ATHENS - The Georgia men's basketball team got perhaps its best victory of the season on Saturday, a 78-68 win over Tennessee. And it came after a last-second loss at Vanderbilt that could have been emotionally devastating.
How did the Bulldogs recover? According to head coach Mark Fox, it came with an assist from Mark Richt.
Fox said he got home around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, and had trouble getting to sleep, still upset over his team losing a 17-point lead, and a last-second Commodores shot to win it.
Around 6 a.m., Fox heard from Richt.
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“Two words,” Richt said, according to Fox. "Waffle House."
That's become their place: The two had gone there last year as a reward for Richt’s new contract. And on Thursday morning they would go again.
"He paid, too," Fox said.
Richt also spoke to Fox's players on Friday. And a day later, whether it was because of Richt or not, they were able to get back to .500 in SEC play.
“We got us a great football coach," Fox said. "And (Friday) he shared a lot of his thoughts with the team, about how proud he was of them. How we had been in every game for the last six weeks, having a chance to win it. And just tried to encourage them to get off the mat and fight again. That’s what I love about Georgia, we’ve got great coaches here that support each other, and support each other’s teams.”
Richt and Fox are good friends. A couple years ago when Richt's fortunes were down, Fox was there to pick him back up. This year, with Fox's team struggling, Richt has returned the favor, tweeting his support for Fox, and speaking to the team.
Of course, when Georgia started Saturday's game with six turnovers in five minutes ...
"I said, That's the last time Mark Richt talks to our basketball team," Fox said.
But the Bulldogs turned it around. They are now 14-15 overall and 8-8 in the SEC.