Newman Plays Hero For A Night

FAYETTEVILLE — "It's a good thing we were out of timeouts at the end," Georgia basketball coach Dennis Felton joked after his team's 67-64 win over Arkansas. "Because no one ran the right play."

Steve Newman, a 6-foot-9 redheaded senior, rose above coaching (and Steven Hill) and drained his third 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the game.

"That's the first time I've ever hit a game-winning shot at the buzzer," Newman said. "This ranks right at the top for thrills."

Newman entered the game as Georgia's second best 3-point shooter with a .462 percentage on 12 of 26, and was even better in Southeastern Conference play with 4 of 6. Now he's 15 of 29 overall and 7 of 9 in the league.

"We put Steve in with two seconds left so we could execute a play," Felton said. "But we had such a nontraditional lineup that we had the wrong people running it."

Arkansas guard Gary Ervin's defense on Bulldogs guard Sundiata Gaines was so tight that in-bounds man Mike Mercer had to improvise. He found Newman, who described his high-arching game-winner as a 26-footer.

"I was supposed to set a screen and then get the ball back from the guy I set a screen for," Newman said. "But Sundiata was running around back there by midcourt, so I just shot the ball."

Gaines did make one clutch play down the stretch, however, deflecting the ball away from Ervin and toward teammate Takias Brown when Arkansas was trying to hold for the final shot with the score tied at 64.

Next came a series of timeouts or stoppages.

"With 7.4 seconds left I put four good shooters in there and we were going to spot them up off Sundiata's creation," Felton said. "But then there was another timeout, so we set up just a box and we were going to have Mercer streak toward the rim."

Hogs coach Stan Heath foiled that by having Arkansas take its sixth team foul of the half to stop Gaines' penetration with :02 left.

"I put Steve in and told him to call our set side out-of-bounds play, but nobody ran it," Felton said.

The rest is history.

Heath said, "I thought the turning point was Newman's first 3-pointer. His confidence went way up after that. Then down the stretch we didn't execute."

Newman bubbled, "I can't believe we're 3-1 in the SEC and last year we only won five league games."

Felton couldn't believe the win was just Georgia's second ever in Fayetteville.

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