Originally created 11/20/00

Georgia loses to Minnesota



MINNEAPOLIS -- If Georgia coach Jim Harrick watched the right tape before his team played Minnesota, he knew to expect a hard-fought, physical game with rather mediocre shooting until near the end.

He also should have known to keep an extra defender on J.B. Bickerstaff in the final seconds of the game. But maybe that part of the tape was accidentally erased.

Bickerstaff on Sunday had a twisting layup with 11.4 seconds to go and scored 17 points to lift the Gophers (2-0) over the Bulldogs 77-74.

It was the second straight year Bickerstaff made the game-winner against the Bulldogs (0-2). His shot with 3.1 seconds remaining last year gave the Gophers a 66-65 win in Athens, Ga.

"It's coincidence," Bickerstaff said. "I don't know how it happened."

Bickerstaff also pulled down nine rebounds. He was 8-for-8 from the field.

"Of course Bickerstaff is such a crafty little guy," Harrick said. "He made a great play. He's 8-for-8 from the field. That's a little too much for us."

After Bickerstaff's basket, Shane Schilling sank two free throws to give the Gophers a 77-74 lead with 3.7 seconds left and Dusty Rychart stole the inbound pass attempt to preserve the win.

D.A. Layne scored 27 points and Shon Coleman had 12 points and 11 boards for the Bulldogs, who led by five points with just under four minutes to go in the second half. But Layne missed a bank shot and with 2:48 left and Kevin Burleson's 3-pointer cut the lead to two points.

Bickerstaff wasn't necessarily the first option on the game-winning play, Minnesota coach Dan Monson said, but the Gophers were confident it would succeed.

"We've been running that play - the dive cut - all game," Bickerstaff said. "It was open; we just hadn't made that last pass."

Minnesota's Michael Bauer, who sat out the final three months of last season with an ankle injury, made the pass to Bickerstaff to set up the final shot. Bauer scored 21 points.

Both teams showed why they are picked to finish near the bottom of their respective conferences. The game featured plenty of bungled layups, air balls on wide-open shot attempts, missed tip-ins and terrible passes.

The Gophers went four minutes, 33 seconds without scoring at one point during the first half and even after being bailed out by Bauer - who had nine points in the first half - managed just four points in a six minute, 50 second span of the first half.

But the Bulldogs were just as inept offensively during that spurt. Georgia shot only 27 percent (10-for-37) in the first half and missed all 13 of its first-half 3-point tries. Georgia shot 14.3 percent (3-for-21) from the 3-point line for the game.

"Obviously, it was a typical early-season game for both teams," Monson said. "There were stretches where teams would play well and then they would break down, stretches where teams would play good defensively and then break down.

Georgia continued its downward spiral that started last year with the Bulldogs losing 11 of their final 12 games. This season got off to an inauspicious start with a humiliating 91-79 loss to Georgia State on Friday - the first time the commuter school had beaten Georgia - and Georgia players aren't anticipating a fun season.

"I don't know what the problem is," said Ezra Williams, who scored 11 points. "We need some luck. We're finding ways to lose."