Dawgs bite Vols, 57-53

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Georgia and Tennessee produced 40 minutes of the ugliest basketball imaginable Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., then forced fans to endure five minutes more.

The Bulldogs outscored the Vols 11-7 in overtime to hand Tennessee a 57-53 loss in a game that may have set back offensive basketball five years.

The Big Orange, now 8-10 overall and 1-3 in SEC play, shot a mere 40 percent (22 of 55) from the field, a paltry 13.3 percent (2 of 15) from 3-point range and just 50 percent (7 of 14) from the foul line. Worse, the Vols committed a whopping 20 turnovers against just 6 assists.

Georgia, now 10-8 and 1-3, shot a chilly 34.9 percent (22 of 63) overall and a putrid 10.5 percent (2 of 19) from 3 with 16 turnovers.

Ultimately, Georgia played horribly on offense but Tennessee was even worse.

"The 20 turnovers ... that was the ball game," head coach Cuonzo Martin said on the post-game show. "You have to give yourself a chance to win the game, and 20 turnovers was just unfortunate."

Vol starters Cameron Tatum and Jeronne Maymon were guilty of five turnovers each.

Having made ball security a strong emphasis in practice, Martin was at a loss to explain Tennessee's sloppy ball-handling on Wednesday night.

"Like I told the guys: I don't have a lot of answers when a team is not pressuring you on the perimeter," the Vol coach said. "We turned the ball over 20 times, and that's just unacceptable."

Starting point guard Trae Golden, hampered by a sore ankle, produced just 1 assist against 3 turnovers. Martin declined to use the injury as an excuse, however.

"I don't think it was a problem," the coach said. "(He had) 16 points, was still able to drive it to the rim, and I thought he was solid defensively."

Just about the only bright spot for Tennessee was mid-term freshman Jarnell Stokes. Playing only his second college game, the 6-foot-8, 270-pounder scored nine of 12 Vol points during a second-half surge that could have proved decisive.

Stokes opened the rally with a steal and drive, then tacked on a free throw to complete a three-point play that turned a 32-35 deficit into a 35-all tie with 8:25 left. He added a reverse layup that produced a 37-35 lead with 7:43 left. Following a technical free throw by Golden, Stokes slammed home a dunk as the Vols built their biggest lead at 40-35 with 5:59 remaining.

Georgia pulled even at 40-all, then Golden hit a 10-footer. Dustin Ware tied the score at 42 with a drive for Georgia but Stokes scored inside to give Tennessee a 44-42 lead with 1:35 remaining.

The Vols couldn't hang on, however. Nashville native Gerald Robinson sandwiched two Bulldog buckets around a 7-footer by Golden to produce a 46-46 deadlock with 18.3 seconds left.

Tennessee called timeout and set up a shot for Golden but his 10-footer rattled out, sending the game to overtime.

Tennessee took leads of 48-46 and 50-48 in the extra period, then fell behind 52-50. Skylar McBee hit a 3-pointer to put the Vols on top 53-52 with 2:11 remaining but Tennessee would not score again.

Donte Williams was fouled on a layup that gave Georgia a 54-53 lead with 1:03 left. He missed the free throw but the Dawgs rebounded, ran some clock, missed another shot, then got another offensive rebound.

Robinson hit a pair of free throws to put Georgia up 56-53 with 26.4 seconds left. After Golden missed a driving four-footer, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope split a pair of free throws with 12.5 seconds left to widen the gap to 57-53 and seal the deal.

Golden finished with 16 points. Maymon added 12 and Stokes 11 for Tennessee, which slips to 0-5 on the road this season.

Robinson scored 16 points, Williams and Nemanja Djurisic 11 apiece for Georgia, which improves to 10-8 overall and 1-3 in SEC play.

Tennessee returns to action Saturday, hosting No. 11 UConn for a 4 p.m. tipoff.

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