NASHVILLE – Sundiata Gaines tipped in a miss of his own jumper with 18 seconds left, giving Georgia a 74-73 win in Nashville before an announced crowd of 13,631 fans. Gaines' tip came from the right baseline, and sent Vandy to their fifth loss in six games after winning at Rupp Arena in January.
The Commodores had battled back from ten-point deficit earlier in the game when UGA's Steve Newman hit a three-pointer at the 12:11 mark. Vandy battled back to take a one-point lead when DeMarre Carroll hit a jumper at the 4:45 mark, but Georgia battled back to take a six-point lead at half when Gaines hit a 25-foot jumper from straightaway at the halftime buzzer.
Georgia stretched the lead back out to nine when Levi Stukes hit a three to start the half. The Bulldogs held the lead until 3:41 remaining when Derrick Byars, who had 18 second-half points, hit a three-pointer to give VU a 69-68 lead with 3:41 left.
The lead changed five times from there, with Vandy taking their last lead with 49 seconds when Shan Foster hit a layup with 49 seconds left.
Vandy then clamped down on defense, and forced Gaines into a miss with seconds remaining on the shot clock. But failure to box out cost Vandy dearly, as Gaines slipped through the right side of the lane, rebounded his own miss, and banked it home for the game-winner.
"Our effort was good. We just didn't get the stops we needed," said VU coach Kevin Stallings after the game.
"We saw today's game as a must-win game and came up two points short," added Vandy's Julian Terrell afterwards. "It's going to take our team digging down and playing every game like it's our last one now. We've got to dig in, and we've got to come up with something."
Vandy dropped to 12-7 overall and 3-5 in the league, while Georgia improved to 14-8 and 4-5 in the SEC.
Vanderbilt now hits the road to play at Alabama on Wednesday before returning home to face Kentucky on Saturday.