The Dawgs beat the buzzer and Kentucky 🚨 pic.twitter.com/NhDaWEOvAf
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 21, 2021
ATHENS — P.J. Horne scored off an inbounds pass from Sahvir Wheeler with 1.3 seconds left to lift Georgia to a 63-62 win over Kentucky on Wednesday night.
“It feels great, it feels amazing to beat a team like Kentucky,” Horne, a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, said. “We came to battle.
“It’s a great experience to hit a game-winner. It’s my first in college basketball.”
UGA’s first win over Kentucky since 2013 broke what was a 14-game losing streak in the series and led to the sort of celebratory dogpile typically reserved for March Madness.
“We believed we were going to win,” Crean said. “I’m proud of the way they locked in and executed at the end.”
Brandon Boston scored 18 to lead UK, which saw its last-gasp desperation three-quarters court shot from Keion Brooks (12 points) fall short at the buzzer.
The Bulldogs (9-4, 2-4 SEC) trailed by six points with two minutes left against the Wildcats (4-9, 3-3) at Stegeman Coliseum, but Georgia maintained its poise to win its second straight league game.
Freshman KD Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 1:49 left to cut Kentucky’s lead in half at 62-59.
Moments later, Wheeler dished to Andrew Garcia under the basket for a layup to pull Georgia to within 62-61 with 33 seconds remaining.
Wheeler put Kentucky freshman guard Devin Askew at the line the next trip down.
Askew, the top free-throw shooter on the UK team at 82 percent, missed the front end of the one-and-one free-throw situation with 23.5 seconds left, setting up UGA’s final possession.
Wheeler drove the lane in the final seconds, but his shot was rejected out of bounds by Isaiah Jackson, Kentucky’s sixth blocked shot of the night.
Coach Tom Crean called for a 30-second timeout with 3.5 seconds remaining.
“When we took that timeout, Coach Crean told everyone to stop everything and take three breaths,” Garcia said. “We took those three breaths and got back to fighting.”
Wheeler’s first attempt to inbound the ball went awry and he was forced to call another timeout, leading Crean to draw up another play in the huddle.
The second time was the charm. The Bulldogs lined up in a straight-line formation, and Wheeler found Horne cutting to the basket.
Horne, a 6-foot-6 post who spent most of the game on the perimeter hunting his 3-point shot, took care of the rest, laying the ball in after initially bobbling the pass.
Garcia, a graduate transfer from Stony Brook, led Georgia with 16 points and 6 rebounds.
Wheeler had 10 points and 7 assists, Johnson had 10 points, and Justin Kier scored 7 points and had 5 of the Bulldogs’ 10 steals.
Georgia held a 30-27 advantage at halftime after leading by as many as nine points.
Johnson knocked down a 3-pointer at the 5:37 mark to cap a 10-0 run and make it 26-17.
John Calipari called a timeout, and his team responded with an 8-0 run to get back within one at 26-25.
Wheeler, however, kept UK at bay heading into intermission with two driving baskets as UGA held the edge heading into intermission.
The Bulldogs return to action at 2 p.m against Florida in Athens.
The Gators (7-4, 4-3) are coming off a 75-49 home win over No. 6 Tennessee on Tuesday night.