Jan. 5, 2005
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - C.J. Watson scored 17 points despite foul trouble, helping Tennessee hold off Georgia 72-65 Wednesday night in the Southeastern Conference.
The Volunteers (8-5, 1-0 SEC) scored 11 straight points after Georgia closed to 60-58 on Steve Newman's basket with 4:44 remaining.
Watson accounted for six of those points on free throws. He finished 9-of-10 at the line, leading four Tennessee players in double figures.
Georgia (6-5, 0-1) was basically a two-man team. Freshman Sundiata Gaines scored a career-high 23 points and Levi Stukes added 21, but no once else had more than five.
Watson picked up his fourth foul with just over eight minutes remaining but managed to hang around to the end. Chris Lofton, who scored 14, also had to be careful over the final 10 minutes after being called for his fourth foul.
Georgia had just seven turnovers but struggled to make shots in the first half, hitting just 10-of-32 (31 percent). The Bulldogs finished at 41 percent from the field.
Tennessee, which got off to a disappointing start in non-conference play, struggled to put away a Georgia team that had only six scholarship players.
After Newman's basket got the small crowd roaring, the Vols called timeout and weathered the storm.
Georgia started quickly. Stukes hit a 3-pointer about five minutes in to give the Bulldogs a 15-9 lead.
But the Vols surged to the lead with an 11-0 run. Dane Bradshaw got things started with a nifty spin move that led to a layup, Watson connected from beyond the 3-point arc and Crump put Tennessee ahead with a basket from in close.
Georgia fought back to tie the score a couple of times, but Tennessee closed the half with a flourish. The Vols scored the final nine points for a 42-33 lead at the break.