Senior point guard Rashad Wright turned in another spectacular defensive effort, and scored 22 points, to carry the Bulldogs past Tennessee 71-60 in front of 10,523 fans in Stegeman Coliseum. The win gave Georgia its first three-game winning streak in the conference and pushed it to 14-10 overall and 6-7 in the SEC.
"We haven't been scoring a lot of points, but we've been manhandling
people on defense, especially Rashad," forward Chris Daniels said.
last three or four games, he's pretty much taken out the point guard."
Not only did Wright register the second-highest scoring total of his
career, but he held Tennessee sophomore C.J. Watson to the first field
goal-less game of his career. Watson was 0-for-8 and finished with a
season-low four points.
"The thing that jumps right out at you is C.J. Watson going
Coach Dennis Felton said. "That's major."
The last three point guards Georgia has played -- Watson, Kentucky's
Cliff Hawkins and Florida's Anthony Roberson -- have shot 6 of 31 from
the floor, including 3 of 18 from behind the 3-point line.
"We're behind this man right here," forward Jonas Hayes said
Wright walked into the locker room after the game.
Wright's teammates did indeed fall in behind him on the defensive end
and held shooting guard Scooter McFadgon, the SEC's third-leading
scorer, to 13 mostly meaningless points. McFadgon, who came in averaging
18.4 points, had seven points in the first 33 minutes.
"Rashad could do all that, and we could waste his effort by not
pushing into the passing lanes behind him," Felton said. "We want to
splinter their team and turn them into 1-on-1 players. We were talking
as a coaching staff at halftime that it seemed that they had abandoned
all their sets and were just playing off the drive. That's when you know
our defense has been effective."
Overall, Tennessee committed 19 turnovers and hit just 2 of 11 3-point
"You can tell in the last several games (Georgia is) much more
physical on the basketball than they were the first time we played
them," Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson said. "They really got up into
He didn't have a field goal, and we've got to have him knock a couple of
those down, but the reason he didn't was them getting into him and
making it difficult for him."
Wright hit twice as many 3-pointers as the Vols and finished 4 of 7
from behind the line. He put the game away with a 3-pointer with 2:44
left that gave Georgia a 61-51 lead.
"The reason he shot it very well is our team passed it extremely
well," Felton said. "Of his seven 3s, I can't remeber one that was a
tough shot or a bad shot except for that quick 3 in transition."
Saturday's result was a 35-point turnaround from the teams' first
meeting, when the Volunteers (13-10, 5-7) beat Georgia 89-65 in the SEC
opener for both teams.
"This is probably the toughest kind of team for us to match up with
because they are big and very athletic," Felton said.
The game featured six ties and seven lead changes in the first half.
The Volunteers opened their biggest lead of the game when Brandon Crump
scored with five minutes left in the first half to put Tennessee up
25-19. Crump led the Vols with 18 points on 6 of 8 shooting but fouled
out. (Watson also fouled out and four other Vols finished the game with
Georgia slowly inched back into the game and tied the score at 27-27
following an intentional foul called on McFadgon against Georgia's Levi Stukes that led to a confrontation between the teams. By the time
officials separated the players, Georgia's Marcus Sikes and Tennessee's
Dane Bradshaw and Jemere Hendrix had been whistled for technicals.
The Bulldogs took the lead for good when Jonas Hayes hit a 15-foot
jump shot on the final possession of the half to put Georgia up 31-29.
Hayes finished with 16, and Damien Wilkins had 18 for the Bulldogs.
The game remained close for the first 15 minutes of the second half,
and Tennessee trailed by just one when McFadgon hit a circus shot and
was fouled. His free throw cut the Vols' deficit to one at 51-50 with
6:50 remaining, but Georgia scored 12 of the next 14 points to put the
"It was another good positive step forward for our team,"
"I really like the way we battled the whole game."
Georgia now must continue its winning streak on the road, where it has
won just once this season, on Jan. 17 against Kentucky. The Bulldogs
play South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., on Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. Georgia
has three more games in the regular season and probably needs to win at
least two of them to give itself a shot at an NCAA Tournament berth.
"We couldn't have lost this game and still had aspirations of going
the tournament," Hayes said. "We need to keep this thing going for
Hoop Dawgs Extend Winning Streak
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