ATHENS, Ga. - Tennessee's Brian "Big Baby" Williams made the biggest shot at Georgia on Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-10, 270-pound Williams rebounded Tobias Harris' missed 3-pointer and put the ball back up and in as time expired in Stegeman Coliseum, lifting the Vols to a 59-57 win over the Bulldogs.
"I saw there was point-something left, so I just let it go,'' Williams said. "I'm grateful it went in, I'm grateful we got the victory ... I'm grateful to be a Tennessee Vol.''
The officials checked Williams' shot at the replay monitor before ruling it good, sending a raucous near-capacity crowd of 10,523 stomping off to the exits.
Scotty Hopson and Harris led UT (12-6, 2-2 SEC) with 15 points apiece, and Williams scored 10.
The Vols played without coach Bruce Pearl, who served the fourth game of his eight-game SEC suspension.
Pearl will return to the bench when UT plays at No. 10 Connecticut (12-2) on Saturday. Pearl's suspension doesn't include non-conference games.
Travis Leslie and Gerald Robinson had 14 points each for the Bulldogs (13-4, 2-2), and preseason All-SEC player of the year Trey Thompkins had 13 points on 4-of-13 shooting.
UT associate head coach Tony Jones, calling the game in Pearl's place, set up the game-winning play after Melvin Goins chased down a loose ball near midcourt and called time out with 27.8 seconds left.
"It was a battle for the ball, and I knew whoever got possession would win that game,'' Goins said. "We were confident, and our guys were playing hard and fighting hard out there.''
The final play was designed to go to Hopson, but Georgia was ready with a double team, and Hopson was forced to kick the ball out to Goins. Goins drove the lane before swinging the ball over to Harris in the corner.
"I had a good look,'' said Harris, who was 3-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. "But I think Thompkins tipped it.''
The ball missed the rim with Georgia's Chris Barnes (6-8, 240) holding the inside position for the rebound.
Barnes had the ball above his head when Williams pulled it from him and shot with Barnes backpedaling into him.
"Tennessee made more plays than we did,'' said Bulldogs coach Mark Fox, whose team was 8-0 at home entering the game. "They made one more, for sure. We did everything, including blocking out. We just didn't secure the rebound.''
Hopson and Leslie, guarding each other, ran into foul trouble and were out of the game down the stretch before being re-inserted with 2:51 left and Georgia up 54-53.
UT's Josh Bone made a floater as the shot clock expired with 2:24 left to put the Vols up, 55-54.
Williams followed with a basket inside to extend the lead to 57-54, but the Bulldogs tied it on Dustin Ware's 3-pointer with 59 seconds left.
Hopson missed on his ensuing drive, and the ball was batted back out, with Goins securing the most pivotal 50-50 ball of the night.
The Vols held a 35-33 lead at the half, with Hopson scoring nine of his 11 first-half points in the opening nine minutes as UT went up 14-10.
Georgia went on a 13-2 run that was capped by Thompkins' three-point play that gave the Bulldogs a 23-16 lead at the 7:56 mark.
Georgia still was up seven when Skylar McBee hit a trey that ignited a 14-2 run that included three consecutive 3-pointers by Harris.
Thompkins scored the final three points of the half from the foul line, included two that came when Williams was called for a technical for grabbing the rim on a missed free throw.
"Each of these last four games have come down to the end,'' Jones said. "We told the guys, 'Don't let doubt creep into your mind, we're going to win this game.' "
The Vols' next home game is at 8 p.m. next Wednesday against LSU.