Texas A&M overcame a 13-point second-half deficit to defeat Georgia 63-62 on Saturday, but that’s not what left A&M fans buzzing and the Bulldogs howling at game’s end. Those came courtesy of one of the season’s odder endings.
The Bulldogs had the final possession trailing by one, but the clock inadvertently stopped with 5.6 seconds remaining. Georgia’s J.J. Frazier had the ball to the right of the top of the key and, under pressure, thought he had time to pass down low to Yante Maten.
Maten received the pass from Frazier, and officials whistled a foul on the Aggies when Maten attempted a layup. With the clock still stuck at 5.6 seconds and everyone in Reed Arena in suspense, officials used game video to count down Georgia’s final possession, and determined that time had run out before the foul was called on A&M.
Georgia coach Mark Fox kept his composure afterward but was obviously upset at the outcome.
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“Our kid [Frazier] looks up and thinks he has time to make a play, but he doesn’t,” Fox said. “I don’t know who stopped the clock; I’d like to know.”
Afterward A&M officials said a “belt-pack” worn by one of the officials — or perhaps the belt-pack transmitter on the scoring table — malfunctioned and inadvertently stopped the clock. A&M downloaded pertinent data from the “precision timing system” from the game’s final seconds and sent it to the SEC office for study, an A&M official said afterward.
The Aggies (10-8, 2-5 Southeastern) snapped a two-game losing streak, while the Bulldogs (12-7, 4-3) have lost two of their last three. Robert Williams led the Aggies with 18 points and D.J. Hogg followed with 16, while Maten led the Bulldogs with a game-high 19 points.
“I believe they made the right decision,” A&M coach Billy Kennedy said of the officials’ final call, adding that he also understood why Georgia would be upset by the outcome.
In the end, the Bulldogs shouldered plenty of blame for the Aggies even being in the position to win. Georgia led 56-43 midway through the second half before A&M began chipping away at the double-digit deficit, and four Bulldogs turnovers in the final 1:16 thanks primarily to an A&M full-court press helped seal Georgia’s fate.
“They didn’t handle the pressure very well,” Hogg said.
Georgia: The Bulldogs are considered a bubble team for the NCAA Tournament, so this one hurts, considering two of their next four games are on the road at Kentucky and South Carolina.
Texas A&M: The Aggies will take it any way they can, controversial or not. They go on the road for their next two games, so they needed this victory in the worst way after losing four of their first five SEC games.
STAT OF THE DAY
The Aggies only made a little more than half their free throw attempts (14 of 27 for 51.9 percent), but Tyler Davis and Robert Williams each sank two free throws in the final 1:11 to help pull off the comeback.
The Bulldogs led 62-53 with 1:44 remaining when the Aggies’ Robert Williams sank a layup, and then recorded a steal on Georgia’s next possession, leading to two Tyler Davis free throws in tightening the Bulldogs’ lead to 62-57 with 1:11 left.
HE SAID IT
“That’s what I love to do, use my wingspan as far as blocking shots and everything else. On (defending) inbound passes, it’s in my head that I’m going to get this, I’m going to tip this, do something.”
— A&M freshman Robert Williams on his monster wingspan coming in handy during the Aggies’ full-court press, as the harried Bulldogs adjusted their inbounds passes to account for Williams’ long reach.
Georgia: The Bulldogs will try and get back on track following their collapse at A&M when they return home to take on Alabama on Wednesday.
Texas A&M: The Aggies will try and make it two in a row for the first time in SEC action when they play at Mississippi on Wednesday.