Georgia SEC Notebook

ATLANTA -- Georgia point guard Rashad Wright carried his team to two upsets over Kentucky during the regular season.

Friday, Kentucky's Cliff Hawkins fought back. Wright and Hawkins each led their teams with 23 points, but Hawkins got the last laugh with the game-clinching 3-pointer with 1:48 remaining.

Wright had just pulled Georgia within one with a 3-pointer of his own with 2:29 left when Hawkins hit from the left side to help put the Bulldogs away.

"Rashad Wright was supposed to be the defensive player of the year. Cliff took it personally," Kentucky forward Erik Daniels said. "I think that got him going. I think he thinks he's the best."

Hawkins played much more aggressively than he did in the first two games and also finished with two assists and four steals. His point total eclipsed his combined scoring from the first two games.

"He did a lot more penetrating, trying to create for his team," Wright said. "That helped his team a lot."

Wright wasn't bad either. He had five assists and four rebounds in addition to his 23 points, and he tried to take the game over in the final five minutes. He took four straight shots with the game on the line, making just one.

"When I saw (Hawkins) stepping up, I had to step up," Wright said.

"That's probably two of the best point guards in the SEC, and they were doing battle," Georgia's Jonas Hayes said.

Georgia coach Dennis Felton wasn't surprised to see his senior guard play well in a big game.

"I always expect the best of Rashad," he said. "The more fierce the competition, the better I expect him to be. Players like that don't come around too often."

FADING FAST: Freshman guard Levi Stukes admitted that fatigue was the major factor in his dramatic drop in performance against the Wildcats. Stukes hit 8 of 12 3-pointers and scored a career-high 25 points in the Bulldogs' first round win over Auburn. However, he scored just three points against Kentucky, missing five of six 3-point attempts.

"I didn't really have my legs under me," he said.

Stukes sat in a hot tub before the game trying to relax. Trainer Mike Clanton later told Stukes that wasn't a good idea. "I was a little sluggish the whole game," he said.

Felton, though, gave the Wildcats most of the credit for Stukes' poor performance.

"He's never seen that kind of intensity from a team," Felton said. "He just looked a tad rushed."

BIG, BLUE HAZE: Felton wasn't surprised that his team's fans were outnumbered at least 5-to-1 in what has become known every March as Catlanta. That doesn't mean he's happy about it, and he pointed out that officials face a fierce reprimand every time they make a call against the Wildcats in the Georgia Dome.

"I don't think it helps that the building is a Kentucky building," he said. "That's one of the areas where we have to educate our fans that we are dead serious about basketball these days. Don't sit back expecting us to be better than Kentucky when that's a major area of our program that doesn't measure up."

FIRST LOSS: Friday's loss was Felton's first against Kentucky. He entered the game 3-0 with one win at Western Kentucky and two at Georgia.

"I didn't expect to go undefeated against them," he said. "I was already bucking the odds, right?"

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