ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Reserve guard Curtis Dennis came off the bench cold and hit a 3-pointer from the corner to rally Iona past Georgia 81-78 in overtime Saturday.
Georgia missed 9 of 15 free throws in overtime, including Nemanja Djurisic’s shot to tie the game at 79 with 3.5 seconds to play. He missed and Georgia fouled quickly, sending Sean Armand to the line for two free throws to account for the final margin.
Lamont Jones led Iona (4-4) with 25 points. Armand added 18 and A.J. English 17.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Charles Mann scored 18 apiece for Georgia (2-7). Donte Williams scored 16, and Brandon Morris 12.
Georgia freshman Kenny Gaines hit a jumper in the circle with 34 seconds left in overtime to put the Bulldogs up 76-75 despite the poor free-throw shooting. But Dennis made his only basket with 19 seconds to play, putting Iona up 78-76.
Williams missed the first of two free throws with 12 seconds left to make it 78-77. After Jones missed the second of two with 8 seconds remaining, Georgia passed to a streaking Djurisic on the rebound, and he was fouled hard before he could attempt a shot.
In the first half, Iona bolted to a 23-11 lead after Armand’s two free throws at the 11:46 mark. The Gaels hit five of their first eight shots from beyond the 3-point line. Iona still led 30-23 with 6:29 to go in the first half after Taaj Ridley’s short jumper.
But the Bulldogs discovered an inside game. Williams made back-to-back dunks followed up by back-to-back breakaway layups by Gaines to give Georgia its first lead, 31-30, with 3:52 remaining in the half.
The Bulldogs got careless in the last minute, but managed a 36-35 halftime lead when Caldwell-Pope swished a 3-pointer from just beyond half court as the clock hit zero.
Mann and Morris, both freshmen, sparked an 11-0 run early in the second half that boosted Georgia to a 48-41 lead with 13:09 to play after Morris fed Tim Dixon for a layup.
But Mann and Caldwell-Pope went to the bench for a rest, and Iona rallied with 10 straight points to retake the lead at 51-48. Armand converted a three-point play and made a 3-point jumper during the Gaels’ comeback. A pair of free throws by Williams interrupted what became a 15-2 run by Iona.
Caldwell-Pope had a tip-in with 7:01 left to snap a 6-minute stretch without a field goal, and then added a jumper with 5:34 left. Mann followed with a whirlybird layup, and Caldwell-Pope added a steal and slam to put Georgia ahead 62-60 with 4:29 remaining.
Morris missed two free throws with 1:11 to go, then Armand’s 3-pointer from deep in the corner tied the score at 66 with 54.8 seconds to go.
The Bulldogs missed four shots — two jumpers by Caldwell-Pope sandwiched around tip tries by Morris and Williams. After Caldwell-Pope’s second miss, the ball bounced off Williams and out of bounds, giving Iona possession with 13.5 seconds remaining. English’s jumper missed right at the end of regulation.
It was the second overtime loss at home for Georgia this season after losing to Southern Miss 62-60 on Nov. 15.