NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tyree Crump drained a long 3 as the buzzer sound Saturday and Georgia escaped with an 80-78 win over Vanderbilt at Memorial Gymnasium.
The Commodores (9-18, 1-13) led by as many as 11 in the second half, but couldn’t close out the relentless Bulldogs who refused to go away. Up 78-77 with five seconds left, Scotty Pippen Jr. missed a pair of free throws and Crump took off the other way before launching from just past halfcourt for the game-winner.
Saben Lee scored a career-high 34 for Vandy and Pippen finished with 20 – 16 of which came in the second half. Georgia (14-10, 4-10, SEC) only led for 58 seconds Saturday.
Vandy was up by as many as seven late, but had to hold off several Georgia comebacks. Jordan Harris buried a 3 with 2 1/2 minutes to go making it 74-71 and Sahvir Wheeler’s layup a minute later brought the Bulldogs within one.
Lee put the Dores up 78-73 with 22 seconds to go on a pair of free throws – but Vanderbilt wouldn’t score again.
The Commodores return home at 8 p.m. Wednesday to host Missouri (13-14, 5-9 SEC).
Vanderbilt was in control early Saturday thanks to an 13-2 run that broke a 7-7 tie. Lee had a lightning-quick drive through the left side for a two-handed dunk and three-point play during the spurt and Maxwell Evans flushed one home from inside the paint just before the shot-clock expired making it 18-7.
Georgia answered that run with a 10-0 stretch of its own and was within 20-19 until a Braelee Albert 3 from the right corner stopped the bleeding. The Bulldogs tied the game at 23-all and 25-all, but a Lee three-point play upped the margin to 30-26 with 4 1/2 minutes to go in the half.
Lee scored four straight toward the end of the period giving Vandy a 38-30 lead, then walk-on sophomore guard Drew Weikert brought the crowd to its feet with a steal and layup at the buzzer making it 40-32.
The Commodores shot 61.9 percent from the field, got 16 points off 10 Georgia turnovers and 18 of their 40 points in the paint during the first 20 minutes.
Georgia got within 42-38 early in the second half, but Vandy responded with a 9-2 run capped by another Lee bucket. The Bulldogs weren’t rattled and crept within 51-50 on Donnell Freshman’s 3 from the right wing with 13 minutes to play and then took a 52-21 lead on an Edwards layup to complete a 12-0 run.
Pippen drained a 3 just seconds after that to put the Commodores back in front and start what turned out to be a 14-4 explosion for the home team. Jordan Wright’s steal and layup with 7:56 to go made it 65-56 and forced a UGA timeout.
Crump put the Bulldogs within 67-63 – and that set up the crucial, final five minutes.
Anthony Edwards led Georgia with 19.
• Lee (1,227) passed pass Joe Ford (1,193, 35th), Jim Henry (1,198, 34th), Al Rochelle (1,206, 33rd) and Thorpe Weber (1,209, 32nd) and Matthew Fisher-Davis (1,219, 31st) is 31st on Vanderbilt’s all-time scoring list. Brad Tinsley (1,252) is 30th.
• Lee now has scored at least 18 points in six straight games and in seven of the last nine.
• Junior forward Matthew Moyer (shoulder) missed his second-straight game for Vanderbilt.
• Vanderbilt now leads the series with Georgia 92-54 and 49-13 at Vanderbilt.
• The Commodores are now 7-5 this season when leading at halftime, 8-2 when leading with five minutes to play and 9-2 when leading at the 2-minute mark.
• Attendance on Saturday was announced as 10,378 giving Vanderbilt a season average of 9,890 after 17 home games.