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Georgia 71, Arkansas 50

1/31/2004

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Damien Wilkins, Chris Daniels and the rest of
the Georgia starters finally got to enjoy the final minutes from
the bench, rooting for their teammates.

That sure hasn't happened often this season.

Wilkins scored a career-high 26 points and Daniels added 16,
helping Georgia snap a three-game losing streak with a 71-50
victory over Arkansas on Saturday.

"It's exactly what we wanted. It's been a long time since we
got to just cheer for the final five minutes," Daniels said.

The Bulldogs (10-8, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) hadn't lost
that many in a row since 2000. After three straight games with less
than 60 points -- another streak that matched one three years ago --
they had their highest point total in regulation since Dec. 22,
when they beat Charleston Southern 79-59.

"We just had to make some shots," Georgia forward Jonas Hayes
said. "We all finally did that."

Jonathon Modica scored 17 points and Ronnie Brewer had 10 for
the Razorbacks (10-8, 2-5), who lost for the fifth time in seven
games. They fell to 0-4 on the road in the SEC.

"I'm stunned, and the players in the locker room are stunned,"
Arkansas coach Stan Heath said. "We couldn't find a good defense
to stop them and we couldn't find any rhythm offensively. Those two
things are going to cause a lot of problems."

Georgia came into the game last in the conference in several
offensive categories, including scoring margin, field goal
percentage, 3-point field goal percentage. But with Wilkins and
Daniels leading the way, the points came fairly easily.

The Bulldogs scored the first six points and never trailed.
After shooting less than 40 percent in five straight games, they
finished at 53 percent from the field, only the third time this
season they've made at least half their shots.

"Damien helped us by getting off to a good start and shooting
so well," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said. "We really got after
them defensively and created enough havoc to create some offense
and get some easy shots. This was a terrific performance by our
guys."

And the Razorbacks struggled. During a miserable first half,
they shot only 40 percent -- including 1-of-7 on 3-pointers -- and
made 11 turnovers. Several came without any pressure from a
defender, including one late in the half when Charles Tatum and
Billy Pharis let a rebound bounce off both of them out of bounds.

On the ensuing possession, Wilkins hit a 3 to cap a 17-2 run
that gave Georgia a 38-19 lead.

"I think they just came out kind of flat," Daniels said of
Arkansas. "They just looked like they were tired or something."

Arkansas closed within 40-25 at halftime before the Bulldogs
opened the second half with a 12-2 spurt. The Razorbacks never
recovered.

"It seemed like anytime we'd make a little push, somebody would
knock down a shot for Georgia," Heath said.

Wilkins made four of his first five shots and was at his best
during that span in the first half that put the Bulldogs in
control. He hit two 3-pointers, added another jumper, then followed
up his own miss with a tip-in.

"I was just shooting, and they kept going in," Wilkins said.

His previous high was 25, which came during his two years when
he was at North Carolina State, and Wilkins broke that mark with
consecutive dunks with about six minutes left.

"That's a great way to get your career high," Wilkins said.
"A better way to get it is in a win."

He got plenty of help from Daniels. One of the best all-around
players in the country, Daniels added nine rebounds, two blocks and
three steals.

The first half featured a couple of interesting decisions by the
referees. Less than two minutes in, Michael Jones banked in a
jumper from the wing for Arkansas, a shot originally ruled good for
two points. Official John Clougherty stopped play to review the
basket on video, and after a stoppage of about 30 seconds, he
allowed the call to stand.

Later, referee Doug Sirmons went back to the replay screen to
see if a missed 3-pointer by Jonathon Modica hit the rim. He again
confirmed the earlier decision that it didn't, leaving the
Razorbacks with only five seconds on the shot clock.

It didn't matter, however. Modica took the inbound pass and
quickly hit a fallaway jumper.