Originally created 02/05/06

Gaines follows shot, tips in game winner



NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Sundiata Gaines' shot wasn't on target, so he erased his mistake. Georgia guard Levi Stukes then made sure Shan Foster and the Vanderbilt Commodores didn't get the same chance.

Gaines tipped in his own miss with 18 seconds left, and Stukes rebounded Foster's missed 3-pointer as Georgia held on and beat Vanderbilt, 74-73 on Saturday, for the Bulldogs' second consecutive victory.

"I knew the shot had slipped out of my hands a little bit after I let it go, so I knew what it was going to do and where it was going to go," Gaines said of his jumper. "I pursued it to put it back in the basket."

His teammates weren't surprised.

"He's a great player to have," Georgia guard Channing Toney said. "He was looking to penetrate and knew his shot was off. I think he was high enough above the rim that he could have dunked it, but tipped it in."

The road team had not won in this series in the previous nine games, but the Bulldogs (14-8, 4-5 Southeastern Conference) used their best shooting performance this season to win in Nashville for the first time since Jan. 24, 2000.

It helped that the Bulldogs had their point guard this time. Rashad Wright missed the 2004 game here, and Gaines wasn't available in 2005 when Georgia scored only 37 points. Gaines finished with 13 points, seven assists, a team-high nine rebounds and five steals Saturday.

"I reminded him that he would be able to score if he just kept being aggressive and sharing the ball," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said. "We need our point guard to do that. The guys all said how much they appreciated all those dimes he was dropping out there."

Vanderbilt (12-7, 3-5) shot almost as well, hitting 51 percent (24-for-47) compared to 53.6 percent (30-for-56).

Trailing by only one, Foster missed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 7 seconds remaining for Vanderbilt. Stukes got the rebound and was fouled. But he missed the free throw for Georgia, leaving Vandy 3.9 seconds. Dan Cage's long inbounds pass went off Julian Terrell's fingertips and out of bounds.

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said Foster was in the open spot.

"He got a good look at the basket. If it had gone in, that would have been the game," Stallings said.

The Commodores never got off another shot in losing their third in a row and fifth time in six games.