December 22, 2008

No Excuses

There's no denying that Kevin Palmer's desperation 3-pointer from three-quarters the length of the court was what gave Texas A&M-Corpus Christi its unlikely 80-79 win over Georgia Monday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

But that wasn't why the Bulldogs dropped a game they certainly had no excuse to lose.

The final stats told the story: A season-high 25 turnovers, 21-of-31 from the free-throw line, poor shot selection, you name it.

Head coach Dennis Felton did.

"We just lost the game. We didn't play as well as we'd like to," Felton said. "Down the stretch we made a couple of huge plays to get ourselves back out in front and have a chance to win, but we lost."

The Islanders, who lost to Savannah State 47-42 last Thursday, appeared to have the game in hand at 73-77 with 1:08 to play. But after a put-back by Trey Thompkins following a missed free throw by Travis Leslie, Georgia forced a turnover off the inbound which Leslie picked up and toss down to put the Bulldogs up 78-77 with 30 seconds to go.

With 1.9 seconds to go, Dustin Ware hit one of two free throws to extend the margin to two but that turned out to be plenty of time for Palmer who after taking the inbounds pass, took two quick steps and launched a shot which nothing but the bottom of the net for the game-winning points.

"We got one the night before. Things like that happen, but at the same time we should have never got in that situation," Thompkins said. "We should have taken care of business before that."

Point guard Zac Swansey, whose 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime saved Georgia (7-4) against Wofford, agreed.

"I don't remember being a part of anything like that. I've been part of some winning ones, two times here, but it's a dagger, man," Swansey said. "We wanted that win to go into Christmas with something to build on but I guess it's something you have to go back on and try to find some positives."

There wasn't much positive to talk about after this one.

Georgia led by as many as 12 points in the first half before the Islanders (6-6) started chipping away, finally taking a 43-41 lead with 7:52 to go in the game.

"We had 44 minutes and 58 seconds to not get ourselves in that situation," Swansey said. "It's hard to blame the loss on that one shot."

The game was tied 66-66 at the end of regulation after the Bulldogs led 28-25 at the half.

"We actually talked a lot of halftime with how many wasted opportunities, especially on the offensive end where we turned the ball over too much," Felton said. "We knew they were a team that turned people over (20 turnovers a game) and stole the ball almost 11 times a game. We knew what we were playing against but we did not execute well enough against what we were expecting."

Ware led Georgia with a career-high 22 points, followed by Leslie with 19 and Thompkins with 13. Palmer led all scorers with 31.

Georgia returns to action Saturday against North Carolina A&T.



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