Georgia protects 'home court'

Tennessee guard Cameron Tatum (23) and forward Kenny Hall (20) talk during a time out as Georgia defeats them 57-53 during an NCAA college basketball game at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, Richard Hamm)

Tennessee guard Cameron Tatum (23) and forward Kenny Hall (20) talk during a time out as Georgia defeats them 57-53 during an NCAA college basketball game at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, Richard Hamm)

Georgia celebrates a 57-53 victory over Tennessee in an NCAA college basketball game at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, Richard Hamm)

Georgia celebrates a 57-53 victory over Tennessee in an NCAA college basketball game at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, Richard Hamm)

Tennessee guard Skylar McBee (13) and Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) guard Georgia guard Gerald Robinson (22) as he falls to the floor on a shot-attempt during an NCAA college basketball game at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, Richard Hamm)

Tennessee guard Skylar McBee (13) and Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes (5) guard Georgia guard Gerald Robinson (22) as he falls to the floor on a shot-attempt during an NCAA college basketball game at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Athens Banner-Herald, Richard Hamm)

ATHENS, Ga. — 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, and 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 late in overtime.

"Kentavious got a real big rebound to give us an extra possession," Robinson said. "That helped us pull out the game."

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."

Williams and freshman Nemanja Djurisic each had 11 points for Georgia.

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.

Tennessee did not lead in the first half but finally took advantage of Georgia's poor shooting after the Bulldogs led 27-24 at halftime.

Georgia rallied after Tennessee led 40-35 with 5:53 remaining in regulation.

"I definitely thought we had the game in hand," Golden said. "A couple turnovers and things like that hurt us in the end."

Golden said the Vols' turnovers, which led to 17 points for Georgia, were "really disappointing."

The game was tied at 44-44 before Golden's short jumper gave the Vols the lead.

Robinson tied the game again by driving down the baseline for a layup with 17 seconds remaining. After the teams traded timeouts with 13.2 seconds remaining, Golden missed a shot from the wing with about 1 second left. Georgia called a timeout with 0.6 seconds left, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope missed a half-court shot to send the game to overtime.

Stokes, the 6-foot-8, 250-pound freshman forward who signed with Tennessee on Dec. 23 and had his first practice on Jan. 9, had eight rebounds.

Georgia received a boost to its front line with forward Marcus Thornton's return from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Thornton made his first appearance since hurting the knee on Dec. 23. He did not score and had one rebound in 23 minutes.

"Marcus made a huge impact for us defensively," said Georgia coach Mark Fox. "He hasn't been able to play or even practice in a month, but he really made some key plays for us. We didn't know he could play until (Tuesday) when he went to the doctor, but there was zero hesitation in our decision. We needed him on defense."

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Comments » 9

volinuptonky writes:

The only thing that I can say positive is that the Vols played great defense. Now if we can learn to hang on to the ball things will get better. I am afraid it is going to be a difficult road but I was thinking about how much better this team will be next year with all the experience coming back.

voloffaith writes:

Turnovers and missed free throws minimized in regulation and we leave with a narrow victory on the road........

VolQB writes:

How long are we going to give Conzo a free pass? Getting beat by GA. Are you kidding me?

I would agree that in the basketball world this equates to getting beat by KY in football. Conzo is not using his talent. Mayben should have dominated but he is just a dude running a stupid scheme created by our lifeless coach.

Conzo is doing the same with Stokes. He will be lost in a losing system. Why not use his talents? Open the court for Stokes.

Does Conzo not know how to coach at the end of games? He allows Trae to WALK it up court with 13 sec (2 games in a row) and do his trademark end of game brick. Trae is as lost as the coach.

NashvillePreds writes:

I remember when we had Wade Houston, Kevin O'Neil, Jerry Green, & Buzz Peterson as our bball coaches. It was evident, with the names mentioned above, we were not going anywhere in basketball.
Does anyone else have the inkling that old feeling has returned again?

maciste54 writes:

in response to VolQB:

How long are we going to give Conzo a free pass? Getting beat by GA. Are you kidding me?

I would agree that in the basketball world this equates to getting beat by KY in football. Conzo is not using his talent. Mayben should have dominated but he is just a dude running a stupid scheme created by our lifeless coach.

Conzo is doing the same with Stokes. He will be lost in a losing system. Why not use his talents? Open the court for Stokes.

Does Conzo not know how to coach at the end of games? He allows Trae to WALK it up court with 13 sec (2 games in a row) and do his trademark end of game brick. Trae is as lost as the coach.

In answer to the first question. Hopefully at least 3 or 4 years.

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

I remember when we had Wade Houston, Kevin O'Neil, Jerry Green, & Buzz Peterson as our bball coaches. It was evident, with the names mentioned above, we were not going anywhere in basketball.
Does anyone else have the inkling that old feeling has returned again?

Kevin O'Neil was a very good coach even though he was an arsehole! Anyway, he does not deserve to be listed with this group. He went to USC and schooled Pearl TWICE! And with less talent!

NashvillePreds writes:

in response to Bubba_Knows:

Kevin O'Neil was a very good coach even though he was an arsehole! Anyway, he does not deserve to be listed with this group. He went to USC and schooled Pearl TWICE! And with less talent!

Has he ever won anything? Even a conference championship?

johnlg00 writes:

in response to VolQB:

How long are we going to give Conzo a free pass? Getting beat by GA. Are you kidding me?

I would agree that in the basketball world this equates to getting beat by KY in football. Conzo is not using his talent. Mayben should have dominated but he is just a dude running a stupid scheme created by our lifeless coach.

Conzo is doing the same with Stokes. He will be lost in a losing system. Why not use his talents? Open the court for Stokes.

Does Conzo not know how to coach at the end of games? He allows Trae to WALK it up court with 13 sec (2 games in a row) and do his trademark end of game brick. Trae is as lost as the coach.

Yeah, you're right. Why in the world would he have taught all those guys to just throw the ball away like a used tissue? Why does he keep telling guys to brick their free-throws? Why does he tell them not to grab rebounds like they want them? He should have just gone out and recruited a whole team full of Stokes-caliber players as soon as he hit Knoxville. (Sarcasm button off)

johnlg00 writes:

in response to NashvillePreds:

I remember when we had Wade Houston, Kevin O'Neil, Jerry Green, & Buzz Peterson as our bball coaches. It was evident, with the names mentioned above, we were not going anywhere in basketball.
Does anyone else have the inkling that old feeling has returned again?

No.

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