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Updated: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 11:28 PM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(16) Pittsburgh 76, Georgia 55

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Mark McCarroll's near-perfect night helped Pittsburgh make up for the absence of Carl Krauser.

McCarroll made his first 10 shots and scored a career-high 26 points as the 16th-ranked Panthers avenged their lone non-conference defeat from a year ago with a 76-55 victory over Georgia.

Pittsburgh (13-0), which owns the best record in college basketball, played for the second straight game without Krauser, who is resting a groin injury.

McCarroll, making his fourth straight start, had his season high by halftime with 18 points and bounced back from a scoreless effort Saturday against New Hampshire.

A 6-11 junior forward, McCarroll finished 11-of-12 from the floor and reached double figures for the third time in his last four games.

"I worked hard all summer," McCarroll said. "I'm more comfortable with my time. Now I have a feel for the game and I have more energy."

The Panthers extended their school-record home winning streak to 33 games and avenged a 79-67 setback at Georgia last December 31. Pittsburgh has home games left with William & Mary and Virginia Tech before finally leaving town for the first time in nearly two months for a January 12 trip to Miami.

"Last time we lost (against Georgia), I remember it like it was yesterday," said Panthers guard Julius Page, who had 18 points and eight assists. "I played terrible; this time, I wanted to play for Carl."

McCarroll and Page each had four points in a 14-3 run that gave Pittsburgh a 34-22 lead with 2:36 before halftime. The Panthers took a 39-24 lead into intermission and Page's 3-pointer midway through the first half made it 59-38.

Freshman Antonio Graves made his second straight start in place of Krauser and netted 10 points while committing only one turnover. Graves led an attack that helped the Panthers shoot a sizzling 78 percent (14-of-18) in the second half.

The Bulldogs (7-3) shot 35 percent (23-of-65), becoming the eighth team to finish below 40 percent against the Panthers.

"After the first 10 minutes, we went soft and allowed Pittsburgh to step up," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said. "Their defense is very blue-collar and hard working."

Georgia had a three-game winning streak snapped and fell to 0-2 this season against ranked teams. Jonas Hayes led the Bulldogs with 16 points.


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