NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was yet another Georgia basketball game that came down to the final moment. This time, however, J.J. Frazier didn’t have his best game.
But he’ll have at least one more.
Georgia held on to beat Tennessee, 59-57, in the SEC tournament on Thursday, as the Bulldogs survived an ugly game, and their NCAA tournament hopes survived with them.
After Georgia’s Mike Edwards missed two free throws – one long, one short – with 22.9 seconds left, Tennessee held for the last shot. Georgia played strong defense, leading to a missed 3 by Admiral Schofield, then a last-second heave being knocked away by Turtle Jackson. It’s not clear whether the shot would have counted anyway.
– Player of the game: Frazier struggled mightily from the field, going 4-for-13. But he was perfect from the free throw line, going 8-for-8, benefitting from his ability to drive and draw fouls. He led Georgia with 17 points and 10 rebounds, despite being the smallest player on the court.
– Stat line of the game: Yante Maten played 26 minutes and was Georgia’s second-leading scorer (12 points) and rebounder (five points). The junior power forward was playing for the first time since spraining his knee on Feb. 18, and while he didn’t start, he played extensively.
– Turning point: In a game that featured 12 lead changes, the final one came aftere Tennessee had taken a 48-47 lead. Frazier hit two free throws to ignite a mini-run, then Juwan Parker’s midcourt steal and dunk made it 55-52. Georgia would hold on from there, with Frazier making two key free throws to again make it a two-point game with 1:36 left.
– What’s next: Georgia (19-13) plays top-seeded Kentucky on Friday at 1 p.m. The Bulldogs likely need to pull off the upset in order to keep their NCAA hopes alive.