Athens, GA (Feb 15, 2009) - A funny thing happened in Athens, Georgia yesterday. No, it was actually more like something incredulous, a feat that nobody saw coming. Written off for dead, the University of Georgia men's basketball team (10-15, 1-9 SEC) did the unthinkable. Although they had yet to win a game in 2009, they defeated a heavily favored Florida team(19-6. 6-4) 88-86, ending an eleven game losing streak.
University of Florida players for a rebound.
Photo by Lesley Onstott/Courtesy of the University of Georgia
Sports Communications Department.
Because of family obligations, and not wanting to see another train wreck on the floor of Stegeman Coliseum, I chose not to even try to attend the game. The same could be said for thousands of others. But boy were we wrong. When I logged onto the ESPN scoreboard, my jaw dropped. Georgia was ahead 23-10!. This had to be a mistake. Yet I kept watching the score, shaking my head in disbelief. When I was able to take control of the television, I sat down and turned the game on (the game was blacked out on ESPN360).
There was a Georgia Bulldog team playing with more heart and intensity than I had seen all year. They were playing with a mission. Perhaps it was to avenge the humiliating defeat a few short weeks ago that led to the dismissal of head coach Dennis Felton. Perhaps it was the fact that they were being written off as a team that has quit for the season. Whatever the reason, it was stunning.
celebrates with students after Georgia's stunning 88-86 upset of
the University of Florida on February 14, 2009.
Photo by Lesley Onstott/Courtesy of the University of Georgia Sports Communications Department.
Consider these number for a minute. Georgia shot 57.4% from the field, including 53.8% from three point range. The game was played as cleanly as it could be by both teams, with no one close to fouling out. The two teams combined for a total of 18 turnovers for the game, with 13 of those from Georgia. It seemed like they were supposed to win.
Friday evening I wrote about ABC Sports/ESPN looked like they were being locked into a real stinker of a game. From watching Georgia this year, and on paper, it should have been. But the Bulldogs did not pay attention to this. With Brad Nessler and Jimmy Dykes calling the game for a regional audience on ABC Sports, they simply went out and played perhaps the game of their lives.
a young fan at the February 14, 2009 game between the University of Florida
and the University of Georgia.
Photo courtesy of Dan Matthews.
They were not going to lose 12 straight for the first time since 1952. No, they played with pride for themselves, their coaches, and for the school. Yesterday may indeed have been their "one shining moment" for the 2008-2009 season.