Dawgs lose season finale

ATHENS – Georgia was playing for two seniors and the memory of a third. It was playing for its embattled head coach.

And, still, it wasn't enough. The Bulldogs lost their final home game of the season 76-62 to Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon in Stegeman Coliseum.

"Obviously, I don't feel good about things right now, but I think looking back on the whole thing, it'll be positive," center Dave Bliss said.

It was the final home game for Bliss and point guard Sundiata Gaines, who left the court together for the final time with 31 seconds remaining.

It may also be the final time head coach Dennis Felton walks out of a Stegeman Coliseum as a Bulldog.

The loss locks Georgia (13-16, 4-12 SEC) into last place in the SEC East, meaning it will play at 9:45 p.m. Thursday in the Georgia Dome in the first round of the conference tournament.

The opponent will look familiar. It will be these same Rebels, the third-place finisher in the Western Division, who won their first SEC road game of the season and improved to 21-9 overall and 7-9 in the league.

The loss followed a familiar pattern for the Bulldogs, who competed for 30 minutes and then collapsed.

The game's first 29 minutes featured six ties and 12 lead changes, and Georgia still was within one, at 53-52, following a Jeremy Price basket with 8:30 remaining, but Ole Miss went on a 14-2 run from there.

"Towards the end, it just falls apart every time," junior Terrance Woodbury said. "I don't know what it is, but it's something."

Woodbury led Georgia with 18 points. In their final regular season games, Gaines had 13 points and Bliss had eight. Gaines, Georgia's leading scorer, missed 16 of his 21 shots, but he left the court on a positive note. As the Bulldogs prepared to substitute for their seniors, official Doug Sirmons whispered into Gaines' ear.

"He said I'm definitely the best guard in the league, and he said whatever happens in my career, he wished me the best of luck," Gaines said. "After tonight's game, it's definitely always good to hear encouraging words."

Bliss wore No. 3 instead of his normal No. 44 to honor former Georgia player Kevin Brophy, who was killed in an automobile accident two years ago. Brophy would have celebrated his senior day Saturday, and the team honored him with a framed jersey like the ones received by Gaines and Bliss before the game.

"It's something he would have shared in with myself and Yata," Bliss said. "We want to take a chance every time we can to remember that. He's a big part of why I'm where I'm at."

Ole Miss had four players in double figures and all but one was a post player. Guard Chris Warren and center Dwayne Curtis led the way with 15 each.


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