It's the Jarvis & Ezra Show

Tennessee basketball had Ernie and Bernie. Georgia basketball has Jarvis and Ezra.

Jarvis Hayes and Ezra Williams may be the best 1-2 scoring punch in the Southeastern Conference. Hayes averages 18.2 points per game, Williams 17.1. If they are on target Wednesday night against visiting Tennessee, the Vols' chances of upsetting the No. 19 Bulldogs can be summed up as (A) slim and (B) none.

''The key is Jarvis Hayes and Williams,'' UT head man Buzz Peterson concedes. ''If they get hot -- if they have big games -- they're going to win. There's no doubt.''

The Vol coach says stopping Hayes is particularly challenging.

''It's a tough challenge for our players,'' he said. ''We've got to do it by committee ... a team concept on defense. He's going to get his points. He can do so much. He can shoot it from outside, he can attack off the dribble, he likes to post up. He's strong and has big hands. He's a tough match-up ... a tough match-up for anybody.''

Hayes and Williams owe a great deal of their success to the unselfish and virtually mistake-free play of junior point guard Rashad Wright. Wright averages 8.4 points and 5.7 assists per game but the key stat is this: In Georgia's first three SEC games, he has dished out 18 assists, while committing just one turnover.

''Rashad Wright knows his role,'' Peterson says. ''He has an 18-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in SEC games, and that's pretty outstanding. He knows his role -- get the ball to those shooters (Hayes and Williams). Wright is an unsung hero. Nobody talks about him a whole lot.''

Rounding out Georgia's starting five are Chris Daniels and Steve Thomas. Both are big bangers in the 6-7, 230-pound range. Both average 7 rebounds per game.

''Thomas has helped 'em out a lot inside, and Daniels is a workhorse,'' Peterson says. ''He had his best game of the year down there last year when we played 'em. He's relentless on the boards.''

In addition to great scoring potential, Georgia appears to have some luck going for it. The Bulldogs easily could've lost five of their first six games this season.

''They have the No. 1 RPI and they've played the most difficult schedule in the country,'' Peterson notes. ''They went on the road (to start the season) and were very close to being 1-5. They won by one point at Colorado and beat Cal-Berkeley in overtime. If they'd lost those, they could've been 1-5 coming back home.''

Tennessee (9-4 overall, 2-2 SEC) is given little chance of upsetting the homestanding Bulldogs (10-4, 2-1), so a Vol victory would be a huge plus.

''This conference game is very important,'' Peterson says. ''Anytime you can go on the road and steal one, that's huge. We'd love to steal one Wednesday night.''


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