ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Billy Humphrey scored 23 points and Georgia claimed state bragging rights with an ugly win, holding off Georgia Tech 79-72 Wednesday night.
Georgia (9-4) maintained the home-court advantage that has prevailed in this rivalry, winning its 12th straight over the Yellow Jackets (7-7) at Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia Tech's last win in Athens was Nov. 26, 1976."Just like football!" the fans faithful chanted gleefully in the closing seconds, rubbing in Georgia's sweep of the Yellow Jackets in their two major sports. The Bulldogs won 31-17 on the gridiron in late November.The Yellow Jackets trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half, but fought back for a 51-51 tie on Lewis Clinch's driving basket with just over 10 minutes remaining.Georgia quickly regained control with seven straight points, sparked by Corey Butler's 3-pointer. The Yellow Jackets got it back to 68-66 with 2 1/2 minutes left, but Jeremis Smith missed a couple of free throws that could have tied it.Dave Bliss made two foul shots at the other end, and Butler hit another big 3 to put it away.Sundiata Gaines added 16 points for Georgia, while Butler had 11.Maurice Miller led Georgia Tech with 15 points, Anthony Morrow had 14 and Clinch 11. The Yellow Jackets couldn't overcome 40 percent shooting (23-of-57) from the field and a 19-of-35 showing at the foul line.Both teams got in a final tuneup before turning their attention to league play, although Tech has already played one ACC game, a 66-64 loss to Florida State. This game provided little hope that Georgia will make much of an impact in the Southeastern Conference or Georgia Tech will do anything but struggle in the Atlantic Coast Conference.The first half was downright ugly on both sides. There were air balls, passes to no one, ragged-looking fouls and even a double-lane violation when Georgia's Jeremy Price double-pumped at the line and sent everyone stumbling into the paint.The most entertaining moment came when a Georgia student, wearing boxing gloves and star-spangled trunks, ran up an aisle to the "Rocky" theme and ripped off his robe.Georgia Tech had 10 turnovers by halftime, while the Bulldogs gave it up nine times. At the foul line, the teams combined to miss their first six attempts and both finishing 7-of-15 at the stripe in the opening period.Georgia was much better in the second half, making 13-of-16 at the line.The Bulldogs began to pull away late in the first half, extending their lead to 35-23 in the final minute as the Yellow Jackets missed shot after shot.Georgia Tech made only 33 percent (9 of 27) from the field in the opening period and trailed 36-27 at the break.