Date story was published: Thursday, January 3, 1991
ATHENS, Ga. -- Reggie Hanson and Jamal Mashburn each hit two free throws in the final five seconds to give Kentucky a dramatic 81-80 victory over Georgia last night.
The free throws came after Georgia seemingly had the last shot of regulation in a game tied at 77.
But Litterial Green, who burned the Cats for a career-high 38 points, missed a three-point attempt with six seconds left.
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Referee John Clougherty called Antonio Harvey for going over Hanson's back on the rebound.
"A good call," Harvey said. "I tried to jump away from him, but he was smart enough to jump back into me. It was a good call. I just have to take it."
Georgia called time to give Hanson time to think about the free throws. It didn't work.
Hanson made both with five seconds left.
After a UK timeout, Georgia tried to inbounds to Green near mid-court and call an immeidate time. But UK's defense forced Green toward the sideline. The senior guard had to try to signal time while in the air falling out-of-bounds.
"You can't call time in the air," an ecstatic UK coach Rick Pitino said.
Georgia fouled Jamal Mashburn on the ensuing inbounds pass. Mashburn, completing an 18-point, career-high 15 rebound performance, hit both with three seconds left to give UK an insurmountable 81-77 lead.
Green hit a meaningless three-pointer at the buzzer.
With the victory, UK improved to 9-2 overeall and 1-0 in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia, the defending SEC champ, lost its second straight, fell to 7-4 and 0-2 in the league.
"This was a big win for us," Pitino said. "Mentally, Georgia had come off a loss and were 0-1 in the league. We knew they'd be looking to have a big game emotionally."
UK led by as much as 58-50 mid-way through the second half. Because of Green, Georgia hung in there. But after a Mashburn rebound basket tied it at 77 with 45 seconds left, Green could not deliver.
Georgia set up the final shot. Green drove by the Cats all night but decided to go up for a three-pointer on the crucial shot.
Pitino cited a defensive switch.
"It looked like a 2-3 (zone), but it was a 1-3-1," he said. "We'd trap Litterial if he put it on the floor. We couldn't let him beat us. Somebody else would have to do it.' "
The first half brought to mind an appraisal of Kentucky's team repeated often by Pitino.
Even when the Cats shoot poorly, defense can carry the day.
Kentucky demonstrated its poor shooting-good defense side in the first half. The Cats missed their first six three-points attempts and struggled to get untracked throughout the opening 20 minutes. UK made only two of 11 three- point attempts and 10 of 27 shots overall.
It didn't help that Sean Woods reverted to his poor play of early season. Woods shot one of five from the field and committed three turnovers.
But defense kept the Cats close. Using up 10 first-half fouls, UK made Georgia work for everything. Georgia, shooting 39.4 percent on three-pointers, missed all six attempts. The Bulldogs made 13 of 34 shots overall. Take away Litterial Green's six-for-11 shootings, and the Bulldogs made just seven of 23.
Ironically, a defensive lapse cost UK the lead at halftime. When Woods missed his patented leaning banker off the glass in the final five seconds, Georgia scrambled the ball upcourt to a waiting Jody Patton under the basket. Patton's layup at the buzzer gave Georgia a 33-32 lead.
Only Green, an All-SEC guard, solved UK's defensive pressure. Green got Jeff Brassow, tormentor of Louisville's LaBradford Smith Saturday, in foul trouble and out of the game in the first eight minutes.
Green scored 17 points in the half.
UK's best offense early was the baseball pass over the Georgia press. John Pelphrey and Junior Braddy caught passes for dunks ahead of the Georgia press.
UK also got a surprise conribution from freshman Gimel Martinez. With Hanson in foul trouble, Martinez came off the bench to score six points. It was Martinez' highest point total since he got 10 against Penn in the season opener.
The second half began with Green seemingly taking on UK by himself.
Green hit a three-pointer early, and fed Rod Cole for another.
But Hanson led UK to the game's largest lead to that point, 47-41, with 15:29 left.
Hanson accounted for eight points in a 10-3 UK run. Twice, Hanson hung inside waiting to be fouled before going up for layups and three-point plays.
Mashburn accounted for the other points in the run. He ripped the ball from Harvey and rumbled for a contested layup.
Georgia cut UK's lead to 54-50 on a Cole three-pointer. The shot also brought the crowd into the game.
But Kentucky responded. Pelphrey ducked his head and drove for a contested layup. Then Pelphrey picked off a deflected Green pass and started a fastbreak that led to a Brassow lay in.
Down 58-50, Georgia called time with 11:25 left. UK's lead did not last long, less than two minutes to be exact.
Georgia rolled up eight straight points to tie it at 58 with 9:56 left. Free throws accounted for six of the points. Georgia hit four free throws. Reggie Tinch caught a defected missed free throw for the basket that tied it.
With each free throw, Pitino seemed to grow madder.
Pitino erupted with 7:14 left when Pelphrey was called for fouling Green in the lane.
Pitino took off his suit coat. During the ensuing timeout, he could be heard seemingly challenging referee David Dodge to a fight. "After the game," Pitino yelled at Dodge.
Green made one free throw, putting Georgia ahead 63-61.
Tied at 67-67, UK took a 73-67 lead. A Feldhaus three-pointer added the final points to the run. Green brought Georgia back, scoring six straight points to cut UK's lead to 75-73 and setting up the final dramatics.