Dawgs beat Howard 78-72

ATHENS — Levi Stukes scored 22 points and Georgia outscored Howard 8-0 in a critical second-half run as the Bulldogs fought off the Bison 78-72 on Monday at Stegeman Coliseum.

Stukes, who grew up about an hour away from Washington, D.C., in Randallstown, Mary., was 4-of-14 from the floor, but he nailed 9-of-12 free throws.

The Bulldogs also got 16 points from Sundiata Gaines, 12 points from Channing Toney and 10 points from Billy Humphrey.

Georgia led throughout the first half, but Howard battled back to tie the game at 46-46 with 14:29 remaining. The Bulldogs responded with the 8-0 run, including four points by Stukes, to make it 54-46, and they were able to hold off the Bison down the stretch.

"It's very, very difficult to win a college basketball game, and this is a perfect example," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said. "There's no sure thing. Non-Division I teams are beating teams a lot more experienced than us. I'm just grateful that we survived. And we did a little better than survive. Down the stretch, we played with poise and were able to get the win."

Will Gant paced Howard with 13 points, while Eugene Myatt and Louis Ford each added 12 points.

The Bulldogs improved to 10-3 on the season, while the Bison dropped to 2-8.

"This is an easier game for us to play than Georgia," Howard coach Gill Jackson said. "We were very loose. I don't think they were up for us like they might have been for an SEC opponent."

Toney gave Georgia a 2-0 lead with a jumper 33 seconds into the game, and the Bulldogs led the rest of the way in the first half. Howard proved to be pesky for most of the first half, but Georgia did boost its edge to double digits in the closing minutes. The Bulldogs led by 14 at 42-28 with 14 seconds remaining on Stukes' two free throws, and Ford banked in a 3-pointer as time expired to pull the Bison within 42-31 at the break.

Stukes led the first-half charge with 13 points, including 3-of-4 3-pointers. Toney added eight, cashing in on all four of his free throws. Ford had seven in the first half to pace the Bison.

Howard is the alma mater for both Felton and assistant coach Mike Jones.

Georgia will return to action on Saturday at noon as it hosts Florida in the Southeastern Conference opener.

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