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January 17, 2007FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Steve Newman was willing to admit it -- Georgia's last play didn't go precisely as planned.
The result, however, was exactly what the Bulldogs wanted.
"Everyone was covered ... but I was lucky," Newman said.
Newman made a long 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Georgia a 67-64 victory over Arkansas on Wednesday night. The shot came from around 30 feet away -- near the tail of the hog at midcourt on the Razorbacks' home floor.
That wasn't really what the Bulldogs were hoping for.
"The play was supposed to be one guy runs a screen and comes off, and then I would set a screen," Newman said. "I guess Sundiata Gaines forgot or something."
But everything worked out just fine in the end for Georgia, which has won three straight. The Bulldogs (11-5, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) are off to a nice start after finishing last in the SEC East the last two seasons.
Georgia trailed 64-58 with 1:46 remaining but rallied with three straight 3-pointers. When it was over, the Bulldogs jumped around near midcourt in celebration.
Arkansas (12-6, 1-3) lost at Bud Walton Arena for the first time since falling to LSU on Jan. 11, 2006.
"We have to be able to close," Razorbacks coach Stan Heath said. "We can prepare and prepare, but we have to close."
Arkansas led 62-55, but Newman made three 3-pointers in the last 2:21.
The first made it 62-58, but Sonny Weems answered with a driving layup while being fouled. He missed the free throw, and Newman's next 3-pointer made it 64-61.
"He was feeling it," Bulldogs coach Dennis Felton said.
Georgia's defense held on the next possession, and Gaines made a 3-pointer over 7-footer Steven Hill from the top of the key to tie it with 32.7 seconds to play.
Gary Ervin then turned the ball over -- Arkansas' 19th giveaway of the night -- and the Bulldogs took possession. Ervin committed a non-shooting foul with 2.1 seconds remaining, then Newman made his game-winner.
"When it left my hands, I thought to myself it had a chance to go in," the senior forward said.
Newman finished with 11 points. Mike Mercer led Georgia with 15.
Hill scored a career-high 15 points for Arkansas on 6-of-6 shooting. He also added seven rebounds and four blocks. Hill is now 12-of-12 over the last three games.
"This game was bittersweet for me," Hill said. "Getting the win at home is the most important thing. They hit a bunch of great shots. We gave this game away, and we didn't finish it like we need to."
Arkansas has lost three straight since an 88-61 win over Alabama.
Takais Brown scored 14 points for Georgia, which went 8-of-8 from the free throw line. Arkansas went 12-of-18 on free throws.
Ervin had 13 points for the Razorbacks, but only three assists and five turnovers.
Georgia led 30-27 at halftime after Arkansas turned the ball over 13 times.
"I talked to the boys before the game in the locker room about growing up and maturing on the court," Felton said. "This was the perfect opportunity. In the first half we did everything we wanted defensively and kept the ball out of the post's hands, but we didn't make a lot of our shots."
That changed down the stretch. The Bulldogs went 7-of-14 from 3-point range in the second half after a 2-of-9 first half.
Newman, of course, provided the biggest shot.
"For my basketball career, this is the number one moment in my life," Newman said. "I've never hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer."