By Parrish Alford
ATHENS, Ga. – The irony is that for more than 20 minutes Dwight Coleby had committed only one foul, the best best ratio of the year for the Ole Miss freshman.
But Georgia guard Charles Mann had proven numerous times already that he knew how to get to the free throw line, and when he got Coleby off his feet, there stood Mann again, this time with 1.5 seconds left and with two chances to make one shot to give the Bulldogs a win.
Mann missed the first but swished the second, and Georgia won 61-60 Saturday before a Stegeman Coliseum crowd of 10,523 that was able to breathe a sigh of relief that the Bulldogs had overcome Marshall Henderson.
“I thought he was (at first) going to drive. Then I thought he was going to shoot it. I jumped up. I tried to move, but it was too late,” Coleby said.
Georgia had a plus-15 rebounding advantage and 20 second-chance points.
The 6-foot-9 Coleby, making his first start, had six rebounds, as did Ole Miss junior Aaron Jones.
Georgia had four players with at least seven rebounds.
It wasn’t only about rebounding. Ole Miss held Georgia to 32.7 percent shooting but shot just 32.2 percent itself, repeatedly missing looks right at the rim. Kennedy called it a matter of toughness.
“It’s a broken record,” Kennedy said. “All we can do is get in the gym and continue to give them game-like reps. Hopefully one day they’ll make them, or one day they’ll make them for somebody else.”
The Bulldogs also had Kenny Gaines, whose 5-for-8 3-point shooting performance erased Henderson’s impact.
Because of early foul trouble Gaines played only seven minutes in the first half when Ole Miss led by as many as 11 points and ultimately by five at the break.
Henderson was 4-for-6 from the arc then and finished 5-for-11 from there for a game-high 24 points.
He played off the bench, ending a streak of 14 starts.
Kennedy said it was because he wanted to change Henderson’s “mojo” in road games.
Among Georgia’s (14-10, 8-4 SEC) second-shot opportunities was Gaines’ final 3, a shot from the left wing after the Rebels (16-9, 7-5) failed to corral an errant 3-pointer from Bulldogs’ forward Nemanja Djurisic.
Gaines knocked it down with 46.2 seconds left to put the Bulldogs ahead 60-57. He then smothered Henderson on the other end, but Henderson got the ball to Jarvis Summers, who scored in the lane and converted a free throw to tie things at 60.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, the shot clock was off, and Mann did what he does best.
He ended up paired against Coleby after Coleby switched to him off a ball screen.
“Just inexperience. A shot fake, a veteran player leaned in and made it happen,” Kennedy said.