ATHENS — The smallest man on the floor came up big for Georgia on Friday night.
Freshman Sahvir Wheeler, a 5-foot-9 point guard, lifted the Bulldogs to an 87-85 double-overtime victory over SMU at Stegeman Coliseum.
Wheeler dribbled the clock down to six seconds before slicing to the basket and laying in the winning points off the glass with 1.9 seconds left.
“You’ve got to love the situation,” Wheeler said. “You don’t necessarily want to be in those situations, but you love having the chance to win the game.”
UGA coach Tom Crean had a play in mind for the situation.
“We had a play call we were saving, a double-high pick and roll,” Crean said. “We wanted Sahvir to create, and Sahvir is one of the best layup makers I’ve ever been around …. Sahvir made a great read.”
Rayshaun Hammonds led Georgia (7-3) with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Isiaha Mike had 25 points and 12 rebounds for SMU (8-2).
Anthony Edwards (16 points) pulled down a rebound with 20 seconds left in the second overtime after SMU’s Tyson Jolly misfired on a 3-pointer and brought the ball downcourt, calling timeout with 14.1 left at Crean’s request.
Edwards inbounded to Hammonds, who dished to Wheeler to set up the final sequence.
Wheeler, who had 9 points and 8 assists, forced the second overtime minutes earlier with a drive to the basket for the tying bucket, 77-77, with 3.7 seconds left.
Georgia had trailed throughout the first OT, SMU leading 77-72 with 37 seconds left.
Tyree Crump (12 points) hit a 3-point shot with 24.1 seconds left to cut the lead to 77-75.
SMU’s Jolly proceeded to miss the front end of a one-and-one free-throw situation with 15.8 seconds left, opening the door for Wheeler’s game-tying play in the first overtime.
Edwards made sure the game didn’t end in regulation with a huge defensive stop.
Edwards blocked Jolly’s shot attempt in the final seconds with the score knotted at 68-68.
Georgia trailed 28-25 at the half, but it could have been much worse.
SMU was just 1-of-14 shooting beyond the 3-point arc in the opening half, and the Bulldogs weren’t much better, 3 of 13 in the first half.
Harris threw down a dunk off a Hammonds’ miss just before the buzzer to narrow the gap.
Edwards was just 1-of-5 shooting and had three turnovers through the first 20 minutes, picking up his second foul at the 14:49 mark.
Georgia went on a 7-0 run at the 13:04 mark of the second half reclaiming the lead.
Crump and Harris drained back-to-back threes, and then a Donnell Greshman putback gave the Bulldogs a 45-44 advantage, their first lead since the 4:21 mark of the first half.
The teams traded the lead seven times down the stretch, Georgia leading by as many as 5, before finishing tied at the end of regulation.
The Bulldogs return to action at 7 p.m. on Monday at Stegeman Coliseum against Georgia Southern.
Sahvir Wheeler and Rayshaun Hammonds
Georgia basketball boxscore