Published: Monday, January 6, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 6, 2003 at 1:39 a.m.
ATHENS, Ga. - Following the advice of Georgia coach Jim Harrick, Ezra Williams let the game come to him - and then he took it over.
Williams scored 11 of his 25 points during a game-changing run in the second half as Georgia beat No. 21 LSU 89-63 on Sunday, the Bulldogs' second straight victory over a Top 25 team.
Georgia (9-3), which beat second-ranked Pittsburgh 79-67 last Tuesday, has won eight straight and likely will re-enter The Associated Press poll when its released Monday.
"I came out in the first half and I was kind of anxious," Williams said. "The second half, Coach just stressed to just be patient and get lost in the game. That's what I did in the second half."
Jarvis Hayes added 20 points for the Bulldogs in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
The Tigers (9-2) had won seven in a row, including an upset of then-No. 1 Arizona on Dec. 21, but they shot only 42 percent against Georgia.
"If we'd played our best game, we still couldn't have beaten this team," LSU coach John Brady said. "Georgia was better than us."
Jaime Lloreda led LSU with 17 points and Ronald Dupree had 16.
The Bulldogs took a 10-point lead early in the second half behind Williams and Chris Daniels. They combined for all the points in an 18-11 spurt, and Williams hit his first six shots of the half. He finally missed with about three minutes left, but by then, Georgia led by 23 points.
"I got a rebound, had a couple of assists, and after that, everything just took off," Williams said of his hot streak.
He found all the motivation he needed in comments made earlier in the week by Dupree, who said LSU had an advantage over Georgia because of newcomers such as Lloreda.
"I think I play better when I've got somebody in my face talking trash," Williams said.
After the game, Dupree acknowledged Georgia was the better team - on this day, anyway.
"A team shoots like that, they can beat any team in the country," Dupree said. "But we'll be back, and we'll probably meet them again. It'll definitely be a different story next time."
Georgia pulled away with starters Daniels and Steve Thomas on the bench with four fouls. Thomas left just 17 seconds into the second half, and Daniels followed him to the sideline about six minutes later.
They were hardly missed. With 6-foot-8 Jonas Hayes at center, Harrick abandoned his normal man-to-man defense and shifted to a zone. The change appeared to affect LSU, which struggled to get the ball inside.
"On tape, we felt we could zone them a little bit," Harrick said. "We wanted to try it and see how they reacted to it."
During a close first half, Harrick and Brady spent most of their time screaming at the officials. Brady got a technical from referee Karl Hess after two off-the-ball fouls went against his team, then really lost his cool.
After Daniels was called for a foul, the seventh team foul for the Bulldogs, the Tigers weren't allowed to shoot the 1-and-1. During the next dead ball, Brady walked to midcourt to express his displeasure.
While Hess tried to calm the coach down, Brady glared at referee Bernard Clinton. But Brady eventually went back to the bench, and the rest of the game continued with no trouble.
"I couldn't get a handle on calling a game," Brady said when asked about the officiating. "I don't even want to know who calls the next game anymore. It doesn't do any good. You just go with what you've got."
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