Swansey leads Georgia to 60-56 upset of Kentucky in OT
ATLANTA (AP)—Zac Swansey scored five points in overtime, including an unlikely turnaround 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left, and Georgia upset Kentucky to 60-56 on Saturday to extend its surprising SEC tournament run.
The game was originally scheduled for late Friday night at the Georgia Dome. It was postponed after a tornado damaged the facility during Mississippi State’s overtime win over Alabama Friday night.
The Southeastern Conference tournament shifted to Alexander Memorial Coliseum on the campus of Georgia Tech—Georgia’s in-state rival. The game was played before an estimated crowd of 1,500, as only a limited number of friends, family and school officials will be allowed to attend the rest of the tournament schedule in the smaller facility.
Georgia (15-16) will play Mississippi State in Saturday night’s second semifinal.
Kentucky (18-12) is left with a nervous wait for Sunday’s NCAA tournament show.
Terrance Woodbury scored 17 points and Sundiata Gaines had 16 as Georgia took its first SEC tournament victory over Kentucky in nine tries.
Swansey, a freshmen who averages 4.2 points per game, was guarded by Ramon Harris as he drove the court before stopping, spinning and launching the 3-pointer in front of the Georgia bench, giving the Bulldogs a 57-56 lead.
Swansey, who did not score in regulation, had his chance after Gaines, a senior, fouled out with 1:33 left in regulation.
“It’s something I dream for,” Swansey said. “With Sundiata out of the game, it was an opportunity for me to come in the game and show what I could so. I told Sundiata I wasn’t going to let his career end like this.”
Ramel Bradley’s jumper with 8.8 seconds left in overtime bounced around the rim before finally falling to give Kentucky a 56-54 lead.
It was the third overtime of the tournament and the second for Georgia, which beat Mississippi 97-95 in overtime in its opener Thursday night.
Joe Crawford led the Wildcats with 24 points. Bradley added 12.
Bliss made two free throws with 59.4 seconds left for a 50-50 tie. Bradley had three misses on Kentucky’s final possession in regulation.
The SEC announced early Saturday morning attendance would be limited because Alexander Memorial’s capacity is only 9,191 and a crowd of 20,000 or more was expected for the semifinals at the Georgia Dome.
Approximately 1,000 Kentucky fans and about 100 Georgia fans were joined by each team’s pep band, cheerleaders and dance teams in the unusually intimate setting.
The tornado also caused damage to other hotels and buildings in downtown Atlanta. One Kentucky fan held a sign “Send car. Mine is crushed.”
Jessica Rogers of New Haven, Ky., said even though some fans found tickets, many others in Atlanta were frustrated by the events.
“You think a tornado is bad,” Rogers said. “Wait until you get 15,000 Kentucky fans who came down to Atlanta who are not going to be able to watch the game.”
Kentucky made only one of its first nine shots as Georgia took early leads of 8-0 and 14-3.
Kentucky’s man-to-man defense began to wear on the Bulldogs, who committed eight turnovers in the half as the Wildcats rallied.
Kentucky closed the half with a 21-6 run to lead 25-22 at the break.
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