Hoop Dawgs Lose Big to Winthrop

ATHENS -- Last week, Georgia basketball coach Dennis Felton was disappointed his team didn't get to face Florida A&M standout Terrence Woods, who missed the game due to suspension. Felton wanted to see how much progress his Bulldogs had made in defending a premier scorer.

He found out Tuesday night in an embarrassing 80-60 loss to Winthrop, and now he's probably hoping for a rash of suspensions for Bulldog opponents. It may be the only chance this group has to be competitive.

Tyrone Walker and James Shuler, the Eagles' two most consistent scoring threats, combined for 38 points in front of 6,458 in Stegeman Coliseum as the Bulldogs fell to 4-2. Thirty-four of Shuler and Walker's points came in the first 27 minutes.

"We had some unbelievable breakdowns, myself included," said Georgia senior Jonas Hayes.

Walker was 7 of 9 from the floor and had 20 points. Shuler was 7 of 10 and had 18.

"Clearly, we didn't defend and rebound the way you have to tonight," Felton said. "That's the bottom line. They played harder than we did."

Until Tuesday, Georgia had won all three matchups with Winthrop by an average of 35.3 points. The Bulldogs play again Saturday at 3 p.m. against Clemson in Philips Arena as part of the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Classic.

"I don't think this is the end of our season," Hayes said. "It's just a breakdown that cost us a game. You don't forget about games like this, but you put them in the distant memory."

The Eagles, who lost to Samford five days ago, improved to 5-2. As the clock wound down, two dozen Winthop fans chanted, "This is our house, this is our house."

"This win has to be in the top 10 ever," Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall said. "This is a special win. Georgia's going through some tough times right now. Coach Felton and his club are going through some growing pains."

The Bulldogs didn't play much defense on any of the Eagles. Overall, Winthrop shot 59 percent, including 50 percent from behind the 3-point line.

"They hit good shots, and we didn't have enough effort tonight on the defensive end," said point guard Rashad Wright, who led the Bulldogs with 15 points.

Dennis Felton first became concerned in November, when his team gave up 44 points to Western Carolina's Kevin Martin. Then the Bulldogs dodged a bullet by not having to face Woods, the nation's leading 3-point shooter last year.

Shuler hit six of his seven first half shots and scored 10 in a row at one point to break a 19-19 tie. His twirling jumper with 7:25 left in the half put Winthrop up 29-21.

The Bulldogs pulled within two but hit only one field goal in the final 6:15 of the half as Winthrop built a 41-29 lead at the break. Georgia never rallied, trailing by double digits throughout the second half.

"You earn your wins and losses," Felton said. "They earned their win, and we certainly earned our loss."

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