It was another gut-wrenching loss for what’s become a gritty Georgia basketball team Saturday against Ole Miss, a 72-71 defeat in Oxford, Miss.
The Bulldogs (10-17, 1-13 SEC) had a chance to win in the final seconds in a game that saw 10 lead changes, but Tyree Crump’s 3-point attempt as time expired was off the mark.
Georgia made 15 of 23 shots in the second half (65.2 percent), refusing to die on the road.
The Rebels (19-8, 9-5) held off a furious UGA rally after leading by as many as 13 points, protecting their NCAA Tournament resume.
» Ole Miss players kneel during anthem before Georgia game
Ole Miss led 69-62 with 2:53 left when Georgia made its final run, fueled by seven consecutive Jordan Harris points, including a pair of free throws with 1:36 left that tied the score.
Harris scored a career-high 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the floor and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line along with five assists.
The Rebels answered Harris’ run with a Devontae Shuler 3-pointer to go up 72-69, before a Nicolas Claxton jumper closed the gap to 72-71.
Ole Miss star Breein Tyree (17 points) missed the front end of a one-and-one situation at the free-throw line with 10.9 seconds left, and Georgia had the ball with a chance to win on the final possession.
Coach Tom Crean called for a timeout with just under six seconds left and designed the inbounds pass to go to Claxton, who in turn dished the ball out to Crump for the ill-fated shot attempt.
Rayshaun Hammonds led UGA with 16 points along with 5 rebounds, while Claxton scored 13 points but committed a career-high 8 turnovers.
Georgia trailed by 10 at halftime, but opened the second half on an 8-0 run, cutting the Ole Miss lead to 39-37.
The Rebels’ halftime lead came on the strength of a 13-0 run midway through the first half that made it 28-18.
The Rebels pressure created Georgia through the first 20 minutes, leading to 12 first-half UGA turnovers that sparked Ole Miss to 11 points in transition.
Georgia returns to action at 9 p.m. Wednesday at home against Auburn.