Dawgs win 78-67

ATHENS -- The 2004 Georgia basketball team isn't going to get many masterpieces.

With only one upperclassman on the roster and just seven scholarship players, complete games aren't going to come around very often. The Bulldogs will settle, though, for what they got Wednesday night in Stegeman Coliseum.

Georgia won its fourth straight by beating Bethune-Cookman 78-67 in a game that showcased some of its best traits and some of its worst. It's the Bulldogs' first official four-game winning streak since December of 2001. All their winning streaks between then and now were forfeited due to NCAA sanctions.

The Bulldogs (5-3) shot a season-best 53 percent from the floor but continued their wretched free throw shooting, hitting just 57 percent from the line.

"We're starting to develop some patience and persistence offensively," Coach Dennis Felton said. "The players are starting to put together some positive experiences as to how good it feel when you do it the right way."

Defensively, the Bulldogs played aggressively and got 11 steals, including nine in the first half, and forced 21 turnovers out of the Wildcats (3-6). On the down side, they allowed Bethune-Cookman to shoot 56 percent from the floor, the best of any Bulldog opponent this season.

"Some of the shots they made really disappointed me in terms of where our defense was, but some of the shots we were right there," Felton said. "We underestimated their willingness and ability to shoot the deep three."

The Wildcats hit 10 of their 19 3-pointers and were led by Diondre Larmond, who scored 22 points thanks mainly to 5 of 7 shooting from behind the 3-point line.

Bethune-Cookman hit three straight 3-pointers in a 58-second span midway through the second half to pull within six points but could get no closer.

Georgia was led by guards Levi Stukes and Sundiata Gaines, who each scored 17 points. Guard Channing Toney added 15.

"With the offense we run, it's basically a guard offense," Stukes said.

Forward Steve Newman had a complete game, with eight points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals. And "defensively he was actually awfully good today," Felton said.

Freshman center Dave Bliss fouled out for the fourth time in five games, going to the bench with 3:10 remaining after scoring 10 points and grabbing two rebounds.

The Bulldogs don't play again until Dec. 28 when Savannah State comes to Stegeman Coliseum. The Wildcats also play Savannah State next, but they'll wait until Jan. 3 to do it.

"We've got to come back ready to practice and finish off this month strong and go into SEC play with a good record," Gaines said.

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