FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Much like Georgia’s trip to Arkansas, it took Trey Thompkins some time to get on track on Wednesday night.
Once Thompkins and the rest of the Bulldogs did, overcoming any effects of their much-delayed arrival in Fayetteville, they settled in for a 60-59 win over the Razorbacks.
Thompkins sealed the victory for Georgia when he was fouled and made a free throw with 1.4 seconds remaining. The free throw gave him 12 points, all of which came in the second half after two early fouls limited the Bulldogs’ leading scorer to just four minutes before the break.
Georgia (15-6, 4-4 Southeastern Conference) didn’t arrive in Arkansas until less than seven hours before tipoff. The Bulldogs were unable to take off from Athens on Tuesday due to heavy fog, and they were later stuck on the runway in Augusta for more than two hours while unable to find a place to land due to wintry weather in Arkansas.
After staying overnight in Augusta, the team finally landed in Arkansas at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday and was greeted by single-digit temperatures. The travel and cold appeared to affect the Bulldogs in the first half, during which they never led and shot 29 percent.
“I felt like I coached terrible in the first half,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “I just felt tired. I don’t know if our players were tired. I just felt like I didn’t coach very good in the first half.
“I don’t know if that’s the travel, or if I’m not that good a coach.”
Arkansas led by as many as nine points after a Rotnei Clarke 3-pointer put it ahead 19-10. The Razorbacks (14-7, 4-4), who entered the game 12-0 in Fayetteville, were spurred on in the first half by a vocal crowd of 7,659.
The crowd included a nearly full student section after students were allowed into the game for free after classes were canceled on Wednesday.
“I thought it was amazing,” Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. “The student body was phenomenal. It was inspiring.”
Despite the early momentum, the Razorbacks’ lead dwindled to 25-22 at halftime. The Bulldogs then took control to start the second half, with Thompkins scoring six straight points and giving Georgia its first lead at 26-25.
The Bulldogs never trailed again, building their lead to as many as six when Thompkins hit a 3-pointer to put them up 59-53 with 3:49 remaining.
Arkansas responded with a 6-0 run that tied the game. Julyssess Nobles scored the final four points of the run for the Razorbacks, who were coming off their first SEC road win of the season at Vanderbilt.
“It hurts bad, but we’re not going to stop working,” said Arkansas’ Marshawn Powell, who scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half. “We got it going once they got the lead, but it was a little too late playing against guys like that.”
After a timeout and running down the clock, Georgia worked the ball into Thompkins inside the lane. The junior was fouled by Delvon Johnson with 1.4 seconds remaining, and he connected on his first free throw to put the Bulldogs up 60-59.
After Thompkins missed the second foul shot, Nobles got the rebound but couldn’t get a full-court shot off before time expired.
“(The first half) was pretty ugly,” Thompkins said. “But they stuck with me, and I got the job done.”