NEW ORLEANS — Mississippi State came into Thursday’s night-cap in the SEC tournament with an outside chance of an NCAA bid.
Georgia made sure it stayed that way.
The Bulldogs in red pulled off the SEC tournament’s first upset, holding on to beat the conference’s other Bulldogs 71-61.
UGA (15-16) moves on to place Vanderbilt at 9 p.m. Friday.
Gerald Robinson scored 23 points and dished out five assists, Dustin Ware added 13 (including 3 of 6 from 3-point range) and Georgia shot 51 percent in taking down Mississippi State (21-11).
Poor shooting did Mississippi State in. It started the second half 5 of 20 to fall behind by 11 points.
But a hot stretch that included a 9-1 run by Mississippi State pulled it to within 60-57 with 3:50 to play.
A timeout by Georgia stopped the run, however, and it never led by less than five points thereafter.
Nemanja Djurisic’s jumper and two free throws put UGA up 64-57, a jumper by Robinson put the lead back at seven after a pair of Mississippi State free throws and then Ware answer with two more free throws and Georgia’s 68-59 lead was insurmountable with only 39 seconds to play.
Mississippi State finished the game 21 of 55 and turned the ball over 14 times, which Georgia turned into 20 points.