Originally created 02/24/02

Wright's basket puts Dogs in three-way tie



BATON ROUGE, La. - Nearly 12 months later, Rashad Wright hit the shot.

This time the Bulldogs beat LSU and moved into a three-way tie with Kentucky and Florida for first place in the SEC East.

Wright missed an open jumper at the buzzer last season as LSU upset Georgia in the first round of the SEC Tournament. Saturday in Baton Rouge, Wright again had the shot - and made it - as No. 18 Georgia beat LSU 55-54.

His shot with 22.1 seconds left gave the Bulldogs (20-7 overall, 9-5 SEC) the lead, but Chris Daniels gave Georgia the win on back-to-back defensive plays sandwiching Wright's shot.

With Georgia down 54-53, Daniels tipped Ronald Dupree's shot and it ended up in the hands of Georgia's Steven Thomas with 40 seconds left in the game.

Then Wright made his shot, and it was up to Daniels again to stop Dupree.

With 14.3 seconds left, LSU (14-13, 4-10) called a time out. Then they called the last play for Dupree.

Dupree got the ball on the right side of the lane and was one-on-one with Daniels. This time, he faked inside, and Daniels only half-bit, and went back out with him and tipped the ball while he was dribbling. The ball briefly left Dupree's control and when he regained his handle, he dribbled it on the baseline, giving the Bulldogs back the ball with 3.9 seconds left.

"I told Ronald Dupree after the game that I would do it over again - the same thing, 13 clear," said LSU coach John Brady.

And if it happened again, Georgia coach Jim Harrick would definitely want Daniels on Dupree.

"Daniels is a great defender," Harrick said. "He's got great hands and he's tough - mentally, physically and emotionally. He doesn't give up too many baskets to guys. And two straight times he made great defensive plays."

Wright said he didn't even think about last season's SEC Tournament. Instead he was thinking about getting an open shot for himself or someone else on the last play.

The play was called for Jarvis Hayes, who finished with a game-high 14 points, but as Wright got the ball, his man went down to double Hayes.

"Brady must have told his team not to let Jarvis Hayes beat them," Harrick said. "It was a great play (Brady called)."

Wright stepped back and took a wide-open shot with his feet planted on the 3-point line.

"It was open and I just had to make the shot," Wright said. "I didn't think about (the SEC Tournament loss to LSU last season)."

But it wasn't just Wright and Daniels. Each of the five Bulldog starters proved why they were in the game at the beginning and the end.

"Coming down the stretch, each of the five starters did something," Harrick said. "Rashad Wright made the jump shot that won the game. Steve Thomas made two huge foul shots (with 1:13 to move the game to 54-53). Ezra Williams made a big-time 3 down three (with 2:35 to tie the game at 51). And Jarvis Hayes made three big plays down the stretch."

Hayes, who struggled through the game, with just four points and a missed dunk in the first half, got hot with about seven minutes left in the game. First he got going on a backdoor dunk from Daniels. A minute and a half later, he drove to the basket, got fouled, made the shot and his foul shot. And then with 4:57 he tied the game at 48 with a jumper.

"It started with that backdoor dunk that Chris gave me," Hayes said. "I was in the game then. For the first half and part of the second, I felt like I was just running around in limbo. I was running around taking a spot on the court."