Originally created 01/18/01

Georgia holds off Florida



GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 7 Florida lost another game and another key player.

Ezra Williams scored six points down the stretch Wednesday night to help Georgia match its win total from last season with a 75-72 victory over the depleted Gators.

Williams led the Bulldogs (10-7, 3-1 SEC) with 24 points as they won their third straight and handed Florida (11-3, 1-2) its first league loss at home in 14 games.

Georgia was coming off of Saturday's 70-66 victory over then-No. 20 Mississippi.

And the news got even worse for Florida when guard Justin Hamilton went out with what was initially diagnosed as a torn ACL in his left knee, normally a season-ending injury.

Hamilton was starting in place of Teddy Dupay, who is out for at least four weeks with a back injury. Starting forward Brent Wright is out with a stress fracture in his foot.

Williams made a layup to give the Bulldogs a 69-68 lead with 3:20 remaining and made sure they never relinquished it. After Udonis Haslem missed a shot, the sophomore from Marietta, Ga., converted two free throws to increase the lead to three.

Florida cut the lead to one and had a chance to take the lead when Brett Nelson stole the ball from Williams. But Williams stole it back from the Gators and went down for a layup and a 73-70 lead.

Haslem hit two free throws to pull within one and Florida got the ball back with a chance to take the lead.

But after a steal, Hamilton went the length of the floor and hung in the air, trying to scoop a shot beneath a Georgia defender. He never got it off, and landed awkwardly, then limped off the court on his injured knee.

Florida had another chance moments later, but Orien Greene hit nothing but glass on an 8-foot pull-up jumper, and D.A. Layne made two free throws to put Georgia ahead 75-72.

After a timeout, Matt Bonner hurled the ball the length of the court, but it was out of the reach of Haslem, and the Bulldogs had their third SEC victory, the same as they had all last season.

Layne scored 19 points for the Bulldogs, while center Shon Coleman had 10 points and eight rebounds and was also a constant defensive presence and an annoyance to Haslem all game long.

The loss ruined a 16-point, 14-rebound performance from Bonner. Nelson and Haslem finished with 20 points each for the Gators.