for this game

Guards help Georgia jolt Gonzaga

Dec 17, 2006 - 1:57 AM DULUTH, Georgia (Ticker) -- The numbers didn't add up for Gonzaga.

The three-guard backcourt of Levi Stukes, Sundiata Gaines and Mike Mercer combined for 65 points as Georgia ran away for a 96-83 victory over No. 16 Gonzaga.

In falling to 0-2 against fellow Bulldogs teams - Butler was the other - this season, Gonzaga lost despite shooting 58 percent (33-of-57) from the floor and making half its 3-point attempts (11-of-22).

Georgia (7-1), using its speed and athleticism, harassed Gonzaga into a season-high 21 turnovers and its guards continually pushed the tempo, leaving the Zags in futile pursuit.

"Georgia is a really good team," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "They are an NCAA Tournament team. The other Georgia teams we've played have been good, too. This team has no weaknesses."

Stukes scored 19 of his 25 points in the first half to help Georgia to a 50-45 halftime lead and Gaines netted 15 of his 21 after the break. He also had six steals in the game.

Mercer played a big role in the pivotal run of the game, scoring the first and last baskets as Georgia (7-1) opened the second half with an 11-0 run to move ahead, 61-45, with 16:15 to play.

Gonzaga twice closed within five points, the last time at 70-65, but Gaines scored six points and Stukes converted a three-point play - his first points of the half - to extend the advantage to 83-69 with 6:05 to play.

Stukes put an exclamation point on the victory with a 3-pointer to make it 96-81 with 30 seconds remaining.

"Tonight was a terrific win," Georgia coach Dennis Felton said. "We went in wanting to take advantage of the situation because we had the opportunity to make a national statement."

Derek Raivio scored 19 points - snapping his streak of six 20-point games in a row - and Jeremy Pargo added 17 for Gonzaga, which was outscored, 22-2, on second-chance points.

The teams came out running and gunning as Georgia took a 21-20 lead before the game was 7 1/2 minutes old. Georgia made nine of its first 11 shots while Gonzaga was 8-of-12.

Pargo's dunk put Gonzaga ahead by five points, but Stukes scored 12 points in a 22-8 run that gave Georgia the lead for good, 48-39, with 2:30 to go in the half.

Takais Brown scored nine of his 11 points in the second half for Georgia, which shot 54 percent (41-of-76) and turned Gonzaga's 21 turnovers into 30 points.

Josh Heytvelt added 15 points for Gonzaga and was joined in double figures by freshman Matt Bouldin (12) and Sean Mallon (11).

    --- --- -----
    GONZAGA (16) 45 38 83
    GEORGIA 50 46 96 FINAL

    Dec 16 7:01 PM

    NCAA BB GONZAGA (16) 45

    Dec 16 5:57 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 31 roots

    Gonzaga vs. GeorgiaDec 16 5:57 PM