Originally created 11/13/97

Georgia pulls out Jirsa's first win



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Two nights, two incredibly nerve-wracking games.

Unlike its loss to North Carolina State on Tuesday when a last-second tip failed to find the basket, Georgia made good on its shots against Texas and hung on to an 89-87 win over the Longhorns Wednesday night in the consolation round of the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic.

The victory was the first in Ron Jirsa's career as Georgia head coach.

"I'm happy, not so much for me, but for the team," Jirsa said. "We played a complete ball game and beat a quality team."

But it wasn't easy.

After trailing 85-84 with 1:55 left in the fourth after a 3-pointer by Luke Axtell, Georgia reclaimed a one-point lead when Michael Chadwick sank a pair of free throws at the 1:37 mark.

Georgia would not trail again, as two more three free throws by freshman Jumaine Jones over the final 50 seconds kept the Bulldogs ahead. Jirsa was still forced to sweat the waning moments as the Longhorns barely missed winning the game when a long 3-point attempt at the buzzer bounced off the rim front.

Ray Harrison led the Dogs with 22 points, followed by Chadwick and Jones with 18 apiece. Lorenzo Hall also scored in double-figures for Georgia with 13. Hall also grabbed 11 rebounds for the Dogs, the fourth double-double of his career.

Texas' Kris Clack led all scorers with 25. Axtell added 19.

Princeton played North Carolina State for the championship of the tournament which was played at the Continental Airlines Arena, home of the NBA's New Jersey Nets.

A sparse crowd of just 1,130 saw Georgia take a 44-43 lead at the half. But in the third, a 3-pointer by Clack gave Texas its first advantage since the opening moments of the game, 50-47.

The teams then took turns with the lead before Georgia closed out the third with a 10-5 spurt and went into the fourth up 71-66.

"For second night in a row we played a team that had nine starters back from the previous year," interim Texas coach Eddie Oran said. "We just had trouble getting our people in the right place. We fought and fought and fought, but Georgia was just a little bit too much."

Oran is coaching the Longhorns in the absence of coach Tom Penders who will miss the next several weeks after recently undergoing heart surgery.

After shooting just 25 percent in their 47-45 loss to the Wolfpack, Wednesday, the Bulldogs had the look of a crisper, more confident team.

The Dogs opened quickly against the Horns, thanks mostly to Chadwick who scored seven in the first four minutes as Georgia jumped to a 13-7 lead.

Overall, Chadwick scored 12 in the quarter, enabling the Dogs to push the margin to 27-18 before back-to-back 3-pointers by Brandy Perryman gave Texas some momentum and narrowed the Georgia advantage to three.

"We didn't do such a good job in the half court game against North Carolina State, and that's something we'll have to correct," Jirsa said. "But tonight, we were able to get up and down better, we ran the floor better, and were able to play our style of game."

Georgia maintained the lead for the rest of the second quarter, going up by as many as five, 36-31 on a bucket by Adrian Jones.

But Texas kept it close. Axtell saw to that by scoring eight of his 10 first-half points over a three-minute stretch before a 3-pointer at the buzzer by DeJuan Vazquez cut Georgia's halftime lead to 44-43.

Chadwick's 12 first quarter points went on to lead Georgia's first-half effort. The Bulldogs also got eight points from Jones, who scored seven in college debut Tuesday night.