ATLANTA (AP) — The winter storm that swept through the Southeast left plans for many games in a deep freeze. Even the NBA couldn’t overcome the ice and snow which covered Atlanta and the Deep South.
The Detroit Pistons’ game against the Atlanta Hawks set for Wednesday night was postponed. The Pistons were unable to make their scheduled flight into Atlanta on Tuesday night from Detroit. No date was immediately announced for the rescheduled game.
Georgia and Georgia Tech stuck with plans for home games against Vanderbilt and North Carolina, respectively. Planned TV coverage for each game was scrapped due to travel concerns for production trucks and crews. Georgia offered free streaming of its game on www.georgiadogs.com .
Alabama’s game at Auburn planned for Wednesday night was moved to Thursday. Other Southeastern Conference games were to be played as scheduled.
The winter storm trapped thousands of motorists on Atlanta’s frozen interstates, including Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Tennessee coach Butch Jones, Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman and Georgia Tech sports information director Dean Buchan.
Freeman tweeted he was stuck for 11 hours before being rescued by former teammate Chipper Jones on Jones’ 4-wheeler.
“A moment I’ll never forget!,” Freeman said on his Twitter account before adding that Jones “hugged me the whole way home!”
Butch Jones also tweeted a photo showing he was stuck in Atlanta traffic. Jones, a Michigan native, included the hashtags “SnowintheSouth” and “MichiganderProblems.”
Herman was stuck on an Atlanta interstate for 19 hours before finally abandoning his rental car on Wednesday morning. Herman said on his Twitter account he began walking with his luggage, fell at least five times, and then caught a ride to the airport.
Herman didn’t respond to an interview request on Wednesday. Ohio State spokesman Jerry Emig said Herman was on a recruiting trip near Atlanta. Emig said Herman called the car rental company and was instructed to park the car, turn the keys in at the airport and let the company know the location of the vehicle.
Herman tweeted that before walking he was stranded “with hundreds of my closest friends. Too much ice and accidents to move.” After getting to the airport, he tweeted, “Now boarding the plane. Please pray for those still on the roads. Probably 24 hrs til cleared.”
Another coach, Syracuse’s Scott Shafer, also was in Atlanta and mocked the city’s weather problems on his Twitter account. Shafter tweeted “2 inches of snow, city and airport shutdown ATL.” He added the hashtag “softnosed.”
Buchan told The Associated Press on Wednesday morning he was stuck in his car on I-285 through Tuesday night. He said he was in his car for 19 ½ hours before finally making it home Wednesday morning.
Georgia coach Mark Fox used his Twitter account to encourage students to brave the winter weather and attend Wednesday night’s men’s basketball game against Vanderbilt.
Fox told the students they were needed because Atlanta “is a straight up mess” and fans wouldn’t be able to make the drive to Athens due to the winter storm.
Georgia announced students will have no admission charge for the game.
The winter storm affected other schedules, including high school games, in many parts of the South:
— In Alabama: The UAB-Charlotte women’s game scheduled for Wednesday was postponed.
— In Georgia: The Georgia State men’s basketball game against South Alabama scheduled for Thursday night was rescheduled for Monday after the South Alabama team was unable to travel to Atlanta. Reinhardt postponed its planned doubleheader for men’s and women’s games with St. Andrews.
— In Tennessee: Division II North Greenville University’s game was postponed at King University in Bristol, Tenn. Also, Kennesaw State men’s basketball games originally scheduled for Thursday and Saturday have been pushed back one day to Friday and Sunday at USC Upstate and at East Tennessee State, respectively. Mercer is playing at East Tennessee State on Friday instead of Thursday. USC Upstate’s game at East Tennessee State planned for Monday has been postponed and will be rescheduled.
— In North Carolina: The Tusculum men’s and women’s doubleheader at Mars Hill was postponed and rescheduled for Thursday.
— In South Carolina: Samford’s game at Furman, scheduled for Thursday night, was postponed until Monday night.
AP Sports Writer Rusty Miller in Columbus, Ohio contributed to this report.