Kentucky drops 2nd straight


Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

ATHENS, Ga. — Takais Brown scored 20 points, Sundiata Gaines had 19 and Georgia overcame a 17-point deficit to hand Kentucky its second straight Southeastern Conference loss, beating the Wildcats 78-69 in overtime Wednesday night.

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Georgia's Takais Brown (42) dunks in front of Kentucky's Bobby Perry during the first half of Wednesday.

BRANT SANDERLIN/ATLANTA JOURNAL & CONSTITUTION

Georgia (12-6, 4-2 SEC) bounced back from a discouraging loss Saturday at Alabama. In that one, the Bulldogs squandered a 19-point lead and were beaten on a disputed shot at the buzzer.

This time, they did much the same thing to Kentucky (15-5, 4-2), which appeared to be cruising with a 43-26 lead late in the first half. The Wildcats couldn't hold on, losing their second in a row on the heels of a weekend loss to Vanderbilt that snapped an 11-game winning streak.

Joe Crawford led Kentucky with 29 points. He had 17 in the first half, helping push the Wildcats to a 43-30 lead at the break, but didn't get much help from his teammates.

The game went to overtime tied at 65. Crawford scored the first basket off a steal, but Brown tied it up on the inside and Terrance Woodbury put the Bulldogs ahead to stay with a 3-pointer.

Crawford's pull-up jumper with 2:20 remaining would be Kentucky's final points. Gaines sealed the victory by hitting a pair of free throws with 28 seconds to go, and Mike Mercer finished it off with a dunk, getting the ball back after his attempt at a spectacular reverse slam clanked off the rim.

During a frenetic final minute of regulation, Georgia's Steve Newman threw a pass away and Kentucky took off on a fast break, only to turn it back over when Gaines hustled back to swipe a bounce pass by Jodie Meeks, trying to hit a teammate breaking loose under the basket.

Gaines drew a foul at the other end with 37.1 seconds left, going to the line with a chance to put Georgia ahead. He missed both free throws but jumped in front of Crawford to steal away the rebound on the second one, giving the Bulldogs a chance to win it with a final shot.

But the half-court offense bogged down near midcourt, forcing Gaines to attempt a desperation shot that failed to hit anything.

Georgia started strong in the second half, taking advantage of Randolph Morris sitting on the bench with three fouls. The Bulldogs scored the first eight points, pounding the ball inside for every one of them before Kentucky finally scored on Meeks' 3-pointer.

The Wildcats appeared to have weathered the storm when Meeks hit another trey, pushing the lead back to double-figures at 50-38. But Georgia just wouldn't go away, ripping off a 19-5 spurt that pushed the Bulldogs back into the lead for the first time since the opening minutes.

Brown scored again on the inside, putting Georgia in front 57-55 with 5 minutes to go.

SOUTH CAROLINA 66, ARKANSAS 60

Freshman Evaldus Baniulis' layup put South Carolina ahead and Tre Kelley had 22 points as the Gamecocks snapped a five-game losing streak with a victory over visiting Arkansas.

The Gamecocks (11-7, 1-4 Southeastern Conference) have struggled their past three home games at the Colonial Center, losing by a combined 88 points. This time, South Carolina held off the taller, stronger Razorbacks thanks to Kelley and the timely inside bucket by Baniulis.

With the game tied at 56, Bryce Sheldon missed a 3-pointer and teammate Brandon Wallace tipped the ball off the backboard. There was Baniulis, all by himself, for the simple shot that gave South Carolina the lead for good with 2:11 to play.

After Gary Ervin missed a 3-pointer for the Razorbacks, Kelley hit a 14-foot jumper to put the Gamecocks up 60-56.

Arkansas (13-7, 2-4) could get no closer. The Razorbacks dropped to 0-5 on the road this season and kept the six SEC Western Division teams winless in 16 games away from home this season.

VANDY 64, NO. 21 LSU 53

Derrick Byars scored 18 points and Shan Foster added a pair of baskets in the final minutes to give Vanderbilt its third straight victory over a ranked team with a triumph over No. 21 LSU.

LSU was doomed by a poor start and Vanderbilt (14-6, 4-2 SEC), coming off of victories over Alabama and Kentucky, remained consistent enough down the stretch to hold of a charge by the Tigers in the final 10 minutes.

Vanderbilt led 51-34 after Ted Skuchas' jump hook made it 51-34 with a little over 10 minutes to play.

Tasmin Mitchell and Garrett Temple fueled an 18-6 LSU run to get the Tigers (13-6, 2-3) as close as 55-49 with 2:56 left.

OLE MISS 83, TENNESSEE 69

Clarence Sanders scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half as Mississippi rallied to defeat Tennessee, snapping a two-game losing streak.

Ole Miss (13-7, 2-4) went on a 20-2 run midway through the second half, with Sanders accounting for 13 points in the surge.

Dwayne Curtis scored 18 points, Bam Doyne had 14 and Todd Abernethy added 10 for the Rebels, who have won four of the last six meeting in Oxford with the Vols.

Tennessee (14-6, 2-3) led 51-44 with 11 minutes remaining, before the decisive Ole Miss run.

Tennessee played without Chris Lofton, the SEC's leading scorer, who injured his ankle in the second half of last Saturday's win over South Carolina.

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