NASHVILLE — First, Georgia guard J.J. Frazier rescued his team from defeat against South Carolina with a magical shot from the floor.
Then the 5-foot-10 junior made Georgia a 65-64 winner in the late Southeastern Conference basketball tournament quarterfinal Friday night by sinking a free throw 2.1 seconds ahead of the horn.
"It's heart over height in that case," said Bulldogs forward Yante Maten, whose 17 points and 12 rebounds nicely backed Frazier's 20 points, two assists and two steals.
Added senior guard Kenny Gaines, pointing to the steal Frazier made that led to the foul: "J.J.'s just a great defender. He plays with such intensity, and that trickles down to the rest of us."
They spent most of the night fighting uphill against the third-seeded Gamecocks, despite having won at South Carolina barely more than a week ago.
South Carolina led by 11 at one point in the opening half and by one point at intermission. Then the Gamecocks built a 10-point lead early in the second. But the Bulldogs kept fighting back until Frazier finally dribbled through what seemed to be the entire Gamecocks team inside the final minute, throwing up the rainbow in the lane that gently swished. Game tied at 64.
"I've got all the faith in the world in J.J. in that situation," coach Mark Fox said. "I even had a timeout I didn't use."
Then Frazier came up with a loose ball and was fouled with 2.1 seconds on the clock.
He swished the first. He purposely missed the second.
With their fifth straight victory, the Bulldogs (19-12) advance to today's second semifinal against Kentucky inside Bridgestone Arena. Georgia lost 82-48 at Kentucky on Feb. 9.
"A monumental challenge," Fox said of the matchup. "But we'd love to come up with something (to beat them). They whipped us pretty good the last time."
Contact Mark Wiedmer at firstname.lastname@example.org