Tyree Crump made the shot of a lifetime, and the Georgia Bulldogs have won two in a row with a stunning comeback victory at Vanderbilt on Saturday.
Georgia, which trailed by as many as 11 points, was within 78-77 with 5.1 seconds remaining. But Vanderbilt’s Scottie Pippen Jr. (yes, his father is the former Chicago Bulls star) was on the line for foul shots.
Pippen missed both, the second of which was batted out from under the basket by Georgia’s Jordan Harris. Crump was able to corral the rebound around the foul line, and the senior from Bainbridge quickly turned and dribbled up the floor. He leapt and unleashed a shot about 24 feet from the basket. His ball swished through the basket just ahead of the final horn. The timing held up to video review by officials.
“I work on it every day,” said Crump, whose primary role on the team is as long-range shooter. “I’m always in the gym working on those types of shots. It just so happened that I got (the rebound) and I looked at the clock and saw three seconds. And I just took (the shot) with confidence. I knew I was going to make it.”
Crump was mobbed by his teammates in front of the Georgia bench underneath the baskets at Memorial Gymnasium. Tears came a little at first, then harder. The celebration ended with a long, extended embrace between Crump and coach Tom Crean with the coach talking passionately into Crump’s left ear.
“We always want to stretch the game as much as you possibly can,” coach Tom Crean said in a postgame release. “That's why the lay-up with Sahvir was such a big lay-up. That stretches the game. What happens is you come down and you start looking at that scoreboard and start thinking 'three, three, three,' no. We've got to stretch the game.”
It was a well-needed boost of positive reinforcement for Crump. A 21-game starter in his career, he lost his starting spot to younger players this season and has filled an off-the-bench role of late.
Anthony Edwards led the Bulldogs with 19 points, Jordan Harris scored 17 and Sahvir Wheeler added 11 and five assists.
But Crump was the indisputable star Saturday night, finishing with eight points and the biggest shot of his college career.
“I don’t know, I just had the feeling at the free-throw line: ‘I’m gonna hit the game-winner,” Crump said. “It just came to me, in my mind, and then it happened. They missed those free throws, and God just made it happen.”
The win was Georgia's second in a row for the first time since the first game of the calendar year. The Bulldogs improve to 14-13 and 4-10 in SEC play with a trip to South Carolina up next.
Vanderbilt falls to 9-18 and remains last in the SEC with a 1-13 record.