Winthrop pounds Georgia 80-60 in Athens
Posted: Tuesday December 9, 2003 10:27PM; Updated: Tuesday December 9, 2003 11:00PM
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Georgia's rebuilding in the post-Jim Harrick era may take longer than imagined, if Winthrop's 80-60 win over the Bulldogs Tuesday night is any indication.
"As a coach, you always understand that you are going to have challenges," said Dennis Felton, brought in to revive a Bulldog program reeling from Harrick's departure last spring. "There are going to be more nights like this right now."
Tyrone Walker led Winthrop (5-2) with 20 points, and James Shuler added 18. Ivan Jenkins chipped in 13 points and eight assists for the Eagles, who beat a Southeastern Conference team for the first time in 11 tries.
"This has to be in the top 10 ever," Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall said. "This is a special win. It's tremendous for our program and this group of young men.
"But Georgia is going through some tough times right now," Marshall admitted.
Senior Rashad Wright led Georgia (4-2) with 15 points. Wright's opening 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs their only lead of the night. Jonas Hayes scored 13 points.
The Eagles, perennial powers in the Big South Conference, hit 10 of 16 three-pointers, out-rebounded Georgia 29-25 and had just seven turnovers to 12 for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs trailed by 12 at halftime, and the game quickly got away as Walker made two baskets and Marcus Cooke hit a three to go up by 18, 52-34 with 15:35 to play.
When Georgia's Levi Stukes hit a 3-pointer on an in-bounds play with 8:16 to play, closing the gap to 62-51, it looked like the beginning of a comeback. But the Eagles rattled off eight straight points to expand the lead to 69-51 with 6:21 to go.
"I'd like to think this got their attention," said Felton. "I think I'll get their attention too."
The crowd of 6,458 was never loud, and few students attended on the eve of exams.
"The crowd never had an impact," agreed Felton, "but Winthrop just played with more intensity."
Winthrop made its first substantial move in the first half with an 8-0 run by Shuler, featuring a pair of threes sandwiched around a breakaway layup off a steal.
Georgia got as close as 31-29 with 2:55 to play in the half when Chris Daniels drove across the lane for a lefty finger-roll. But the Eagles scored the last 10 points of the half to lead 41-29 at intermission. Shuler finished the first half with 16 points.
The Eagles opened the season at Kentucky, losing to that SEC foe 65-44.