP Sports Writer
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia players understood the importance of their first of three straight home games.
The Southeastern Conference standings made that painfully clear.
Gerald Robinson scored 16 points and Georgia overcame poor shooting to outlast Tennessee 57-53 in overtime on Wednesday night, giving the Bulldogs their first SEC win.
Georgia (10-8, 1-3 SEC) won despite scoring only five points in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The Bulldogs made only 34.9 percent of their shots from the field.
“It was very important,” Robinson said. “We didn’t want to get ourselves in an even deeper hole in the SEC. You have to protect home court.”
After ending a three-game losing streak, Georgia has two more home games against Mississippi and Kentucky before it again leaves Athens.
Skylar McBee’s only basket, a 3-pointer, gave Tennessee (8-10, 1-3) a 53-52 lead with 2:11 remaining in overtime. Following a missed jumper by Georgia’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a turnover by the Vols gave Georgia another chance with 1:15 remaining.
Donte Williams scored with 1:03 remaining to give Georgia a 54-43 lead, and he was fouled by Cameron Tatum on the play. Williams missed the free throw but Caldwell-Pope grabbed the rebound. Robinson’s two free throws with 26.4 seconds remaining pushed the lead to three points.
“We showed our will to win tonight,” Robinson said. “We knew we had to fight. We missed a lot of easy shots, especially around the bucket, so our main focus was to just stay in the game. This was a more gritty game, and we were able to come out on top.”
Caldwell-Pope, who leads Georgia with his average of 14.5 points, was held to nine points on 4-for-14 shooting from the field. He missed each of his eight 3-point attempts. But he had four steals and six rebounds, including the crucial rebound after Robinson’s missed free throw to keep the ball away from the Vols in overtime.
“Kentavious got a real big rebound to give us an extra possession,” Robinson said.
When it was difficult for the Bulldogs to find an offensive flow, Williams said the key was “Just keep your cool and play hard. … We knew we had to beat this team.”
The Vols, hurt by 20 turnovers, took only the fourth loss in their last 18 games against Georgia.
“We’ve got to take care of the ball and give ourselves a chance,” said Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin. “With so many unforced turnovers, it was hard to compete at the level we wanted to, especially considering how we played defensively.”
Trae Golden led Tennessee with 16 points. Jeronne Maymon had 12 and freshman Jarnell Stokes had 11 in only his second college game.
Published in The Messenger 1.19.12