ATHENS, Georgia (Ticker) -- Jarvis Hayes scored 10 of his 23 points in overtime to lift No. 22 Georgia to an 81-76 victory over Tennessee in a Southeastern Conference thriller.
Ezra Williams led Georgia (11-4, 3-1 SEC East) with 29 points and nailed a jumper seven seconds into the extra session for a 69-67 lead. Hayes added a jumper and foul shot for a five-point edge with 3:40 left.
Tennessee (9-5, 2-3) pulled within 79-76 on a basket with 44 seconds left by Ron Slay, who finished with 29 points. The Bulldogs worked the shot clock before Rashad Wright nailed a jumper with nine seconds remaining to seal the victory.
"Sometimes you don't realize how hard it is to have to play like that to win a basketball game and we certainly had to play hard today," Georgia coach Jim Harrick said. "They were really good."
The Volunteers sent the game to overtime when Jon Higgins nailed a 3-pointer with five seconds left in regulation for a 67-67 tie.
It was Higgins' second desperation shot in the state of Georgia - he nailed a shot from beyond halfcourt for a 70-69 victory at Georgia Tech on December 15.
Georgia prevailed despite a quiet night from its starting forward tandem of Steve Thomas and Chris Daniels. Thomas scored eight points and Daniels fouled out with four as the Bulldogs were outscored in the paint, 36-12.
Williams turned in an amazing shooting display in the second half, scoring 21 of the Bulldogs' first 23 points. He made all six 3-pointers in the first eight minutes of the second half as Georgia rallied from a 34-27 halftime deficit.
"(It) was as good a half as he's ever had in a game of this magnitude," Harrick said.
Tennessee took its largest lead at 46-36 on a 3-pointer by freshman C.J. Watson with just under 15 minutes remaining in regulation. Williams answered with a pair of 3-pointers to trigger a 14-2 run that he ended with two more 3-pointers.
"Georgia has big wings that cause some mismatch problems," Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson said. "Ezra Williams had a hot hand tonight and he caused us to burn some timeouts in the second half."
A layup by Thomas gave the Bulldogs a 65-59 lead with 44 seconds to go in regulation. Tennessee's Elgrace Wilborn converted a layup and, after Georgia missed a pair of 1-and-1 opportunities, Higgins drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to one point.
Williams made two free throws to set up Higgins' dramatic tying 3-pointer.
"I am so proud of my guys," Peterson said. "They never quit and fought until the end. I am pleased with our team's effort."
Hayes scored 11 points in the first half to keep Georgia close. Slay matched him with 11 of his 29 points as Tennessee limited Georgia to eight baskets in the first half to build its advantage.
Harrick also credited Damien Wilkins' effort off the bench. Wilkins scored seven points while Wright handed out seven assists.
"They certainly came after us and for a lot of minutes outplayed us," Harrick said. "Wilkens came out and gave us a spark and Ezra Williams made some shots and got us back in the game."
Higgins netted 12 points - all on 3-pointers - and Brandon Crump added 10 for Tennessee, which committed 15 turnovers.