Georgia shocks No. 2 Pittsburgh

Published: Wednesday, January 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 31, 2002 at 11:35 p.m.
ATHENS, Ga. - Pittsburgh coach Ben Howland would be more upset at the Panthers missing an opportunity to become No. 1 if Tuesday's loss to Georgia were in April instead of December.
The Panthers wasted a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, losing to the Bulldogs 79-67 as Ezra Williams scored 20 points.
Second-ranked Pittsburgh (9-1) never has led The Associated Press poll. The 1987-88 team also reached No. 2, the only other time the Panthers have been ranked that high.
No. 1 Alabama lost at Utah on Monday night, opening the way for Pitt to move up.
"I don't think it was a big deal," Howland said. "The good thing about college basketball is that there's going to be a national champion that's decided in the NCAA tournament. It's not like football."
"As great as it would be to be ranked No. 1 in December, what's really important is come March and April, for everybody," Howland said.
Jarvis Hayes added 18 points for the Bulldogs (8-3), who won their seventh straight. It's the second straight season they've beaten a No. 2 team; they won 84-79 at Florida in January.
Coach Jim Harrick hardly took time to savor the victory, quickly turning his attention to the next two games on the schedule - home against No. 21 LSU and at No. 12 Florida.
"The games coming up are more important for us," Harrick said. "LSU and Florida and the 14 coming up after that."
  • NO. 19 XAVIER 75, NO. 15 CREIGHTON 73: David West scored a season-high 28 points, including a tiebreaking bank shot with 4 seconds left, as No. 19 Xavier (9-2) beat No. 15 Creighton, ending the Bluejays' best run in 60 years.
    Tyler McKinney's off-balance 3-point shot went high off the backboard at the buzzer, as Creighton (10-1) lost for the first time.
  • NO. 17 INDIANA 76, BALL ST. 62: Bracey Wright hit five 3-pointers and tied a career high with 31 points as No. 17 Indiana (9-2) beat Ball State (5-5), in a game that Hoosiers coach Mike Davis sat out because of suspension.
  • MISSISSIPPI 57, SAMFORD 49: Justin Reed scored 15 points and had seven rebounds as host Mississippi beat Samford.
    Ole Miss (9-2) extended its home winning streak to 20 by shaking off Samford (4-7), which kept the score close until the end.
    Reed was 4-for-7 from the field and 7-for-12 from the free throw line.
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