Derrick Brown (5) battles with Georgia's Albert Jackson during first half action. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
March 20, 2008
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Derrick Brown and Xavier put an end to the magical run of a Georgia team that by game's end was, well, 'Dawg tired.
Brown's 19 points and 11 rebounds led a balanced-as-usual offense, and No. 3-seeded Xavier avoided a big upset by rallying to overcome fading Georgia 73-61 on Thursday in a first-round West Regional game.
Super-sub Josh Duncan scored 20 for the Musketeers (28-6), who trailed by as many as 11 points in the second half but conjured up a 22-6 run to come back. Xavier used a significant discrepancy in free throws - it went 27-for-33 from the line, while Georgia was 3-for-5 - and tied a school record for victories in a season.
Georgia (17-17) simply could not sustain the energy and effort it summoned during last week's remarkable run to the SEC tournament title. The Bulldogs were 13-16 before the conference tourney, yet somehow won four games in as many days - including three in a span of about 30 hours - to save coach Dennis Felton's job and extend their season.
Xavier will play Purdue on Saturday, March 22, approximately 30 minutes after the end of the first game played.
Led by Terrance Woodbury's 16 points and do-everything guard Sundiata Gaines' 13 points and six assists, Georgia began the afternoon displaying far more energy than could rightly have been expected. After all, the Bulldogs were forced to play two games in a single day en route to earning the school's first NCAA berth since 2002.
With Xavier looking a bit uncertain for stretches, Georgia pulled out to a 35-26 halftime advantage. The lead grew to 43-32 with 16 minutes left after a baseline jumper by Woodbury, who let out a "Woooo!" yell that was answered by loud barks from his team's fans.
And that, pretty much, was that for Georgia.
Xavier began chipping away at its deficit from - where else? - the foul line, with six straight points off free throws. The Musketeers' noted defense, meanwhile, held the Bulldogs scoreless for nearly 5 minutes.
Billy Humphrey's two 3-pointers were Georgia's only baskets during the game-swinging spurt by Xavier, which went ahead 54-49 on Duncan's bucket with about 6 minutes remaining.
Brown made it an eight-point edge for the favorites, at 59-51, a minute later with a three-point play. And while Georgia did keep things interesting, getting within 64-61 on Dave Bliss' dunk with 1 1/2 minutes on the clock, Xavier closed the game on a 9-0 run.