Hoop Dawgs fall Hard

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Georgia came down hard Wednesday from the high of upsetting then-No. 3 Georgia Tech.

Four days after increasing hopes for the season by knocking off the rival Yellow Jackets, the Bulldogs fell to a more expected level and were whipped 89-65 by Tennessee in their SEC opener.

Depth-challenged Georgia struggled all over the court but most notably with defense and fouls on the way to falling to 8-4 overall and 0-1 in the league.

"We didn't play hard from the jump," said point guard Rashad Wright. "It was a mental thing. Everybody on this team has to be a collective. Everybody has to play hard."

Coach Dennis Felton said his team looked tired coming off the double-overtime Tech game, but the Bulldogs said their problems had more to do with concentration.

"We just didn't get our stuff together mentally," said Jonas Hayes.

"They came in and showed us how you need to play to win in the SEC."

The Volunteers (9-1 overall, 1-0 SEC), who were led by Scooter McFadgon's 31 points, came within percentage points of setting the school record for 3-point percentage. Their 63.2 percent on 12 of 19 shooting was plenty, though. It was the most 3-pointers surrendered by the Bulldogs since Jan. 26, 2002, when Vanderbilt hit 15.

"(The Volunteers) were obviously very, very efficient against us," Felton said. "We just had a tough night all the way around, in every area. We just couldn't get a grip on this game."

All of the Bulldog starters had at least three fouls and two players

-- Chris Daniels and Steve Newman -- fouled out. The fouls forced Felton to go to his bench in the first half, which is never a good sign for Georgia.

"It's just a real cold reminder of how we've got so little room for error," Felton said.

Damien Wilkins led Georgia with 19 points and was followed closely by freshman Levi Stukes, who had a career-high 18.

The Bulldogs had to rally to trail by 42-31 at halftime. After starting the game up 4-0, Georgia hit one field goal and scored four points in a nine-minute, 48-second in which Tennessee opened up a 27-8 lead.

The Volunteers made another run to open the second half, outscoring Georgia 19-4 to extend their lead to 61-35 with 13:39 left in the game.

Georgia has just three days to recover from this beating before it plays its first conference home game of the season Saturday when South Carolina comes to Stegeman Coliseum for a 5 p.m. game.

"It's tough, but it's the SEC," said forward Chris Daniels, who fouled out with just five points and six rebounds. "We have to get ready. It's not going to get any easier."

NOTES: Former Georgia signee Jordan Howell is now a Volunteer, but he didn't dress out for Wednesday's game and isn't expected to play this season due to mononucleosis. ... Freshman forward Steve Newman had his worst outing of the year, missing all nine shots he took and fouling out in the final minute.

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