HONOLULU -- In the opening round of the Rainbow Classic, Memphis used a shot in the final minute to upset unbeaten and fourth-ranked Michigan, the tournament favorite.
But the Tigers had the table turned on them last night. Georgia sophomore forward Michael Chadwick, who had a field goal nullified seconds earlier by an offensive interference call, scored on a breakaway layup with 13 seconds left to give the Bulldogs a 70-68 victory.
Georgia (10-1) advanced to the tournament final against the winner of the Maryland-Hawaii game.
Memphis (5-5) still had two opportunities to win or force an overtime. First, senior forward Cedric Henderson tossed up an air ball. But Georgia knocked the ball out of bounds, leaving 1.5 seconds on the clock.
After repeated timeouts, Memphis worked the ball to Harry Allen, who had hit seven of his first 11 shots. Allen came off a screen, but his shot from the corner fell short of the basket, and he buried his head in agony.
Chadwick led the winners with 18 points. Allen had 15 for the Tigers.
The game turned into a three-point-shooting contest. Chadwick and Derrick Dukes were doing the firing for Georgia, and Allen had the hot hand for Memphis.
A three-point shot by Allen followed by Sunday Adebayo's strong inside move put the Tigers back on top 61-57.
But the Bulldogs answered with a jumper by Chadwick and two straight rebounding hoops by junior forward Devin Basker to regain the lead, 63-61.
The seesaw pattern continued. A three-point play on a driving shot by Keldrick Bradford pushed Memphis ahead 64-63 with 3: 36 remaining. Chadwick got a basket on a goaltending call, only to have Bradford respond with a baseline drive.
Neither team could get more than a point advantage in the next two minutes. A tip-in by Cedric Henderson gave Memphis a 68-67 edge with 1: 30 left.
The Tigers then benefited from a controversial call. Chadwick appeared to put the Bulldogs back on top with a layup that rolled around the rim several times and finally fell through. But the referee signaled that center Eric DeYoung had committed offensive interference, nullifying the basket.
Chadwick had been fouled on the play and made one of two free throws to tie it at 68.
But Chadwick made his next shot count. After the Tigers' 6-foot-10 Chad Allen missed a jumper, DeYoung saved the ball from going out of bounds and fed Chadwick for a breakaway layup and a 70-68 lead with 10 seconds left.
There were only a handful of spectators on hand for the first semifinal game at the 10,000-seat Special Events Center. Maryland played host Hawaii in the featured ESPN game.
Memphis, which used a basket by Chris Garner with 27 seconds left to upset fourth-ranked Michigan in the first round, held the Bulldogs scoreless in the first four minutes and jumped out to a 6-0 lead.
Georgia had trouble working the ball inside against Adebayo. But the Bulldogs used their perimeter shooting to forge a 10-10 tie.
Adebayo then showed his offensive side, sparking an 8-0 Tigers run with a pair of transition baskets for a 26-17 spread.
Georgia, which advanced by squeaking past Washington State, 64-61, closed to 28-24 on a three-pointer by Adrian Jones and a jumper by DeYoung.
But Memphis answered with nine straight points.
Memphis led at halftime, 36-27. Adebayo, who was 4-for-4 from the field, had nine points. The Tigers hit 16 of 25 shots compared to 10 of 28 (35 percent) for Georgia.
Pub Date: 12/30/96