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January 10, 2007

Dawgs snap streak against Gamecocks

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia (9-5, 1-1) ended a four-game losing streak as it knocked off South Carolina (10-4, 0-1) 80-56 Wednesday evening at Stegeman Coliseum.

Three Bulldogs amassed double-figure point totals led by Mike Mercer with 17 points. Takais Brown scored 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half, and Sundiata Gaines posted 12 in the contest.

"It was a good complete team effort," said head coach Dennis Felton. "I told the team before we went out to go and expect another SEC war, as they all are. We were good out of the gate, and that gave us confidence."

The Bulldogs were dominant at the start both on offense and defense hitting 5-of-7 from the floor and blocking four shots in the opening four minutes of the contest. South Carolina collected seven quick points to come within two of the lead at 12:49, but that was as close as the Gamecocks would come to evening the score.

''What has happened the last four games is certainly nothing to be ashamed of,'' Felton said.

''It certainly should contribute to our confidence. We have gone toe to toe with some great chances to win with some of the best teams in the country.'' Added Felton: ''I looked at those games and thought 'Boy, I'm seeing some possibilities here.'''

Terrance Woodbury hit the first of four consecutive three-point baskets putting the Bulldogs up 30-18 just minutes later. Georgia held the Gamecocks scoreless over the final 4:57 of the first half to retain a 12-point lead going into the locker room.

The Bulldogs went on an explosive scoring run to open the second stanza behind the offensive efforts of Brown and Mercer. The two combined for Georgia's first 11 points of the half.

The largest lead of the contest came with 7:02 remaining when Woodbury connected on a pair of shots from the charity stripe giving the Bulldogs a 29-point edge at 72-43.

The Bulldogs ruled the battle of the boards, out-rebounding the Gamecocks 43-32 for the contest.

After the streak began with a loss to Georgia Tech, the Bulldogs fell to Clemson, now ranked No. 17 and still undefeated, now-No. 3 Wisconsin and No. 2 Florida.

''What has happened the last four games is certainly nothing to be ashamed of,'' Felton said. ''It certainly should contribute to our confidence. We have gone toe to toe with some great chances to win with some of the best teams in the country.'' Added Felton: ''I looked at those games and thought 'Boy, I'm seeing some possibilities here.''' Felton said he believes the tough string of games should prepare the Bulldogs for their Southeastern Conference schedule - if only the players' confidence survived the ordeal.

''I was concerned our team was vulnerable to letting it hurt our confidence,'' Felton said. ''So I'm glad tonight we won.''

The lopsided victory left Odom convinced that Georgia is a quality team.

The Bulldogs took a 41-28 advantage in rebounds and held the Gamecocks to 35.1 percent shooting.

''We were beaten in every facet tonight,'' Odom said. ''Georgia really took it to us.

''I can't remember the last time one of our teams was beaten up that bad inside. They just had their way with us.'' South Carolina (10-4, 0-1) was led by Dwayne Day's 14 points on 5-for-15 shooting.

Next up, the Bulldogs will host the Vanderbilt Commodores Saturday, January 13, with tipoff set for 4:00 p.m. (ET).



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