An 18-point win is impressive, but what is even more impressive is that Georgia's 86-68 win came on the road in conference play. Georgia has proved over the last few months that they are the best road team, save perhaps Alabama in their current winning streak, in the SEC.
But even Alabama has not beaten Kentucky and Florida on the road. In this road win for the Dawgs, the star was Steve Thomas.
"To come in here and beat them by 18 blows my mind. Steve Thomas was the guy tonight for us. He carried us through the first half. Mississippi State had a hard time guarding him in the second half." Georgia coach Jim Harrick said.
Thomas played 32 minutes and scored 21 points and gathered 10 rebounds. His return to the Georgia lineup has been a successful one of late. It has allowed Jonas Hayes and Chris Daniels some leeway with aggressive play because they no longer have to concern themselves so much with fouls.
Georgia's starters were all in double figures with the exception of forwards Daniels, who managed only 4 points but rebounded seven balls and shot 67% from the field.
Harrick was once again impressive in his coaching schemes. Last weekend Ole Miss was pounding the ball inside and for the first half the Rebels were able to dictate the pace of the game. The same thing was occurring in Georgia's game with the Rebel's arch rival State, but Harrick again made the correct decision to move to a zone defense and put pressure on the post player when he had the ball.
The move paid off because State was not able to shoot out of the zone, and although the Bulldogs rallied in the second half, Georgia proved too much in the end. It was the first time since 1991 that Georgia had beaten State in Starkville and it was the first loss for State at home in their last ten home games.
|Georgia forward Chris Daniels (50) battles Mississippi State guard Derrick Zimmerman for a second half rebound, Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2002 in Starkville, Miss. (Rogelio Solis, AP)|
Tennessee Shocks Kentucky; helps Georgia in the process.
Kentucky, one of the hottest teams in the conference of late, was upset in Knoxville Wednesday night. The win by Tennessee gave Georgia more breathing room in their quest to win the SEC East and severely damaged Kentucky's hope of catching Georgia in the East.