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Updated: Saturday, February 22, 2003 5:38 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(24) Georgia 79, South Carolina 66
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
South Carolina Gamecocks
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GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Georgia Bulldogs
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ATHENS, Georgia (Ticker) -- Jarvis Hayes scored 26 points and Ezra Williams added 16 as 24th-ranked Georgia remained unbeaten at home with a 79-66 victory over South Carolina in a Southeastern Conference contest.

Steve Thomas contributed 11 points and Chris Daniels grabbed 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs (16-7, 8-4 SEC East), who improved to 10-0 at Stegeman Coliseum and won their 13th straight at home since an 85-70 defeat to Florida on February 12, 2002.

With Tennessee's loss to Alabama on Saturday, Georgia took over sole possession of third place in the SEC East.

Chris Warren led South Carolina (11-12, 4-8) with 15 points and Tony Kitchings had 11. The Gamecocks had their four-game winning streak snapped and saw their road record fall to 1-9.

Williams scored eight points in a key 19-3 run to end the first half. After Warren drained a 3-pointer to give South Carolina a 22-19 advantage, Williams hit a jumper and Hayes picked up two points when Rolando Howell got called for goaltending, giving Georgia the lead for good, 24-22.

Hayes capped the spurt with an alley-oop dunk at the buzzer as the Bulldogs went into intermission with a 38-25 bulge.

"I thought when our defense got out and ran a little bit, that got us going," Georgia coach Jim Harrick said. "They get you in a pace that's good for them but really not very good for us. When we can get out and run and push the ball, that helps us a lot."

Georgia never trailed by less than 10 points the rest of the way and took its largest lead, 57-37, on a 3-pointer by Hayes.

"I thought we played well for the first 15 minutes of the game," Gamecocks coach Dave Odom said. "I thought we had an answer to everything they threw at us. But as you know, it is a 40 minute game, we did not answer their spurts.

"I thought the turning point of the game was at the end of the first half when Georgia went on a 19-3 run. We were unable to stop the bleeding and were never able to get back into the competition."

The Bulldogs shot 45 percent (26-of-58) from the field and converted 22-of-30 attempts at the free-throw line. Georgia held the Gamecocks to 38 percent (23-of-61) shooting and owned a 42-34 rebounding advantage.

"Three straight games we've held people under 40 percent shooting, which shows me that our defense has picked up and is really playing well," Harrick said.


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