Oliver Purnell must like Dennis Felton, too, considering the gift his team gave Georgia in the second game of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Classic in Philips Arena. Despite less-than-crisp play most of the afternoon, the Bulldogs beat Clemson 61-56 in front of an announced crowd of 11,018.
"It was a grind it out game, and we grinded it out a little
Felton said. "That's what we have to do."
Still, the game did little to change the perception of the programs as
teams that will finish at the bottom of the SEC and ACC. Under different
circumstances, it might have been a thriller. There were 12 ties, 11
lead changes and neither team led by more than six points.
Senior forward Chris Daniels finally secured the win by putting back
his own miss to put the Bulldogs ahead 59-54 with 37 seconds remaining.
Georgia improved to 5-2. Clemson fell to 3-3. The Bulldogs return to
action Thursday at home against South Alabama.
"We played hard," point guard Rashad Wright said. "We knew
were doing. It was a good game to get, especially after a tough loss
last week (to Winthrop). We had to get this victory to get back on the
Senior Damien Wilkins led the Bulldogs with 13 points but hit just 4
of 12 shots. Chris Daniels had his fourth double-double of the season
with 10 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.
But the highlight for Georgia was freshman Steve Newman, who had a
career-high 12 points on 4 of 6 shooting. Newman had nine points in the
first half but took only two shots in the second half, one on an
offensive rebound and another on a desperation heave as the shot clock
"As long as we score, it doesn't matter who scores," he said.
do, that's fine. If somebody else does, that's even better."
The Tigers had 19 turnovers, shot 29.2 percent in the second half and
hit only 11 of 22 free throws. They were led by Chey Christie's 24
points. The Tigers' last lead came with 8:08 left in the game.
Clemson led 31-29 at halftime despite 13 turnovers and missing 9 of 11
"We just put too much pressure on our defense," Purnell said.
The Tigers played mostly zone after watching Georgia struggle against
that defense against Winthrop.
"The finally started hitting some shots in the second half,"
The fact that the game wasn't pretty didn't bother Felton at all. In
fact, he said, he enjoyed it.
"We made another step forward," he said. "Nothing was easy
game, and, as a coach, I always feel good to win a game where it wasn't
NOTES: In an eight-possession span in the second half, Georgia was
called for five offensive fouls. ... Former Georgia assistant coach
James Holland scouted Saturday's games for the Washington Wizards.
Holland lost his job earlier this year when Jim Harrick resigned.
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