The Dean's List: SEC Tournament Moments

The Dean's List: SEC Tournament Moments

ATHENS - In this edition of The Dean's List, Dean Legge reviews five of the most important moments for the Dawgs in SEC Tournament history.

1. 2008 – Turnaround Triple

Zac Swansey didn't have a stellar career at Georgia – in fact, he transferred to Tennessee Tech to end his college career – but he has arguably the top moment in Georgia basketball history. Down two, and playing on Georgia Tech's home court thanks to the displaced SEC Tournament, Swansey and Georgia were trailing Kentucky 56-54 before the magical moment.

That's when Swansey took over. With only 1.2 seconds remaining in the game Swansey got the ball and fired a turnaround three from the left side of the court. The shot fell… and the Bulldogs got their first win over the Cats in nine tries in the SEC Tournament.

But more importantly, Georgia was on its way to the most stunning SEC Tournament – and perhaps most unlikely and bizarre sporting event – in history. Later that Saturday Georgia beat Mississippi State 64-60. On Sunday the Dawgs had their largest margin of victory of the tournament – a 66-57 win over Arkansas, which clinched the second SEC Tournament championship ever for Georgia, an unlikely NCAA bid and one of the wildest stories every in school and conference history.

2. 2008 – Dave Bliss with a Kiss

Georgia wasn't very good in 2008. A rag-tag bunch that was certainly leading Dennis Felton to the unemployment line, Georgia had been pounded 76-62 at home by Ole Miss a few days before meeting the Rebels on the first night of the 2008 SEC Tournament at the Georgia Dome. But 13-16 Georgia had a little something for everyone that weekend – and it all started with Dave Bliss' game-winning ten-foot bank shot with 0.4 seconds left in the game. Bliss' improbable shot only seemed to extend Dennis Felton's future by another game… but Georgia had much, much more in store than just that – and the Atlanta weather did, too.

3. 1997 – Roasted Chicken

#1 Seed South Carolina was coming off what remains its only SEC Basketball championship in school history – a 15-1 campaign that would eventually help the Gamecocks earn a #2 seed in the 1997 NCAA Tournament. But the Cocks had a problem that season – Georgia. South Carolina's only conference loss that season was a 77-74 thriller in Athens. The semifinal tournament matchup wasn't as close – as the Dawgs throttled the Cocks 78-63 on the way to Georgia's first appearance in the SEC Tournament Finals in nine years.

4. 1997 – Ol' Two-Sports' Two Points

Georgia was having a good 1996-97 season, but the SEC Tournament that season put the Dawgs in great position for NCAA seeding. But it would have been all for not had Larry Brown, who was a four-year starter at tight end for the Dawgs, not put in a buzzer-beating layup to beat Arkansas 65-63 at the Pyramid in Memphis in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament.

5. 2003 – No Show Dawgs

One of the best teams in Georgia history didn't ever get a chance to play in the post-season. Georgia's 2002-03 team missed the 2003 SEC Tournament in New Orleans after Vince Dooley and Michael Adams worked swiftly to dismiss coach Jim Harrick after a NCAA scandal rocked Athens. Harrick was let go and Georgia sat out the entire post-season – including what would have been a third consecutive trip to the NCAAs.

Meanwhile the SEC, which had been planning on a 12-team tournament, had to scramble to get together an 11-team tournament. Georgia, which had the third-best record in the SEC, but had been seeded #3 in the East and was set to take on lowly Arkansas in the first round of the SECs, was off to figure out its future. It would not be a bright one. It took the program half a decade to return to the NCAAs – and that was with an assist from severe weather.

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