No. 10 Kentucky Drops SEC Battle To Georgia, 78-69

Feb 16, 2002

Box Score

AP Sports Writer

ATHENS, Ga. - Ezra Williams was determined not to have Georgia lose three games in a row.

"It's been real emotional this week," Williams said Saturday after scoring 20 points to lead the 21st-ranked Bulldogs to a 78-69 victory over No. 10 Kentucky.

Williams had been grieving the death of his brother, Antwonne, who was shot in the Atlanta area last Saturday.

"I spent a lot of time with my family and some of them were at the game today," Williams said. "I had to focus on basketball. That's what my brother would have wanted me to do. I wasn't going to let us lose the game."

Jarvis Hayes added 19 points as the Bulldogs (19-7, 8-5 Southeastern Conference) completed a sweep of their regular-season meetings with the Wildcats for the first time since 1986-87 and posted two consecutive victories over the Wildcats (17-7, 7-5) for only the fifth time in the series.

Steve Thomas added 16 points and 12 rebounds and Rashad Wright 10 points as the Bulldogs prevented Kentucky from posting its 100th victory in 118 meetings. The Wildcats had won seven in a row at Georgia and 10 of 11.

Gerald Fitch and Tayshaun Prince each scored 17 points for the Wildcats and Marquis Estill added 14.

"We won with our defense," Georgia coach Jim Harrick said after his team held the Wildcats to 35.7 percent shooting, only the fourth time all season they shot below 40 percent.

"We ran our offense very well in the second half," Harrick said. "We just played real well."

"The story of the game was we didn't make shots," coach Tubby Smith said. "We struggled with our 3-point shooting (6 for 28). It makes for a long game. Georgia did a good job defensively."

The Bulldogs played the first half without starter Chris Daniels, suspended by SEC commissioner Roy Kramer for throwing an elbow in a game against Auburn last Saturday. The infraction wasn't called a foul during the game, but Kramer was sent a videotape.

Daniels returned for the second half, scoring eight points with seven rebounds and two assists.

The teams were tied 32-all at halftime, but Georgia went in front to stay at 35-34 when Williams converted a three-point play with 19:04 to play. It started a 10-0 run for the Bulldogs that ended on a Hayes layup from Daniels with 17:02 to go.

Kentucky closed to 44-42 on a Prince layup at the 14:50 mark, but the Wildcats never got closer. With Georgia leading 65-60, Hayes made a 3-pointer with 3:02 left.

Hayes said he really had intended to take the shot.

"They had a little momentum," he said. "I was open. I wasn't going to shoot it, but I had to. I was very surprised I was open."