Georgia 68, Vanderbilt 59
ATHENS, Ga. (AP)—Starting in place of injured Levi Stukes, Georgia’s leading scorer, walk-on freshman Kevin Brophy scored a career-high 19 points to lead Georgia to its first Southeastern Conference victory Saturday, 68-59 over Vanderbilt.
Stukes, averaging 16.3 points a game, watched from the bench in a suit, sidelined with a sprained ankle, a practice injury. Brophy hit four 3-pointers in the game and three free throws in the last 25 seconds to ice the game for Georgia (7-8, 1-4 SEC).
Corey Smith led Vanderbilt (11-6, 2-3), which hit only two of 15 3-point attempts. The Commodores came into the game leading the SEC with 10.6 3-pointers per game at a 42.3 percent success rate, the same as Georgia’s overall field-goal percentage.
Channing Toney added 16 points and Sundiata Gaines 13 for Georgia, which had at least one walk-on player on the floor the whole game. The Bulldogs dressed out only five scholarship players for the game.
The score was tied for the last time at 50-50 when Vanderbilt’s Shan Foster hit a pair of free throws with 5:32 to play. But the Bulldogs scored 10 straight points, ignited by an NBA-range 3-pointer by Brophy, who came to Georgia from Melbourne, Australia via Memorial Day School in Savannah, Ga. Steve Newman ended the run by hitting another trey to beat the shot clock at 2:40.
Vanderbilt’s last field goal came with 1:57 to go when Smith went back door to make it 60-55. But Gaines was fouled attempting a trey, also barely beating the shot clock, and hit two of three at the line. Foster matched that with two free throws for the Commodores with 1:19 to play, closing the gap to 62-57.
But another trey by Brophy with 50.4 seconds to play put the Bulldogs ahead 65-57. Both teams struggled from the line down the stretch before Brophy hit a couple of clinchers with 3.2 seconds to play to account for the final score.
Georgia controlled the tempo, keeping a slow pace in the first half. Midway through the half, the Commodores took a 17-11 lead when Mario Moore completed a 3-point play. Neither team would score for nearly four minutes. Another 3-point play by Moore off a steal boosted the Commodores to a 24-17 lead with 3:20 to play in the half.
Brophy hit a 3-pointer and two free throws near the end of the half as Georgia closed to within 26-24 at intermission.
Georgia took its first lead of the second half when Brophy converted a layup off a steal with 13:24 to play. Vanderbilt’s last lead of the game came when Smith hit a 3 from the left corner with 12:27 to go, making it 39-38, setting up Georgia’s big finish.