Dawgs roll past SC State

ATHENS – Jonas Hayes returned to Stegeman Coliseum on Tuesday evening and marveled at what he saw.

Hayes, who played for Dennis Felton's first Georgia basketball team in 2003-04, came back as an assistant coach for South Carolina State and watched his old Bulldogs beat his new Bulldogs 105-60 in front of an announced crowd of 5,399.

"I think they're an NCAA Tournament team," Hayes said. "They're a lot more fluid on offense. They run around. They ran circles around us."

It was Georgia's second straight 105-point output and marked the first time the Bulldogs (3-1) have scored 100 or more in back-to-back games since 1993. Georgia hadn't scored more than 100 points under fourth-year coach Dennis Felton before last week.

"I was really pleased that we had two straight games where we played the way we wanted to play," Felton said.

Georgia took 68 shots and made 62 percent of them, including 57 percent from behind the 3-point line. Sophomore guard Mike Mercer led the way with a career high in points (26) and assists (six) while shooting 9-for-15, including 5-for-8 from behind the 3-point line.

"He was really in a groove, playing with good poise and purpose, rarely getting out of control," Felton said. "That shows a lot of improvement on his part."

Forward Takais Brown and swing man Terrance Woodbury each added 13 points, and starting point guard Sundiata Gaines had nine assists and two turnovers in 26 minutes of play.

"Imagine what he would have done if he had played his normal amount of minutes," Felton said.

As a team, the Bulldogs had a Felton-era high 32 assists and just 11 turnovers. The last time Georgia had as many assists was November 1999 against Grambling.

Still, Mercer said his team needs to realize its offense won't come as easy once the competition level improves.

"You go out here and you play a team like that and you beat them how we did, it can give you a false confidence that you can go out there every night and do the same thing, and that's not the case," he said. "We've just got to bring it every night."

Felton was fine with the pace, he said.

"Since we started rebuilding our roster and gaining some depth, which kind of started last year, we emphasized that we really want to be aggressive in every phase of the game, and that includes running to offense," he said.

South Carolina State (0-3), which took 67 shots but hit just 34 percent of them, was led by Travis Jones' 12 points.

Hayes, who was a three-year letterman at Georgia from 2002-2004, is in his first year at the school. He was disappointed with Tuesday's outcome, he said, but happy to see his former team making progress.

"They remind so much of our 2002 team," he said. "They picked us fifth or sixth in the division, and we won our side. That team has that capability."

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