Georgia falls at Arkansas, grip on third place loosens

March 1, 2014 

Georgia Arkansas Basketball

Arkansas guard Michael Qualls (24) defends Georgia guard Juwan Parker (3) during the first half of on March 1 in Fayetteville.

GARETH PATTERSON — AP

Georgia is still alone in third place in the SEC, but it can feel Arkansas close on its heel now.

Arkansas ran past Georgia on Saturday in Fayetteville, 87-75, as the Razorbacks were propelled by a 16-2 run to finish the first half.

Georgia, which led by seven in the first half, trailed by as many as 15 in the second half, before whittling it to 65-60 with five minutes left.

Kenny Gaines led Georgia with 25 points, returning to the game after injurying his foot or ankle.

"Give Arkansas credit, they came to play today and I think our kids did too," Georgia head coach Mark Fox said, in a game release by Georgia sports information. "They won the battle of tempo and we played a little faster than we can play well for 40 minutes. "The difference in the first half was the free-throw line. In the second half, both teams cooled off. Neither team was able to shoot as well in the second half. We just turned it over too much [in the second half] and that really was the difference."

The loss dropped Georgia (16-12 overall) to 10-6 in the SEC, now just one game ahead of Arkansas and Tennessee, who are both 9-7.

In addition, Arkansas and Tennessee also each hold the tiebreaker over Georgia; the Volunteers via winning the one head-to-head matchup, and the Razorbacks via their win over Kentucky. (The SEC's second tiebreaker is performance versus the top teams in the conference.)

The top four teams in the SEC receive a double-bye into the tournament quarterfinals. Georgia can clinch third place either by winning its final two remaining games - home against Mississippi State and at LSU on Saturday - or with one win, and one loss by Arkansas and Tennessee.

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