(17) Georgia 72

(13-6, 5-3 SEC)

Tennessee 78

(13-6, 5-3 SEC)

    3:00 PM ET, February 8, 2003

    Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee

    1 2 T
    #17UGA 31 4172
    TENN 35 4378

    Vols defeat ranked team for first time this year

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Georgia couldn't keep Tennessee's Ron Slay far enough away from the basket.

    When the 6-foot-8 forward couldn't score inside because of the (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 17 AP) Bulldogs' zone defense, he popped out and hit 3-pointers from the top of the key.

    Slay finished with 33 points, and Thaydeus Holden made six free throws down the stretch as the Volunteers beat Georgia 78-72 Saturday, earning their first victory over a ranked team in five tries this season.

    "Ron Slay had two shots from 28 feet. I really didn't expect Slay to be 4-for-5 from the 3-point arc,'' Georgia coach Jim Harrick said. "He was incredible today.''

    Despite Slay's shooting, the Vols still managed to make it a close game. They broke a tie and took the lead for good after Slay made the first of two free throws with 2:04 left.

    But Tennessee's lead wasn't comfortable until the final seconds. The Vols (13-6, 5-3 Southeastern Conference) had lost three of the previous five games against Georgia (13-6, 5-3) in overtime or at the buzzer, including last month's meeting in Athens.

    "Is it surprising we won the game? When you have a stouthearted team like this, you can't say it is a surprise,'' Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson said. "In a way, we got over a big hump today, in that we beat a ranked team. That is very satisfying.''

    On Saturday, the officiating crew had to cover extra ground late. Referee Bernard Clinton was injured with nine minutes left and limped off the court, meaning Tony Greene and Ed Corbett had to call the game by themselves the rest of the way. Holden finished with 15 points, and Brandon Crump had 16. Slay was 12-of-18 from the floor.

    "I was getting a lot of open looks I usually don't get,'' Slay said. "I was ready to knock it down every time it came to me.''

    Georgia was led by Jarvis Hayes with 19 points, while Chris Daniels added 14 points and 12 rebounds. Reserve Damien Wilkins scored 11.

    The Vols led by four at halftime, but Georgia went ahead 44-43 with 14:12 left on Ezra Williams' jumper. Slay hit a 3 and then had a slam to keep the Bulldogs from getting too far ahead.

    Georgia was able to push the lead to six points after Wilkins' driving shot with 8:01 remaining. Tennessee tied it at 63 with three straight baskets.

    After Jonas Hayes scored inside for Georgia with 5:10 to go, Holden hit a 3, and Tennessee never trailed again.

    Georgia had been outrebounded in conference games by an average of 3.6 a game while Tennessee averaged an advantage of 3.4. But the Bulldogs outrebounded the Vols 35-24 and tenaciously guarded the basket whenever Slay got the ball inside.

    But Slay still kept scoring. He had seven straight points as Tennessee erased a four-point deficit and went ahead 17-16 with 11 minutes left in the first half.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    2002-03 Season

    Jan 22, 2003 @UGA 81, TENN 76Recap
    » Feb 8, 2003 @TENN 78, UGA 72Recap