Tennessee was so beaten that coach Rick Barnes was shaking hands with Georgia coach Mark Fox with 10 seconds left on the clock, and the Vols were walking dejectedly back to the bench before the final buzzer sounded.
Never good when the losing team is walking off the floor before the final buzzer … pic.twitter.com/7jlsjtMCyY
— Mike Griffith (@MikeGriffith32) February 18, 2018
Tennessee lost to Georgia for a fifth consecutive time, the Bulldogs controlling the pace and the paint in scoring a 73-62 victory before a sellout crowd of 10,028 on Saturday afternoon at Stegeman Coliseum.
The No. 18-ranked Vols (19-7, 9-5 SEC) trailed throughout most of the game to Georgia (15-11, 6-8) and failed to score any fast-break points.
Lamonte Turner led Tennessee with 14 points, Jordan Bowden had 13 points and Kyle Alexander recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Bulldogs 6-foot-8 star Yante Maten showed why he’s the SEC’s leading scorer, going for 19 points and 5 rebounds, the Vols unable to handle him inside even when throwing double-teams his way.
The Vols’ key possession came after they had cut the lead to 51-49 and missed 3 consecutive 3-point shots that would have put them ahead.
Georgia’s Derek Ogbeide (6-8) scored on a conventional 3-point play on the other end, and the Bulldogs pulled away for the win.
The loss cost Tennessee a chance to pick up a game on first-place Auburn in the SEC standings, as the Tigers were upset at South Carolina.
The bigger Bulldogs had their way with Tennessee inside. Georgia outscored the Vols 28-20 in the paint, outrebounded them 40-33 and had 19 second-chance points to Tennessee’s 8. The Vols shot 34.9 percent from the floor, unable to get anything going close to the basket. Georgia’s inside presence led to a big advantage at the free-throw line, the Bulldogs hitting 27 of 38 free throws, while Tennessee was 10 of 15 from the line.
Grant Williams’ tough game
Grant Williams scored a season-low 5 points. Williams connected on 1 of 8 shots from the floor, 3 of 6 from the free-throw line and grabbed 5 rebounds before fouling out with 1:42 left. Williams picked up his fourth foul with 11:21 left and Tennessee down 45-37. Uncharacteristically, Williams was the worst Vols player in the plus-minus category, his team outscored by 15 with him on the floor.
First half close
The Vols closed the half strong, outscoring the Bulldogs 14-7 during the final 4:46 when Turner and Bowden hit back-to-back 3-pointers to ignite the burst. Alexander’s last-second putback closed it, giving Tennessee some momentum. Georgia led by as many as 9 points, 21-12, after a pair of Nicolas Claxton free throws at the 4:54 mark.