Dec 15, 2002
By TOM SALADINO
AP Sports Writer
ATLANTA – Jon Higgins was a hero. Still, he’s not looking forward to being one again.
Higgins hit a desperation 3-point shot just beyond half court at the buzzer Sunday, giving Tennessee a 70-69 victory over Georgia Tech in the Peach Bowl Classic.
In an earlier matchup Sunday, Georgia beat Gonzaga 95-83.
Georgia Tech (4-2) had taken a 69-67 lead with a half-second left on one of two free throws from B.J. Elder.
Tennessee’s Ron Slay then inbounded to Higgins who barely touched the ball as he grabbed it and flung it nearly 50 feet in the air and into the basket, hitting nothing but net.
“It was a good feeling. It felt good. it was on line,” Higgins said of the shot.
“I just hope I’m never in this situation again because I might not make it again,” he said.
“It’s a crazy game, the game of basketball,” said Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson. “It was a heck of a shot. It was just one of those things. Luck was on our side.”
The Vols (3-1) overcame a 62-49 deficit with a 15-2 run to tie it at 64 on a 3-point basket by C.J. Watson with 1:52 left.
Georgia Tech freshman Chris Bosh then hit three free throws – one with 1:41 remaining and another two with 17.1 seconds left for a 68-65 lead.
After Tech’s Ed Nelson missed two free throws with 3.7 seconds left, Higgins was fouled with 1.4 seconds remaining. He made both to get within 68-67, despite trying to miss the second one, which went in off the backboard.
Anthony McHenry (55) looks to pass while being defended by Tennessee’s Thaydeus Holden.
Tennessee immediately fouled Elder, who made one of two free throws for the 69-67 lead before Higgins’ bomb.
“What can I say. It was one of those days,” said Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt. “As soon as he let it go, it looked like it was good.
“I should have had somebody on him (Slay) on the inbounds,” he said. “That was my error and we paid for it.”
Slay led the Vols with 28 points. Higgins added 16 and Watson had 12.
Elder, who led Tech with 21 points, hit a pair of three-pointers in a 10-0 run at the start of the second half to give Tech a temporary 45-32 lead.
The Yellow Jackets took a 35-32 halftime lead with Elder scoring 11 points. Slay had 15 to keep Tennessee close.
Bosh had his streak of five straight games with double figures in points and rebounds end. He had 12 points but only 9 rebounds.
Tennessee had played only one game in 20 days, due to the Thanksgiving holiday and exams.
The meeting between the two schools was the first in 34 years – since Dec. 17, 1968 when Tennessee won 72-41. The two had met 67 previous times with the Vols leading the series 42-26.