February 25, 2009

Big 3 for McPhee

Three times coming out of timeouts, Georgia set three beautiful screens for guard Ricky McPhee.

He passed up a shot each time.

Thankfully, the fourth screen he received McPhee pulled the trigger, draining a 3-pointer from just to the right of the key late in the second half to give the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish en route to a 61-57 win over visiting Vanderbilt Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

"We set him up three times out of timeouts and he came clean each time but did not shoot," interim coach Pete Herrmann said. "I was like 'Hey, Ricky, what are we going to do here?'"

McPhee laughed that he knew better than to pass up any open looks after that. So when point guard Dustin Ware whizzed a beautiful cross-court pass to the wide-open McPhee, the former Parkview star drilled shot with 2:22 left, followed by a fist pump that brought the crowd of 5,841 to its feet.

"It was a double stagger when the wing goes down under the basket then comes off the top of the key," said McPhee, who finished with a team-high 14 points. "The guy that was guarding me didn't show so I was able to knock down the shot."

The Bulldogs, who moments before saw Vanderbilt grab a one-point edge, would not trail again. The Commodores did get within 57-56 but Georgia (11-17, 2-11) outscored Vanderbilt 4-1 over the final 40 seconds to seal the victory and avenge a 50-40 loss in Nashville back on Jan. 14.

Georgia also accomplished its second goal, stopping Vanderbilt's A.J. Ogilvy.

In the earlier meeting, Ogilvy led the Commodores (16-11, 5-8) with 18 points, going 6-of-9 from both the field and the free throw line.

Wednesday, Ogilvy just scored 8 on just 3-of-7 shooting from the field.

"Vanderbilt only scored 50 but he had 18 of those 50," Herrmann said. "We came out wanting to put a lot of pressure on all of their players in man. We wanted to make sure we picked up the aggressiveness, push the ball early and make Ogilvy have to guard in all kind of situations. If we could make him guard, we were going to wear him down."

Georgia led by as many as 14 points at 45-31 with 14:31 in the second half before the Commodores whittled the margin down to one until George Drake's jumper put Vandy up 54-53 with 4:28 to play.

"It was close and we had a shot," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "We just weren't where we wanted to be. You have to give credit to Georgia. They played with a purpose and that was the story tonight."

Corey Butler and Ware chipped in with 10 points each for the Bulldogs, who also received a solid game fromChris Barnes, who scored nine points and had three rebounds.

Their respective efforts helped offset a disappointing shooting night from Terrance Woodbury and Trey Thompkins who went a combined 6-for-24 from the field and combined for just 14 points. Thompkins did lead the Bulldogs with eight rebounds.

Georgia returns to action Saturday at Arkansas before traveling to Kentucky next Wednesday. The Bulldogs play their final home game March 7 against South Carolina.

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