Dogs’ double-overtime loss to Florida will sting for a while

Georgia's Jeremy Price shoots over Florida center Vernon Macklin in the first half.  (AP photo)

Georgia's Jeremy Price, here shooting over Florida's Vernon Macklin, thought he had sealed a win with two free throws in the first overtime.

(UPDATED at 10:45 p.m.)

ATHENS –Travis Leslie was three feet away from the shooter, but the shooter was about 30 feet from the basket. The lead looked safe.

“I didn’t think he was gonna make it,” the Georgia guard said. “But he was lucky enough to make it. I thought we had the win.”

Jeremy Price was on the bench. The center had just made two free throws to give the Bulldogs an 85-82 lead over Florida with six seconds left and was taken out for defensive purposes. He watched Florida’s Erving Walker pull up for a shot 10 feet behind the three-point line at thought the same thing as most others in the building.

“I thought the game was over,” he said. “I thought he was too deep, running, fading left. Then I saw it go in. Heartbreaker.”

Georgia’s basketball program has made terrific strides in Mark Fox’s first two seasons. That makes losses like Tuesday night’s 104-91, double overtime defeat to Florida at Stegeman Coliseum even more difficult to take in some ways.  Since the Bulldogs’ upset of Kentucky, they have lost three of five. That includes two stinging home defeats — a two-point loss to Tennessee and this one to Florida.

“At some point we’ll have to win a heartbreaker,” Fox said, uttering a word used often in the post-game. “We haven’t been in a lot of these.”

The atmosphere in Stegeman was as loud and electric as Fox could have hoped for. As the coach said later, “I’m proud of our team and I’m proud of our crowd.”

This is the Georgia-Florida game Bulldogs fans now attend without fear of humiliation. The football Dogs have dropped 18 of the last 21 to the Gators. The basketball Dogs entered Tuesday having lost 12 of 14 to their rivals, but won the previous two at Stegeman. Further, there is a universal belief that Fox has things going in the right direction in Athens.

What happened Tuesday did nothing to change that. Despite the loss, this looks like a 20-win team. This looks like an NCAA tournament team. If that happens, it will be the first time in nine seasons (2001-02) the Bulldogs are selected for the field by the committee. (The only tournament berth since then was the automatic entry that came via their improbable, tornado-aided, 2007-08 SEC tournament title.)

Georgia basketball has become a big deal. This was the fourth straight sellout awt Stegeman, a streak we haven’t seen since nine straight sellouts in the barn in 2002-03. Fortunately, this one will finish with better memories than that one — because Jim Harrick and NCAA investigators are off campus.

Trey Thompkins sent the game into overtime when he followed a Dustin Ware miss just before the buzzer to tie the game at 73-73. There were eight lead changes in the first overtime, but it looked like the Dogs would win it. With less than 10 seconds left and Georgia leading 83-82, Thompkins stole the ball from Florida’s Kenny Boykin and passed it to Price. Price hit two free throws with 6.7 seconds left to make it  to make it 85-82.

But the Gators rushed the ball up court, Fox elected not to have his players foul and Walker pulled up to take a three-point shot from Bogart, Ga. It went in with one second left.

In the second overtime, the Dogs seemed to have lost their legs and their will. Florida scored the first nine points in overtime.

Fox said later that he thought his team “looked fatigued” in the second overtime. But Price said, “I feel like it was more mental than physical. That shot took away a lot from us.”

Now comes the hard part. Georgia (14-5, 3-3) has to try to bounce back and travel to Kentucky Saturday. Motivation won’t be an issue for the Wildcats, who lost in Stegeman two and a half weeks ago.

“There’s worse things in life that are going to happen to them,” Fox said of his players. “They have no choice but to get back up.”

But the sting from this one will linger for a while.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

218 comments Add your comment

BobDog

January 25th, 2011
9:52 pm

Oh man. Tough loss.

BobDog

January 25th, 2011
9:53 pm

No, I’m not first. I don’t even care about being first.

Chris

January 25th, 2011
9:53 pm

Just ran out of gas

Gatorbait

January 25th, 2011
9:53 pm

poor uga fans.

bilbo

January 25th, 2011
9:53 pm

I hate Florida.

Randy

January 25th, 2011
9:53 pm

Way to go GATORS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

bilbo

January 25th, 2011
9:54 pm

It’s trashy.

Timothy Road

January 25th, 2011
9:54 pm

That’s why you always foul when up by 3. Love Coach Fox…but dumb mistake. Could see he was yelling at the players to foul, but none of them had a clue. Practice makes perfect Coach.

Gatorbait

January 25th, 2011
9:54 pm

Surprised Schultz didn’t mention Urban Crier. Schultz are you crying tonight? Go Gators!!!!

Randy

January 25th, 2011
9:55 pm

Sorry bilbo but it seems Florida owns Georgia.

jarvis

January 25th, 2011
9:55 pm

Just make the tourney. Who cares about the rest?

Felton won this Conference three years ago. That says a lot about the lack of prestige in winning the SEC.

Sandman053

January 25th, 2011
9:56 pm

terrible ending

jarvis

January 25th, 2011
9:57 pm

So Timothy, I don’t really remember the “foul the opponent with 3 seconds left to prevent the half-court shot” drill at practice.

Is that a new one?

Gatorbait

January 25th, 2011
9:57 pm

Hilarious to watch those redneck fans on TV? Oh well, UF owns UGA.

Chuck

January 25th, 2011
9:58 pm

Foul the guy, game over. When that kid drained that 3, they should have called the game because it was over. That guy was lights out all night, so give him credit. Funniest moment, though, was when the Florida kid hit a 3 and his team-mate popped him in the nads with a towel! Poor guy never saw that coming!

Sminingsgator

January 25th, 2011
9:58 pm

Great win by the Gators. Fox is certainly rebuilding UGA Bball the right way. BTW, this was the 3rd game in 6 days for the Gators. How is it that UGA ran out of gas?

Just Like Football

January 25th, 2011
9:59 pm

Geoffrey

January 25th, 2011
10:00 pm

Florida > Georgia. Period.

Chuck

January 25th, 2011
10:00 pm

Gaotrbait… I’d be really careful ever letting the words “white trash” cross your lips in reference to ANYONE. Pot, meet kettle…

jarvis

January 25th, 2011
10:00 pm

Oh…that’s right Gatorbait cause all UF fans went to school at Florida, and none live in trailer parks.

North Central Florida is such a nice place full of all that industry. I’ve heard it referred to as the new Manhattan.

Sandman053

January 25th, 2011
10:01 pm

last two meetings:UF v. Ga. 1-1

GTBob

January 25th, 2011
10:04 pm

A valiant effort by the Dogs. They showed some heart but Florida was a little too solid overall. Aside from the huge meltdown they had at the end of regulation. Why they were chucking 3 pointers with 15 seconds left on the shot clock near the end of the game is a mystery to me. With this loss, it looks like UGA will probably finish 4th or 5th in the east. They still may sneak into the tournament though.

~The Tin Man~

January 25th, 2011
10:05 pm

~Dawgs lack Heart~

UGA gasp Loses to Florida

January 25th, 2011
10:05 pm

if, and imo that’s a really big if, georgia makes it to the tournament .. they’ll win one game at most. From what I saw some of the players are good but the team itself really isn’t … they apparently lack basic fundamentals

Sandman053

January 25th, 2011
10:06 pm

GTBob, UGA looked winded to me in the second half. They just weren’t feeing off the energy from the crowd until at the end of regulation. Ware is an awesome 3-point shooter (ask Hewitt) but he didn’t get enough opportunities, unlike that kis fom Florida…can’t remember his name but he was the white kid with the shaggy hair.

Lipstick on the Stegosaurus

January 25th, 2011
10:06 pm

CHOKE…. The official drink of the Georgia Bulldogs!

Hosed

January 25th, 2011
10:07 pm

As usual, UGA got hosed by the refs, costing them another game. UF got all the big calls. The Dawgs never get a break from the terrible SEC refs.

Sandman053

January 25th, 2011
10:07 pm

UGA gasp…let’s let the remainder of the season play out. I’ve seen these Dawgs play well enough to win it all and then turn around and almost lose to Mercer.

Sandman053

January 25th, 2011
10:08 pm

The refs DID make some crap calls, but sometimes you gotta fight the refs and the other team. Great teams can do both…we just aren’t there yet. But we are so much better than a year ago. Go Dawgs!

Lipstick on the Stegosaurus

January 25th, 2011
10:09 pm

The stench remains in Stegman and another loss to the Florida Gators. So Whats new? UGA Baseball will suck again this year too.

Tim

January 25th, 2011
10:10 pm

As a die-hard Gator who has watched the fair Gator teams under Norm Sloan in the 1980s, to the good teams under Lon Krueger in the early 1990s to Billy Donovan. I can’t stand Georgia but am also a realist when it comes to sports.

I was very impressed with Georgia tonight and wish them nothing but the best. That team is good … very good. If they foul Erving Walker, they win the game. That’s the difference between a seasoned team and a young team. Georgia will mature and be trouble later this year. The Georgia fans have nothing to be ashamed of concerning their basketball team. That team will beat many teams they aren’t supposed to.

I diasgree with a previous post about “it being a lack of prestige in winning the SEC (in basketball).” That was two very good teams playing on ESPN tonight. If Florida (and I mean if) can quit playing so streaky, they have a good chance to go a long way this season.

Gators own uga

January 25th, 2011
10:12 pm

Typical uga fans-whine about the officiating. Maybe if Thompkins doesn’t come up small at the end of the first OT, uga may have more than 1 quality win. But, after the Gators made the 3-pt basket @ the end of the 1st OT, uga was TOAST!

Sandman053

January 25th, 2011
10:13 pm

I was very impressed with UF tonight. That kid knocking down threes reminded me of Mark Price back in the 80’s at Tech. And the little point guard who is about 5′9′ and plays like he is 6′9″ was fun to watch even if he gashed my Dawgs. To paraphrase Arnold “We’ll be back!”

Lipstick on the Stegosaurus

January 25th, 2011
10:13 pm

Tim You been drinking some Kool Aid havent you?

UGA1

January 25th, 2011
10:15 pm

Love Leslie, but Parsons took him to school in 2nd OT. Could not cover him at all.

Herschell??

January 25th, 2011
10:15 pm

Great entertainment nutlickers. Watching all those “Don’t Have A CLUE ABOUT BASKETBALL” fans at the end of the first overtime and all the empty seats at the end of the second!!! Just like in football WHO’S YOUR DADDY!!!

AtlGator

January 25th, 2011
10:16 pm

Just. Like. Football.

Gem`

January 25th, 2011
10:16 pm

Word around Gainesville…………Dogs have super offense, but defense is not impressive.

Gator Fan

January 25th, 2011
10:16 pm

JUST LIKE FOOTBALL….JUST LIKE FOOTBALL

ANOTHER OVERTIME WIN FOR THE GATORS OVER THE DOGGIES.

UF OWNS UGA

IlliniDawg

January 25th, 2011
10:17 pm

(Amazing athleticism + skillful shooting) – (game-situation intelligence + discipline) = the NBA

Which is where half of this team will be next year. They’ll fit right in!

Too bad, because with more mental toughness and better decision-making and diligence at the free-throw-line, this could be a very special team.

Junkyard Dawg

January 25th, 2011
10:17 pm

I must say I hate that UGA lost. On the other hand, I believe Georgia has a very good basketball team. Fox still has plenty of time to gel things out before the tournament. Maybe if UGA can continue to do better they will make a deep tournament run. If UGA would’ve fouled Walker then they would have won. Basically, one mistake cost them the game. I think they’ll have a chip on their shoulder when they play the rematch in Gainesville.

5150 P.O.A.D.

January 25th, 2011
10:18 pm

It was a hell of a come back for the Gators. I thought the Dawgs had them until no Foul on the 3 at the end. Foul and I don’t think the kid can make the shot of all the free throws.

Rabun Dawg

January 25th, 2011
10:18 pm

You have to foul the kid in the last few seconds. If he hits the 1st free throw, he will “clunk” the 2nd on purpose and the chance the Gators get it back in are slim and none. Dogs went to sleep on defense on that play! Give UF credit, they had control most of the game, and Dogs did not play well 2nd half. This team cannot afford to lose any more at home as it is tough to win on the road. Does not look good going up to UK, then have UT soon after that. Maybe NIT this year unless they pick it up. And how many times does Barnes either come up short on shots close in, or fumble it away in the paint. This guy is proving to be a real liability, see last shot against UT recently.

CrackDaddy

January 25th, 2011
10:19 pm

Fl plays more like an ACC team – intelligently.

Sandman053

January 25th, 2011
10:20 pm

Yeah we had some real trouble holding onto the ball tonight. At times we looked great and at times we looked like a pick-up team on a schoolyard

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Chris S

January 25th, 2011
10:21 pm

It’s still the preseason. As long as Georgia makes the tournament, which is pretty likely, who really cares how many games they win or lose the rest of the way?

College basketball begins in March.

IlliniDawg

January 25th, 2011
10:22 pm

@Sandman: yup, and that’s called the NBA.

Sandman053

January 25th, 2011
10:23 pm

Chris you’re right but I’m just tired of losing to Florida in anything. Actually lately it has been almost everything.