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College basketball

Wright, Georgia stay hot

By Wire services
Published February 22, 2004

ATHENS, Ga. - Rashad Wright didn't get to play in the NCAA Tournament last year. Obviously, it's still bothering him.

Wright scored 22 and led Georgia to its third straight victory, 71-60 over Tennessee on Saturday. The Bulldogs avenged a 24-point loss at Knoxville in early January.

The Bulldogs kept alive their improbable hopes of making the NCAA Tournament with only seven scholarship players in what was supposed to be a rebuilding season under first-year coach Dennis Felton.

Wright hasn't forgotten last season, when Georgia had a team that was tournament-worthy but withdrew from the postseason because of an academic scandal.

"It's coming down to the end of my career," the senior guard said. "It's going to be tough, but we're trying to accomplish our goal of the NCAA Tournament."

Felton figures the Bulldogs will have a good shot if they win two of their last three, at No. 25 South Carolina and at Florida, then Vanderbilt.

"Many, many games ago, we told our guys that they needed eight conference wins," Felton said. "We didn't say, "Hey, we're going to win every game.' We tried to give ourselves a realistic goal."

Tennessee's postseason hopes suffer a major blow. The 11-point loss was its best effort in an SEC road game (0-6).

Scooter McFadgon, who scored 31 against Georgia in January, had 13 this time, on 5-for-16 shooting. C.J. Watson was 0-for-8 and scored four.

"Their defense is a lot different," Watson said. "They're a lot more physical."

Late in the first half Georgia's Levi Stukes stole the ball and was going in for a layup but was sent sprawling on a hard hit by McFadgon. An intentional foul was called, then Georgia's Marcus Sikes threw the ball at McFadgon and shoved Dane Bradshaw. Jemere Hendrix confronted Sikes, but the officials stepped in. Tennessee got two technical fouls and Georgia got one.

C-USA

MARQUETTE 81, TULANE 69: Travis Diener scored 28 and little-used Chris Grimm provided a lift for the host Golden Eagles.

"That was unbelievable," Diener said of the sophomore center who came off the bench and had six points and eight rebounds, both career highs, in a career-high 24 minutes. "That's what we need. He played physical, he showed a lot of energy."

Poor defense had the Golden Eagles down 43-40 at halftime, and they trailed 48-44 early in the second half before going on a 16-1 run. Grimm, who had not played more than 11 minutes all season, gave Marquette a 58-49 lead with a layup putback and free throw with 10 minutes left.

The Green Wave got no closer than eight the rest of the way.

CHARLOTTE 78, SOUTHERN MISS 72: The 49ers again stymied the Golden Eagles on their homecourt, improving to 11-1. Charlotte leads the series 25-4. Leading by three late in the game, the 49ers hit four free throws on consecutive technical fouls.

Back-to-back 3-pointers trimmed the score to 74-72 with 23 seconds left, but the Golden Eagles did not score again.

The 49ers were 25-for-52 (48.1) and had 32 rebounds. The Golden Eagles shot 27-for-61 (44.3 percent) and had 28 rebounds.

SAINT LOUIS 69, DePAUL 62: Reggie Bryant scored 18 of his 25 in the second half as the visiting Billikens overcame a 15-point deficit. Bryant scored 10 straight points during a 23-6 run, tying the score at 48 with a 3-pointer from the left corner. Josh Fisher gave Saint Louis its first lead with a 3-pointer and the Billikens never again trailed.

EAST CAROLINA 75, TCU 70: Derrick Wiley scored 23 and Erroyl Bing had 18 points and 15 rebounds for the host Pirates, who never trailed. Corey Santee led the Horned Frogs with 18 points.

VIRGINIA 58, CLEMSON 55: Todd Billet scored 21 and hit the winning 3-pointer with 16 seconds left for the visiting Cavaliers. It gave coach Pete Gillen his 100th career victory with the Cavaliers, who had lost 18 of their previous 19 conference road games.

Billet's 3-pointer put Virginia up 56-55 and hit a layup off a turnover with two seconds left. He was the only Cavalier in double figures.

Clemson had 29 rebounds, including 13 offensive, for a 12-0 advantage in second-chance points.

[Last modified February 22, 2004, 01:45:26]


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