Bulldogs get emotional win over Tigers
COLUMBIA, Mo. — A day after attending a memorial service for his father in Garden City, Kan., Mark Fox called the shots in an upset that ended the nation’s longest home winning streak.
Georgia’s coach said the late Raymond Lewis Fox, a longtime high school coach in Kansas, wouldn’t have had it any other way. Fox thought his dad would have been proud, but also would have wondered why it got past regulation.
"He wouldn’t have patted me on the back. Hell no," Fox said after Georgia’s 70-64 upset in overtime at No. 21 Missouri in a Southeastern Conference opener on Wednesday. "He’d have told me to get the next one."
Missouri coach Frank Haith said he sensed before the game that players weren’t mentally into it. The Tigers were outrebounded 43-34, including 15 offensive, and had less than a sense of urgency on both ends and took plays off.
"I hate cool," Haith said. "We were really too cool and I don’t like cool. Cool gets you beat and cool got us beat tonight."
Haith is 40-2 at home in three seasons, the other setback to Kansas State on Feb. 21, 2012. The Tigers were ranked No. 3 for that one.
Missouri led by five early in overtime before fading. Jordan Clarkson held the ball for the final shot in regulation instead of passing for a better look, and freshman Johnathan Williams III blew a shot at a crowd-pleasing one-handed follow dunk with the Tigers leading by a point and 2:20 to go in regulation.
Fox recalled his father who died at 78 from lung diseases on Saturday, matched wits with the likes of longtime Purdue coach Gene Keady in Ellsworth, Kan.
"One of the last things he said was `You’ve got to play some defense,’" Fox said. "He was right. My dad was a real tough son of a gun.
"I got a little emotional at one point in the first half and caught myself — you know, `I’m going to get my butt chewed when I get home."
Charles Mann scored 18 points, including the go-ahead basket with 35.8 seconds to go in overtime, and Georgia overcame free-throw shooting struggles.
"Coach Fox had a bad couple days," Mann said. "So we just wanted to win it for him and just play hard. We just kept on believing."
Nemanja Djurisic had 16 points and hit the tying 3-pointer with 1:39 to go, and Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris hit a pair of free throws apiece in the final half-minute. The Bulldogs (7-6, 1-0) had lost consecutive road games by double digits at George Washington and Colorado and were double-digit underdog before ending the nation’s longest winning streak.
"This is definitely going to sting, especially losing at home" said Jabari Brown, who led Missouri with 19 points. "It’s what happens when you don’t make the plays that you needed to make."
Earnest Ross added 15 for Missouri (12-2, 1-1). Jordan Clarkson, who missed from the top of the key at the end of regulation, had 12 points.
Mann pulled up in the lane before hitting the go-ahead basket less than a half-minute after Brown missed a 3-point attempt.
Even with Morris’ free throws at the end, Georgia was 13 for 26 at line with Marcus Thornton just 1 for 6. Djurisic was 4 for 5 from 3-point range, matching his career best, after being held to four points his last game.
Georgia entered hitting just 65 percent from 3-point range, 12th in the conference.
Mann missed a 3-pointer for the lead with 24 seconds left in regulation and Clarkson held the ball before missing a bid to end it with about a second to go. Georgia ended a four-game losing streak against Missouri.
Missouri also was vulnerable in its previous game, trailing most of the first half before pulling away to beat Long Beach State by 10 on Saturday. The Tigers had been 4-1 trailing at the half, rallying to beat UCLA and North Carolina State, with the other loss to Illinois.
Missouri opened the second half on a 12-4 run and took the lead at 35-34 on another 3-pointer by Ross. Georgia went 7:10 between baskets in the second half.
Missouri spotted the Bulldogs eight points to start the game before settling in, and the Tigers got their first lead on a 3-pointer by Ross that made it 20-19 with about 6 minutes remaining. That lasted a half-minute before Djurisic answered with two straight 3s to key an 11-0 run that gave Georgia it’s largest lead at 30-20 before Missouri finished the half with five points in a row.