0

COLLEGE HOOPS ROUNDUP: Ga. Tech stunned at buzzer by Maryland; UGA tops Alabama at home; Auburn surprises Arkansas

Photo by Gail Burton

Photo by Gail Burton

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland trailed Georgia Tech by one point with 1.5 seconds left when coach Gary Williams called for a play that is a staple of every practice.

The ball ended up in the hands of Cliff Tucker. Problem is, the backup guard had never before taken that shot.

Tucker buried a 3-pointer as time expired, and Maryland pulled out a 76-74 victory Saturday to remain unbeaten at home in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

After Derrick Favors gave Georgia Tech the lead with a follow-up basket with 3 seconds left, Maryland got the ball to midcourt before calling a timeout. The Terrapins got the ball to Tucker, whose shot from the left corner found the bottom of the net, setting off a celebration at the sold out Comcast Center.

"Coach just drew the play and we went out there and ran it," Tucker said.

Asked if he ever took that shot in practice, Tucker replied, "I've never been that guy. In fact, I'm usually on the (backup) team going against the starters."

Williams said, "You need some breaks at times during the year. We got one there. We played well enough to be in a position to get that break."

The wild finish overshadowed a milestone performance by Maryland senior Greivis Vasquez, who scored 18 to become the sixth player in school history to reach the 2,000-point mark.

"Praise Cliff. He made that big shot for us," Vasquez said. "This is nothing about me. My team did a great job staying tough, being positive."

Vasquez is the first ACC player to have at least 2,000 points, 700 assists and 600 rebounds. He now has 2,013 points to trail only Juan Dixon, Len Bias, Albert King, Adrian Branch and John Lucas on Maryland's career list.

Eric Hayes scored 15 for Maryland and Jordan Williams had nine points and 12 rebounds. The victory gave the Terrapins (19-7, 9-3) sole possession of second place in the ACC.

Favors had 21 points and 18 rebounds, both season highs, and Iman Shumpert scored 17 for the Yellow Jackets (18-9, 6-7). Georgia Tech is 1-6 on the road in the ACC and has lost nine straight to Maryland since February 2004.

Tucker's shot ruined an otherwise outstanding performance by the Yellow Jackets.

"I was in shock. I couldn't believe it," Favors said.

"We probably played our best game of the season," coach Paul Hewitt said. "What are you going to say? The kid made a miraculous shot."

After watching his team struggle on the road for much of the season, Hewitt was encouraged by Tech's performance in defeat.

"We did everything you're supposed to do against a team that's better than anybody in our league with the exception of Duke," he said. "I think we're on the verge of something big."

Maryland improved to 12-1 at home, including 6-0 in the conference.

Hayes hit a 3-pointer with 1:19 left to give Maryland a 71-68 lead. After Favors made a layup, Dino Gregory botched a layup for the Terrapins. Favors pulled down his 17th rebound for the Yellow Jackets, who took a timeout to set up a play.

D'Andre Bell scored on a drive with 24.5 seconds remaining and Vasquez followed with a shot in the lane before Favors scored, setting up Tucker's game-winner.

After trailing 41-35 early in the second half, Georgia Tech took its first lead since 22-20 when Shumpert sank two free throws with 6:12 remaining to make it 62-60. After a miss by Maryland's Landon Milbourne, Shumpert missed on the other end.

But teammate Glen Rice Jr. got the rebound, causing Gary Williams to peel off his suit jacket and throw it on the floor in disgust. D'Andre Bell then drilled a 3-pointer for a 65-60 lead.

Maryland got three points apiece from Jordan Williams and Tucker to even the score.

Favors had 11 points and eight rebounds in the first half, but Maryland used a late run to go up 34-32 at the break.

Vasquez scored on Maryland's first possession, then reached the 2,000-point mark with a 3-pointer with 14:55 left in the half. He added two free throws to make it 9-4, but Shumpert scored twice from beyond the arc during a 7-0 run that put Georgia Tech in front.

------------------------------

GEORGIA HANDLES ALABAMA:

ATHENS -- Trey Thompkins is showing the kind of leadership first-year Georgia coach Mark Fox needs from his leading scorer.

"We have talked with a lot our younger guys about the fact that they've played so many minutes and that they have to start playing like upperclassmen," Fox said. "Tonight Trey finished the game like an upperclassman."

Thompkins had 21 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to help Georgia overcome a 13-point second-half deficit and beat Alabama 76-70 on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (12-13, 4-8 Southeastern Conference) won their third straight at home to improve to 11-3 this season at Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia snapped an 11-game losing streak to SEC Western Division opponents.

Alabama (14-12, 4-8) has lost five of six, but the Crimson Tide took their biggest lead when Mikhail Torrance's two free throws made it 52-39 with 11:39 remaining.

Since beating Georgia last year in Tuscaloosa, the Tide has lost five straight and six of eight to the SEC East.

"We didn't have the toughness to finish," senior Mikhail Torrance said. "Coach (Anthony Grant) had a great game plan, as usual, and we were up and then we just stopped making plays."

The Bulldogs took their first lead in nearly 13 minutes when Thompkins banked in a 14-footer to make it 61-60 with 4:12 remaining. Less than two minutes later, Thompkins' long jumper from the left wing ended a 3:28 run during which he outscored Alabama 9-1 and pulled down four rebounds.

"My teammates needed me to rebound and score tonight in the heat of the battle, and that's just what I have to do," the sophomore forward said. "If my teammates want that, I give it to them."

Travis Leslie had 16 points, and Ricky McPhee added 13 for Georgia, which began the game leading the SEC with a 74.8 free-throw percentage but went just 13-for-24 from the foul line.

The Bulldogs regained some composure, however, by hitting 11 of their last 12.

"We were just missing free throws left and right, and we had to keep fighting," McPhee said. "It's frustrating that we get to the line and we're missing easy free throws, but I'm just happy with our performance."

Torrance led the Tide with 20 points. JaMychal Green finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Green's three-point play put Alabama ahead 33-32 with 17:50 remaining and gave the Tide their first lead since the 6:27 mark of the first half.

Georgia had 19 assists and outscored Alabama 36-26 in the paint. Alabama finished with a season-low eight assists.

"We have an inability to defend and rebound downt the stretch," Grant said. "It's a recurring thing. It cost us in this game just like it has in some other games this season. We need to control the things that we can control like blocking out and rebounding, the things that affect winning. When the game is on the line, it seems likme we just don't do it."

The Bulldogs' Dustin Ware was scoreless on three attempts from the field when his 3-pointer with 1:23 remaining pushed the lead to 68-63.

"Everybody stepped up when we had to get the job done," Leslie said. "We were making it hard on ourselves early in the second half, but things started to go our way because we didn't give up. Dustin didn't give up either. You're not going to hit every shot, but you don't quit just because you miss."

----------------

WALTERS LEADS AU PAST ARKANSAS:

AUBURN, Ala. -- Tay Waller and Auburn are seldom bashful about taking 3-pointers. When they're making them, the Tigers become far more formidable.

Waller scored a season-high 29 points and made seven 3s to lead Auburn to a 92-83 win over Arkansas on Saturday night.

He made 7 of 10 3s and hit four in the opening 7 minutes to ignite one of the Southeastern Conference's most prolific 3-point shooting teams.

"Seven-of-10 from three -- I'm not taking math this semester, but that's about 70 percent," Auburn's Lucas Hargrove said. "You can't beat that. You can't ask for more than that."

The Tigers (13-14, 4-8) shot 61 percent, made 11 of 19 3-pointers and put five players in double figures.

The Razorbacks (14-13, 7-5) dropped into a first-place tie with Mississippi State in the SEC West after making only one basket in the final 3 minutes.

Only Mississippi State attempts more 3s a game in the SEC than Auburn, but the Tigers came in 10th in percentage made. They were much more efficient this time.

"Every game we shoot the ball well, we always win," Waller said. "It feels good because I haven't had a game like this this year, yet. "

His jump shot from the free throw line with 2:45 left broke a 79-79 tie and started a 7-0 run.

Auburn made 13 of its last 18 shots and was 28-of-46 in the game. Frankie Sullivan hit four straight free throws in the final 34 seconds to seal the win.

"We just wanted to win this one so bad," Reed said.

It was the most points Auburn has scored in an SEC game during coach Jeff Lebo's six seasons.

DeWayne Reed added 17 points and Lucas Hargrove had 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Tigers.

Brendon Knox had 12 points and seven rebounds before fouling out in the final minute. Sullivan scored 11.

"We kept getting up and they kept coming back," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "Anybody that thinks that Auburn doesn't have a good basketball team, that's just foolishness."

Marshawn Powell led the Razorbacks with 23 points and seven rebounds. Courtney Fortson added 16 points and five assists but also had six turnovers. Rotnei Clarke also scored 16 and Delvon Johnson had all 10 of his points in the second half.

Arkansas has won six of its last eight games but is 0-for-2 in a one-week span in this state, including a loss last weekend at Alabama. The Razorbacks hit 50 percent (33-of-66) from the field but couldn't keep up with an Auburn team that was hot from outside.

Auburn also went 25-for-33 from the free throw line.

"The difference in the game is the 33 free throws they got," Pelphrey said.

The Razorbacks took their first lead since the opening minutes with a 15-3 run capped by Johnson's fast-break dunk to make it 63-58 with 9:22 left. Johnson made his first four baskets of the game at the end of that spurt.

Auburn rallied, but Marcus Britt's putback tied the game for Arkansas with 3 minutes left. The Razorbacks' next possessions resulted in three missed shots and a turnover.

Reed followed Waller's jumper with a drive to the basket and Knox dunked off a nice feed inside from Sullivan.

The Tigers led by as many as nine in the first half before taking a 42-36 edge into the locker room. Britt hit a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left to close the gap.

Waller had five 3s in the half and Auburn was 7-of-11 from beyond the arc, cooling off only slightly after that.

"He played 33 minutes, so that's a lot of minutes. It doesn't matter if I put him down or put him in the locker room," Lebo said. "He comes in, he's going to shoot it. He takes some teeth-clenchers that I have to chew on him a little bit. He was outstanding tonight making them from 3."