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Georgia’s comeback bid falls short

Charleston, SC - Temple had nearly run out of time, but Will Cummings put an end to Georgia’s come back bid. Cummings hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with seven seconds left to send Temple to an 83-81 victory in the Charleston Classic Friday at TD Arena.

Georgia (1-3), which dropped its third consecutive game, had gone ahead for the first time since midway through the first half on a lay up by Charles Mann with 18 seconds to play. Cummings had just one point before draining the winning 3-pointer, sending Temple (2-3) into the fifth-place game against UAB, Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

The Owls, who are trying to reach the NCAA Tournament for the seventh straight season, had built a lead as large as 47-32 on two free throws by Anthony Lee less than two minutes into the second half. Georgia chipped away over the next 14 minutes and eventually pulled even at 71-71 when Nemanja Djurisic knocked down a 3-pointer at the 4:07 mark.

Temple’s lead was 80-76 when Brandon Morris, who was making his season debut, hit 1-of-2 free throws, and Kenny Gaines had a dunk for the final two of his career-high 21 points to make it an 80-79 game. Cummings missed a jumper and at the other end Mann briefly gave the Bulldogs a cushion.

“We just do not defend with the sense of urgency that we need to until we’re deep in a hole,” Georgia coach Mark Fox told georgiadogs.com. “[In the second half], we rolled our sleeves up and played like we’ve always played defense, but I was extremely disappointed with the first half.”

Both teams shot extremely well as Georgia hit half of its field goal attempts (28-of-56), thanks in large part to Gaines, who was 8-of-12 and Mann, who had 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting and hit all nine of his free throws attempts. Temple had a nearly identical mark from the field (27-of-56, 48 percent) and were especially lethal from 3-point range, hitting 11-of-20, led by Dalton Pepper, who hit 5 threes on his way to a game-high 22 points. Cummings finished with 17 points on 5-of-11 shooting, though the winning shot was his only field goal from behind the arc.

“They were just good looks,” Pepper told owlsports.com. “We had to adjust a little bit to the zone (Georgia was playing and just get open shots. Will just came up big and just hit a big shot. He’s talented and he can make shots like that. We had confidence in him to take it and he made it.”

Georgia will play Nebraska in the seventh-place game Sunday at 2:30 p.m.