ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia coach Mark Fox beamed even after watching his team's worst shooting performance of the season.
The Bulldogs' defense and rebounding made up for all the missed shots.
Kenny Gaines scored 15 points, Marcus Thornton had 11 points and 13 rebounds and Georgia beat Arkansas 66-61 in overtime on Saturday to continue its strong start in Southeastern Conference games.
Georgia made only 18 of 58 shots from the field for a season-low 31 percent but outrebounded Arkansas 56-34 and held the Razorbacks 23 points below their SEC-leading average of 84.7 points per game.
"That's a hard-fought SEC game," Fox said. "We beat a really good Arkansas team. We should feel like we accomplished something today."
Gaines opened the overtime period with a 3-pointer and Charles Mann scored the next four points for the Bulldogs (9-7, 3-1 SEC).
Mann, who made only 2 of 10 shots, scored six of his nine points in the extra period.
"I was being more aggressive and just keeping my head up," Mann said. "... I just wanted to keep my head up and make something happen."
It was the third consecutive overtime game for Arkansas (12-5, 1-3 SEC). The Razorbacks previously lost to No. 7 Florida but beat No. 13 Kentucky in overtime.
Fouls were a problem for the Razorbacks, who were outscored 28-12 at the free-throw line.
"Georgia did a good job when it got to the free-throw line," said Arkansas coach Mike Anderson. "We were in a good position. It comes back to free throws."
The Razorbacks had an opportunity to win the game in regulation. Anderson called timeout with 21.8 seconds remaining but Rashad
Madden missed a 3-pointer and the Razorbacks couldn't get off another shot before the end of regulation.
"We were right there," Anderson said. "Sometimes you just have to find a way. We had the last shot, and we wanted to attack the basket. We had an opportunity. ... Give Georgia credit. They found a way."
Coty Clarke had 13 points for Arkansas, which led by seven points at 41-34 in the second half. Madden and Fred Gulley each had 12 points. Clarke and Gulley fouled out.
Arkansas has lost five consecutive SEC road games.
The Bulldogs improved to 8-0 when holding opponents under 70 points.
"We've gotten increasingly better on defense the last two weeks, three weeks," Thornton said. "We knew it would be pivotal."
Thornton, a junior who has had three knee surgeries, recorded his first career double-double. It was Georgia's first double-double of the season.
"I tell you, we had some guys who haven't been in the limelight who were heroes today," Fox said, referring to Thornton and freshmen J.J. Frazier and Juwan Parker. Frazier and Parker combined for seven points, all on free throws.
"I thought J.J. gave us a big lift today," Fox said.
Despite trailing 29-28 at halftime, the Bulldogs were encouraged by the low-scoring pace.
"I think we felt pretty good with that," Thornton said. "We shot 29 percent in the half, and we knew we had to be better than that."
Georgia, which struggled in its nonconference schedule, losing to Georgia Tech, Davidson, Temple and Nebraska, has evolved as a physical team which relies on its defense.
"I like that (physical) style of play," Thornton said. "I don't know if you could have said that a month or so ago, so it's good that we're definitely starting to get that and impose that on people."
Mann made one of two free throws to open the second half but went to the bench with three fouls early in the half. Mann's replacement, Frazier (5-10, 150), struggled in his matchup against Gulley, who hit two 3-pointers and scored on a drive in a span of eight consecutive points for Arkansas that gave the Razorbacks a 41-34 lead.
Georgia answered with a 6-0 run and finally took a 49-48 lead on a Brandon Morris layup with 3:16 remaining.
After Frazier made one of two free throws, Alandise Harris drove past Thornton for a layup for Arkansas, tying the game at 50-all. Georgia pulled ahead with two free throws by Brandon Morris before Madden answered with two free throws for Arkansas.
NO. 7 FLORIDA 68, AUBURN 61
In Auburn, Ala., Casey Prather scored 21 points in his return from a knee injury and helped Florida (15-2, 4-0) survive a scare from Auburn (8-7, 0-4).
Prather had 16 points in the first half after missing the past two games with a badly bruised right knee.
Chris Denson led Auburn with 21.
NO. 13 KENTUCKY 74, TENNESSEE 66
In Lexington, Ky., freshman Andrew Harrison scored a season-high 26 points and Kentucky (13-4, 3-1) used near-perfect free throw shooting to pull away from Tennessee (11-6, 2-2).
The Wildcats made 23 of 24 from the line, including their first 17 before Aaron Harrison, Andrew’s twin, missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 32 seconds remaining.
Andrew Harrison made all 10 of his free throw attempts along with a couple of 3-pointers and freshman Julius Randle was 5 of 5 from the free throw line and 6 of 9 from the field for 18 points.
MISSISSIPPI 75, SOUTH CAROLINA 74
In Columbia, Anthony Perez scored a career-high 22 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:02 remaining as Mississippi (12-5, 3-1) erased a 12-point deficit and held on to defeat South Carolina (7-10, 0-4).
Marshall Henderson had 16 of his 19 points in the second half for the Rebels, who rallied after falling behind.
South Carolina trailed 75-74 and had possession with 1.8 seconds left, but Sindarius Thornwell’s 3-point heave was off the mark.
Thornwell led the Gamecocks with 24 points.
LOUISIANA STATE 81, VANDERBILT 52
In Baton Rouge, La., Johnny O’Bryant III scored 22 points and Jordan Mickey had 13 points as Louisiana State (11-5, 2-2) hammered Vanderbilt (9-7, 1-3).
Jarell Martin chipped in with 11 points for the Tigers. Rod Odom led the Commodores with a team-high 20 points.
Damian Jones added 16 points and Dai-Jon Parker had 10 for Vanderbilt.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 81, TEXAS A&M 72 (OT)
In Starkville, Miss., Craig Sword scored 23 points, Gavin Ware added 22 and Mississippi State (12-5, 2-2) beat Texas A&M (12-5, 3-1).
MISSOURI 68, ALABAMA 47
In Columbia, Mo., Jabari Brown tied a career high with 24 points and Johnathan Williams III had 14 boards to help Missouri (14-3, 2-2) defeat Alabama (8-9, 2-2).