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March 16, 2008

Georgia finishes off SEC tournament run

MORE: Rivals.com Daily Bubble Watch | Drive for 65: Forecasting the Field | Play Tourney Pick'em

ATLANTA Georgia, the last-place team in the SEC East, clinched an NCAA Tournament bid under the unlikeliest of circumstances with a 66-57 victory Sunday over Arkansas in the SEC Tournament final.

Playing three games in two days, Georgia (17-16) defeated three NCAA-bound teams (Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi State) and knocked one to the NIT (Ole Miss) to punch a ticket to the NCAA Tournament less than 30 minutes before the selection show began.

Before a crowd of 3,700 in Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum, Georgia earned an NCAA bid for the first time since 2002. The SEC Tournament win is the first for the Bulldogs since 1983, when the Bulldogs advanced to the Final Four.

As the selection show aired on the big screens at the coliseum, Felton cut down the final remnants of the net.

The Bulldogs overcame a tornado Friday, a change of venue and a doubleheader Saturday and finally the Razorbacks on Sunday afternoon to become the lowest seed to win the league since the SEC split into divisions in 1992.

Dennis Felton entered the tournament on the hot seat. With the Bulldogs now bound for the NCAA Tournament, Georgia athletic director Damon Evans said Felton would return. "Today is the perfect time to say Dennis Felton will be back at the University of Georgia," Evans said.

Georgia came out strong to build a 28-9 lead. Arkansas forward Sonny Weems, quiet for most of the tournament, scored 11 of the Razorbacks' final 15 points of the first half to narrow the Bulldogs' lead to 36-26.

The Razorbacks kept gnawing away and had cut the lead to three with 2:43 left. But Georgia didn't run out of miracles. Albert Jackson scored on a dunk and Billy Humphrey added a 3-pointer to make it 61-53 with 1:15 remaining.

Then it was all over except the celebrating.

Video Highlights: Georgia 66, Arkansas 57

MORE: Rivals.com Daily Bubble Watch | Drive for 65: Forecasting the Field | Play Tourney Pick'em

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