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National Govt & Politics
James Comey testimony - as it happens
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James Comey testimony - as it happens

James Comey testimony - as it happens
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

James Comey testimony - as it happens

Former FBI Director James Comey is testifying today before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, detailing his conversations with President Donald Trump about the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.

Here is the latest from Capitol Hill:

12:40 pm - Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) wraps up the hearing by thanking Comey for his work for the federal government, and thanks the FBI for its cooperation. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA): There are still a lot of unanswered questions.

12:32 pm - Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) asks why Comey didn't do more to figure out what the President was trying to do when discussing the Michael Flynn investigation.

12:29 pm - Comey says he felt like he was fired because of the Russia investigation, and was done to change the way that probe was being conducted.

12:25 pm - Asked about why he didn't publicly say that President Trump was not under investigation, Comey said top FBI leaders convinced him that if there was an investigation of the Trump Campaign, that person leading the campaign was Mr. Trump - and that no declaration should be made before that investigation was concluded.

12:18 pm - As promised, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) takes Comey back into the Clinton email investigation, as Comey says he was worried that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch was not seen as impartial. Comey says he thought about calling for a special counsel probe, but decided against that, because in his words, there was 'no case there.' It was probably not the answer that Cornyn was looking for.

12:15 pm - So far, no tweets by President Trump about the Comey hearing.

12:08 pm - Comey jokes that he is "between opportunities" right now in his private life. Laughter bounces through the hearing room.

12:03 pm - Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) asks Comey if President Trump colluded with the Russians. Comey gives a familiar answer, saying he should not talk about that in open session. Cotton pursues a similar line of questions about Michael Flynn, as Comey gives the same type of answers.

11:59 am - Manchin: Do you think you would have been fired by Hillary Clinton? Comey: I don't know

11:57 am - In an exchange with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Comey was asked again about the possibility that President Trump did record their personal conversations. Comey says, "my feelings aren't hurt" as he urged Mr. Trump to "release all the tapes" - if they exist.

11:54 am - Comey is asked again by Lankford about his interaction with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, saying he did not like being told to label the Clinton email probe as a "matter," rather than an "investigation."

11:50 am - At the same time as the Comey hearing, Speaker Paul Ryan holds his regular news conference, and is asked about Trump and how he dealt with Comey.

11:48 am - Under questioning by Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), Comey says no official from the White House or Trump Administration approached him about the Flynn investigation; Lankford says that shows there was no concerted effort by the Executive Branch to squash that probe.

11:44 am - Comey is asked by Sen. Angus King (I-ME) about the Russian bank VEB, which has been the subject of press reports. Comey says there is nothing he can talk about VEB in an open setting. He does not give any indication why that would be an issue.

11:41 am - Comey rejects assertion by President Trump that he called Mr. Trump on the phone. "I never initiated a conversation with the President."

11:38 am - Asked why he orchestrated a leak of his Trump meeting notes, Comey defended his decision in an exchange with Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). Comey says he had a friend leak it, rather than going to the media himself, because that would be like "feeding seagulls at the beach."

11:28 am - Comey bluntly says the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections is not fake news. He tells Senators that President Trump did not ask him for information on that interference.

11:25 am - Comey says after President Trump tweeted about "tapes" of his conversations with him, Comey decided to leak the contents of his memos through a friend who was a law professor at Columbia University. Comey's goal - to spur the appointment of a special counsel to probe the Russia matter.

11:20 am - Comey says the President was not under investigation by the FBI on the day he was fired, May 9.

11:17 am - Comey explains why he told President-Elect Trump on January 6 that he was not under investigation, wanting to reassure Mr. Trump that the FBI was not holding the salacious details of the Steele Dossier over Trump's head.

11:15 am - I'm hungry and I'm glad I bought some lunch early.

11:11 am - Asked why he did not inform Attorney General Jeff Sessions about his concerns with regards to the President, Comey says the FBI senior leadership believed at the time that Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Comey also said the FBI was "aware of facts" - that he couldn't discuss in public - that would be 'problematic.'

11:08 am - "I believe the timing of your firing stinks," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

11:01 am - Under questioning from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Comey admits he did not push back in person against President Trump, after he felt like he was asked to stop the Flynn probe.

10:56 am - Asked about Mr. Trump's discussion of Michael Flynn, Comey said he was "stunned" that the matter came up, as the former FBI Director said he again felt like Trump wanted the Flynn investigation to end. Comey also said he hopes there are tapes, as the President suggested.

10:53 am - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) asks Comey why he thinks he was fired. Comey said it's obvious from the President's own words that the Russia investigation played a role.

10:51 am - Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) presses Comey on whether President Trump committed obstruction of justice by asking Comey to 'let it go' on the Michael Flynn investigation. Comey says he was not ordered to back off, but he felt like that's what Trump wanted.

10:43 am - Comey says he felt like President Trump was trying to get something back from Comey in exchange for keeping him on as the FBI Director. "I could be wrong, but my common sense told me what's going on here is, he's looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job."

10:36 am - Comey says he started writing memos about his talks with President-Elect Trump for a very specific reason: "I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting, and so I thought it really important to document."

10:33 am - Asked about the Clinton email investigation, Comey says one reason he went public on the Hillary Clinton email investigation was because of the tarmac meeting in 2016 between then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton. Comey said Lynch had told him to label the probe a "matter" and not an "investigation."

10:30 am - On the issue of possible obstruction of justice by President Trump, Comey says that is something to be evaluated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

10:28 am - Asked about confirmation of details in the Steele dossier, Comey says he shouldn't answer in open session. Sen. Burr tries again a few minutes later, and gets the same answer.

10:25 am - Comey says the President never asked him to stop the Russia investigation. The former FBI Director says he has no doubts that the Russian government was behind efforts to interfere with the U.S. elections in 2016.

10:21 am - Comey takes the first real jab at the President, saying the Trump Administration chose to "defame me and more importantly the FBI" - "Those were lies plain and simple."

10:20 am - Comey says he was 'confused' by the 'shifting explanations' from President Trump and the White House on why he was fired.

10:18 am - Comey takes the oath.

10:15 am - Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) bores in on President Trump, saying Mr. Trump made very clear he was thinking about Russia when he fired Comey. Warner also notes refusal of the Director of National Intelligence and National Security Agency chief to discuss their contacts with the President.

10:10 am - Another reminder that there is other business going on. Just down the hall from this hearing, health Secretary Price is testifying, sure to be asked about GOP efforts overhaul the Obama health law.

10:06 am - Burr begins the hearing by telling Comey that this is his opportunity, "to set the record straight."

10:04 am - The hearing is gaveled to order by Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC).

Jamie Dupree
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Jamie Dupree

10:00 am - It's not the first time that bars in Washington, D.C. have been popular places for a Congressional hearing. Hunter S. Thompson, in his writings about Watergate, tells about reporters hanging out at the old (and now demolished) Carrol Arms bar, just down the street from the Russell Senate Office building. "Carrol Arms Bar — like a tavern full of football fans — with the game across the street," Thompson wrote in 1974 of the Watergate hearings.

9:58 am - If you want to review the testimony submitted by Comey, you can read it here.

9:50 am - So far, no tweets from the President. But the White House is getting out their message.

9:48 am - I ran into my colleague Lisa Desjardins from PBS in the underground tunnel from the Capitol to the Senate office buildings. She counted almost 300 people in line for the public seats.

9:46 am - Another reminder that there is other business being conducted today in Congress.

9:45 am - The hearing room being used today is known as Hart 216.  It is a very large facility for very important hearings.  When it was first finished, most Senators avoided it.  The first hearing I covered in the room was the 1989 impeachment proceedings against federal judge Alcee Hastings, who is now a member of Congress from Florida.

9:30 am - The Senate convenes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opens the session by taking the next procedural step to put the House-passed GOP health care bill on the calendar. It's a reminder that there is more going on today on Capitol Hill other than the Comey hearing.

9:00 am - One hour before the hearing, the line for the public audience seats stretches down the halls of the Hart Senate Office building, around the corner and into the Dirksen Senate Office building. It is a mix of tourists, interns, Congressional staffers and other interested parties.

 

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Local News

  • Georgia’s first lady Marty Kemp toured the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the University of Georgia on Feb. 18, along with her daughter Lucy Kemp, UGA President Jere W. Morehead and several others. Kemp, who has loved animals ever since getting her first horse, Flare, at a young age, is no stranger to the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine hospital. In 2006, she brought in a foal named Loula, who had reared up, fallen back and broken her tailbone. “It made her drag her left back leg,” recalled Kemp. “The vet came and said you need to get this foal to the vet school immediately or she’s going to die.” They brought her in and she was there for five or six weeks. Kemp would come and see her every day. During her stay at the teaching hospital, her care team discovered that the foal had a blood disorder, one that would have killed her if she hadn’t been brought in for the tailbone. Today, Loula is alive and well on the Kemps’ farm. Horses are her therapy, said Kemp. “I can tell them things and they won’t tell anyone,” she laughed. “I certainly wouldn’t have made it through politics without them. Anybody who loves horses knows exactly what I’m talking about. Whatever stress you have, they take care of it. That’s the beauty of them.” Kemp has also brought two animals to zoological medicine: a bunny she rescued from the mouth of one of the family’s Labradors, and a duck that had died. The tour led Kemp through the small animal teaching hospital, where she got to meet a puppy about to undergo surgery, and the zoological medicine area, where a giant anaconda was being treated. It also included the parts of the hospital used for diagnostic imaging, the food animal treatment center, and the equine performance arena, where horses are checked for lameness and other ailments. Kemp was impressed by how the teaching hospital has grown since her tenure as a student at UGA. “It’s ramped up about 100 times since I was here,” she said. “What’s going on here, is just awesome.” Currently, the Kemps have three dogs, a barn cat, two sheep, a goat, four horses and two chickens. “I’ve been kind of low on animals recently, though Brian would say no, but we used to have a lot more.” One her daughter Lucy recalled with particular fondness is a goat named Kenny Chesney. When the human Chesney was in town, Lucy and her mother saw the tour bus downtown and relayed the fact of their goat’s name to Chesney’s people. They asked her to bring the goat to them, so they did, and Chesney himself got off the tour bus to meet the goat and Lucy Kemp. Lucy, a senior in high school and also a lover of animals, is interested in UGA’s veterinary medicine program. Kemp is still in the process of working out what she wants to focus on during her tenure as first lady of Georgia, though she is certain animal welfare will play a role because it is a cause so dear to her heart.     
  • Mississippi State scratched out the win at Georgia on Wednesday night in the battle of Bulldogs by a 68-67 count at Stegeman Coliseum. Mississippi State won the game at the free-throw line within the final second. Quinndary Weatherspoon made one of three free-throw attempts with 0.5 seconds left after he was fouled by Jordan Harris on his shot attempt. Weatherspoon was granted an extra free-throw attempt via a technical called on UGA because a fan threw an item on the court. Mississippi State used a 19-0 run to pull away in the final stages of the first half and opening minutes of the second half before the crowd of 7,153. Coach Ben Howland’s team came from 25-23 down to take a commanding 42-25 lead on Weatherspoon’s drive at the 18:31 mark. Georgia (10-16, 1-12 SEC) roared back, tying the game 67-67 on Tyree Crump's 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds left.  UGA couldn't finish the job, dropping its seventh consecutive, dating to the 98-88 win over Texas on Jan. 26. Weatherspoon scored a career-high 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting for Mississippi State (19-7, 7-6 SEC), including a pair of free throws with 15.6 seconds left to give his team a 67-64 cushion. UGA star Nicolas Claxton, who entered the night one of five Division I players leading his team in all five major statistical categories, finished with nine points and nine rebounds. Claxton didn’t score his first points until the 3:54 mark, giving Georgia a 24-20 lead. Moments later, Claxton committed his second foul, and coach Tom Crean made what proved to be a critical decision to take him out of the game, contributing to the key MSU run. Mississippi State held a 36-25 lead at halftime, breaking away with the 16-1, including 13-0, run the final 3:16. Weatherspoon led the charge, scoring 12 of those 16 points as Mississippi State made its final seven shots of the first half. Georgia committed four of its seven opening-half turnovers in the final 3 1/2 minutes. Georgia returns to action at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Ole Miss (TV: SEC Network). The Rebels beat the Bulldogs by an 80-64 count in Athens earlier this month, on Feb. 9. It’s the first of five regular-season games remaining for Georgia, which returns to the Classic City for a home game against Auburn at 9 p.m. Wednesday.
  • The Jefferson-based Jackson EMC sent upwards of three dozen workers to northwest Georgia Wednesday, helping with electrical restoration in the wake of Tuesday thunderstorms that caused more than 4,100 power outages. From Jackson EMC…   Jackson EMC sent 10 linemen and released 24 contractors to assist with power restoration efforts at Amicalola EMC in northwest Georgia. Tuesday brought heavy rain, strong wind gusts and severe thunderstorms to the region, resulting in widespread power outages for several north Georgia counties — including members of Amicalola EMC.    As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, Amicalola EMC reported 122 outages in Bartow, Cherokee, Gilmer, Gordon and Pickens counties, affecting 4,140 members — roughly 8.5 percent of the co-op’s membership.   A principle of co-ops is cooperation among cooperatives. Keeping with that principle, when asked, Jackson EMC provides fellow co-ops assistance with power restoration efforts following major outages. Jackson EMC linemen will work alongside Amicalola EMC line crews to safely restore power to the co-op’s members. 
  • Proposed revisions to the Athens-Clarke County Stormwater Management Plan are up for discussion in an open house forum that takes place this evening in Winterville: it gets underway at 6:30 at the Winterville Depot. The Northeast Georgia Regional Commission meets this afternoon in Athens: it is a 12 o’clock session at the Downtown Holiday Inn.  There is an evening meeting of the Athens-Clarke County Historic Preservation Commission: it’s a 6:30 session at the Government Building on Dougherty Street. The Board of the University of Georgia Foundation holds its winter meeting today.  The talk in Elberton is said to be still in the preliminary stages, but there are ongoing School Board discussions about building a new central office for the Elbert County School District.  Gainesville City Councilwoman Ruth Bruner says she will not be a candidate for reelection in November. Bruner was first elected to the Gainesville Council in 2003.
  • Residents of a Statham home awoke this morning to the smell of smoke, and were forced to quickly evacuate themselves and their pets.   Barrow County Emergency Services communications officers were alerted to the report of a residential structure fire in the 2400 block of Peace Circle around 2:00am this morning. The first arriving fire units reported that the attic of the home was heavily involved in fire and that the roof was starting to collapse. The residents on scene immediately met fire crews and notified them that everyone was out of the home. No injuries were reported, but the home’s occupants were placed inside of an ambulance to protect them from the cold and rainy weather.    Smoke detectors were reportedly not operating at the time of the fire. “We’d like to remind everyone of the importance of working smoke detectors. Today’s modern homes and furnishings burn much quicker than in the past, and produce toxic smoke that can quickly incapacitate sleeping occupants. Fortunately the occupants this morning were able to get out in time,” said Public Information Officer Steve Rose.    Crews from Stations 1, 6, and 7 responded. Truck 7 was on scene and the aerial ladder was extended to aid in fighting the fire. Once the bulk of the fire was controlled, crews made entry to fully extinguish the remaining fire with an interior attack.    Barrow County Fire Investigations were requested and determined that the fire originated in the area of the fireplace and chimney, and spread up thru the wall into the attic. Barrow County Fire Marshal Capt. Glen Cain said, “The National Fire Protection Association recommends annual fireplace and chimney inspections by a certified chimney professional.”    The home and its contents were heavily damaged, but firefighters were able to salvage some important personal items from inside the home and return them to the owners. Two adult residents were displaced and the American Red Cross was notified to assist them.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Georgia football has scheduling twists that seem to have some fans twisting in the wind. Here’s the thing: Coach Kirby Smart is on board with the changes, and they would’t be happening if he wasn’t. “I’d just make the statement that if there are any issues that our staff has, we’d voice that,” UGA athletic director Greg McGarity told DawgNation. “But I think Kirby will be very comfortable with the schedule that you’ll see in 2020.” So Georgia is switching the order of games with rivals Auburn and Tennessee, the matchup with the Tigers moving to October, and the Vols’ series moving to November. It would certainly be easier if Smart were to speak for himself on the issue. But Smart has chosen to strategically stay silent since the 28-21 Sugar Bowl loss to Texas on Jan. 1. Smart did, however, choose to issue a statement making it clear he’s very supportive of McGarity — a narrative that somehow some have gotten confused in the past: “Greg’s been a great resource for me since coming to Georgia and has always been supportive and energetic about all the things that are necessary to develop and maintain a successful football program,’’ Smart said in a UGA release. “I’m especially appreciative of his commitment to facilities. Greg is loyal to the University and has what is best for Georgia as his top priority.’’ It’s hard to imagine how the Bulldogs head coach could be any clearer. Smart also made his feelings known on the Auburn scheduling at the SEC Spring Meetings last May in Destin, Fla. Smart said he would be all for it if Auburn were to play two consecutive games in Athens. “Absolutely, if we can get a chance to fix it, and (they) return the favor that we paid to them,” Smart said, asked if he would be on board with the Tigers playing consecutive years in Athens. “I hear about that a lot, obviously I wasn’t there, but if you can make it more consistent and balance it out, it would help in the long run.” UGA played two straight   games in Auburn, in 2012-2013, as the SEC adjusted its schedule to include Missouri and Texas A&M. The unintended consequence of Georgia changing up its odd/even years and home/away with Auburn is that the Bulldogs fell into playing both Georgia Tech and the Tigers on the road in November every other year. Smart didn’t like that, either, and he said so. “I feel like if we could fix it, it would help to not have two road games back to back for us, like the situation we had last year (2017) with Auburn and Georgia Tech back to back,” Smart said. “I understand there are problems and difficulties trying to appease everyone.” So while the opportunity for Auburn to play at Georgia two years in a row wasn’t on the table, the chance to move up the Auburn game to October was, and Smart and UGA took advantage of that. Some have pointed out that Tennessee is also a rivalry game. Now, it’s a matter of having to travel to Knoxville and Atlanta (to play Tech) in the same month. But what won’t happen is the possibility of facing Auburn in a rematch just a few short weeks after facing that program in the regular season — something Smart alluded to in Destin last May. Smart had many other things to say that offered a great deal of insight into his feelings of what was to come with transfers and quarterback situations that are worth looking back on: Kirby Smart, SEC Spring Meetings The post WATCH: What Kirby Smart said about Auburn scheduling twist, Greg McGarity appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia is moving quickly to make improvements in every phase of its football program, and apparently that extends to the Bulldogs’ relatively new “Light Up Sanford” tradition. While the plans to transition from the old metal halide lighting system to a modern LED “Lumadapt” system installed by Ephesus Lighting. In addition to being more energy efficient and brighter, the lights also can be digitally adjusted, synchronized to music and produce special effects. Which is where Georgia’s Light Up Sanford tradition comes in. “Think about the creativity to we can bring to the games,” deputy athletic director Josh Brook said during his presentation to the board. “We can celebrate a touchdown, there are all kinds of things we can do. We’re planning on a few things. There’s a certain fourth-quarter tradition we have that might come into play. We’re working on some things I don’t want to reveal right now. But this should add to the game-day experience and the things we can do for fans.” Back in 2015, members of Georgia’s Redcoat Marching Band started a fourth-quarter tradition that has gained considerable momentum the last two seasons. After the third quarter ends, the band plays a song called Krypton. That’s alerts Georgia fans to pull out their cell phones and activate their flashlight apps and wave them up and down to the music toward the team on the field. The Bulldogs respond as well, holding up four fingers and acknowledging the crowd’s belief that the fourth quarter belongs to them. The synchronicity creates quite the scene and even has inspired video documentaries. The tradition has really taken off the last two seasons as the Bulldogs made runs to the SEC Championship and National Championship game. With the capability of the new LED lights, Sanford Stadium might be able to play along as well. Brooks said Georgia is one of the first NCAA stadiums to utilize the systems installed by Ephesus. The arena lighting specialists have done installations for the last three Super Bowl venues and will for next year’s game in Miami as well. “We can take lighting effects to the next level,” Brooks said. UGA DEPUTY AD JOSH BROOKS The post WATCH: Georgia aims to take its 4th-quarter, ‘Light Up Sanford’ tradition to a new level appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — It was just a statement buried within a UGA press release on Wednesday’s athletic board meeting, but it happened to be Kirby Smart, from whom we’ve heard very little over the last 51 days and nothing directly. Georgia’s football coach was commenting on Wednesday’s news that Greg McGarity had received a contract extension to continue as the Bulldogs’ athletic director. “Greg’s been a great resource for me since coming to Georgia and has always been supportive and energetic about all the things that are necessary to develop and maintain a successful football program,’’ Smart said in the release prepared by UGA sports communications staff. “I’m especially appreciative of his commitment to facilities. Greg is loyal to the University and has what is best for Georgia as his top priority.’’ McGarity certainly has been a strong supporter of Smart and the football program. Since taking over as the Bulldogs’ head coach, McGarity has seen that Smart’s requests for facility improvements got approved and completed fast. Upon Smart’s appointment in December of 2015, the Bulldogs were in the process of breaking ground on a $31 million indoor practice facility. That building was dedicated as the William & Porter Payne Indoor Athletic Center in January of 2017. After that, McGarity filled Smart’s request for a new locker room and recruiting lounge to be constructed in the West End of Sanford Stadium. That $63 million dollar project was completed and dedicated before the 2018 season. Meanwhile, Smart’s latest request seems to be coming on line quickly. UGA already is raising funds and drawing up plans for a new football-dedicated building to be added to the Butts-Mehre Complex on South Campus. Architectural design concepts are due to be submitted to the athletic board by the time it meets again in May. At that time, the size, layout and cost of the new addition will be revealed. The multi-million dollar project could commence as early as 2020. Georgia teams have won eight national championships since McGarity’s arrival in August of 2010. The latest came last week when the women’s team won the NCAA Indoor Championship. “Greg’s leadership and continued support instill confidence in our coaches, student-athletes, and sports programs in general,’’ said Lu Harris-Champer who just began her 19th season as head coach of the UGA softball team.  ‘’He is totally committed to providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes to be successful in competition and in the classroom.  Greg is a great facilitator of success.’’ McGarity’s extension was the only personnel news to come out of the board’s winter meeting. The group also voted unanimously to allocate $8.5 million toward the new grandstand at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The post Georgia coach Kirby Smart thanks Greg McGarity for unwavering support of football appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — A   stuffed miniature bulldog made for a controversial ending at Georgia on Wednesday night in Mississippi State’s 68-67 victory. UGA rallied from 17 points down to tie the game at 67-67 before State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon was fouled with 0.5 seconds remaining and went to the free-throw line for two shots. As Weatherspoon’s first free-throw attempt rattled out, a small stuffed bulldog landed on the court behind him inside the 3-point arc. WATCH: Stuffed bulldog tossed on Georgia court, officials call technical UGA coach Tom Crean went to the scorer’s table and got on the microphone, urging fans not to throw anything else on the court. But seconds later, without any more fan interaction, official Steven Anderson assessed Georgia a technical. Weatherspoon, knowing he had an extra shot coming, sank the technical free-throw attempt for the game-winning margin. “I’ve never seen that, not without a warning, and certainly not without an explanation,” Georgia coach Tom Crean said, clearly baffled by the technical foul. “The rule says you’ve got to be able to know who did it.” There were some Mississippi State fans in attendance, but the referees did not identify the fan who threw the stuffed bulldog at the time of the infraction. UGA athletic director Greg McGarity conceded it’s a judgement call, but not one he had seen applied in that situation. There hadn’t been any prior fan issues out of the crowd of 7,153, some of whom had left after UGA appeared hopelessly behind. Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said he was just happy to get out of Athens with a win and protect his Bulldogs’ NCAA Tournament resume. “Well I feel very fortunate to sneak out of here with a win tonight,” said Howland, whose team has won three straight to improve to 19-7 and 7-6 in the SEC. “That’s a huge play, someone throwing a little bulldog. “I don’t know who did that, but man I would be so frustrated if I were his team, the University of Georgia, to have that happen. That was crazy.” The timing of the technical foul seemed all the more odd, as the officials did not call a technical immediately after the object was thrown. It wasn’t until after Crean grabbed the microphone and asked the crowd not to throw any more items on the court that the technical foul was called, and the extra free-throw awarded. Did the stuffed baby bulldog decide the game? “It’s the whole woulda coulda shoulda, but you miss the first, maybe you miss the second and go into overtime, but we’re never going to know,” said Crean, whose team dropped its seventh straight game to fall to 10-16 and 1-12 in SEC play. “I’m just perplexed that no one out there would tell me what’s going on. It makes zero sense to me. “We’ll deal with it behind the scenes.” Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean Mississippi State coach Ben Howland   The post WATCH: Stuffed baby bulldog triggers decisive technical in Georgia’s 68-67 loss appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS —Mississippi State scratched out a win over Georgia on Wednesday night, winning the battle of Bulldogs by a 68-67 count at Stegeman Coliseum. Mississippi State won the game at the free-throw line in the final second. Quinndary Weatherspoon hit one of three free-throw attempts with 0.5 seconds left after being fouled by Jordan Harris on a shot attempt. Weatherspoon was granted an extra free-throw attempt via a technical called on UGA because a fan threw an item on the court. State had used a 19-0 run to pull away in the final stages of the first half and opening minutes of the second half before the crowd of 7,153. Coach Ben Howland’s team came from 25-23 down to take a commanding 42-25 lead on Weatherspoon’s drive at the 18:31 mark. Georgia (10-16, 1-12) roared back, tying the game 67-67 on Tyree Crump’s 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds left. UGA, however, couldn’t finish the job, dropping its seventh straight dating back to the 98-88 win over Texas on Jan. 26. Weatherspoon(10-16, 1-12) scored a career-high 31 points on 11-of-19 shooting for Mississippi State (19-7, 7-6 SEC), including a pair of free throws with 15.6 seconds left to give his team a 67-64 cushion. UGA star Nicolas Claxton, who entered the night one of five Division I players leading his team in all five major statistical categories, finished with 9 points and 9 rebounds. Claxton didn’t score his first points until the 3:54 mark, giving Georgia a 24-20 lead. Moments later, Claxton committed his second foul, and Coach Tom Crean made what proved to be a critical decision to take him out of the game, likely contributing to the key MSU run. Mississippi State held a 36-25 lead at halftime, breaking away with the   16-1 (and 13-0) run the final 3:16. Weatherspoon led the charge, scoring 12 of those 16 points as State hit on its final seven shots of the first half. Georgia, meanwhile, committed four of its seven opening half turnovers in the final 3 1/2   minutes. Mississippi State firmed up its NCAA Tournament resume with the victory, its third in a row. Georgia returns to action at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Ole Miss (TV: SEC Network). The Rebels beat the Bulldogs by an 80-64 count in Athens earlier this month, on Feb. 9. It’s the first of five regular season games remaining for Georgia, which returns to the Classic City for a home game against Auburn at 9 p.m. next Wednesday. UGA finishes with games at Florida (March 2), at home against Missouri (March 6) and at South Carolina (March 9) before traveling to Nashville for the SEC Tournament (March 13-17). The post Mississippi State claws out 68-67, last-second win over Georgia appeared first on DawgNation.