ATHENS, Ga.—The Georgia men's basketball beat visiting Mississippi State 66-45 Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum, using a 22-6 run at the end the first half to break the game open and help it to its 17th win of the season.
The Bulldogs (17-12, 11-6) end with a 14-2 regular season record at home after tonight's win—its best since the 2003 season.
Georgia was led by Kenny Gaines and Marcus Thornton who scored 13 and 14 points, respectively.
"Every win is a good win," said head coach Mark Fox. "Some of them are more emotional than others, some are prettier than others, but every one is a good win. I thought Mississippi State started the game with a greater determination than our team did. I thought that they were more prepared to play than our kids were. We were a little bit sluggish in everything that we did to start the game. Fortunately, we have a deep team, and we had a number of guys that we could go to that gave us a lift. But eventually our defense stabilized and we finished the game in pretty solid fashion."
Trailing 18-15 with eight minutes remaining, Georgia closed the first period on a 22-6 run, largely behind nine first-half points from Kenny Gaines, to take a 37-24 lead into the locker room. The Bulldogs carried the momentum into the second half, building a 17-point lead off of a layup from Kenny Paul Geno just eight minutes into the half.
With five minutes left in the game, Juwan Parker hit a three-pointer to give Georgia a 27 point lead—its largest of the game. Mississippi State cut the deficit to 21 in its final five possessions of the game.
Roquez Johnson and Craig Sword led MSU with nine points apiece.
Tonight's game also marked the final home game of senior Donte' Williams. The Ellenwood, Ga. native, who started his 87th career game on Wednesday night, checked out of the game to a standing ovation with just under two minutes remaining.
Georgia will head to Baton Rouge for its regular season finale against LSU on Saturday at 5 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.
• Georgia's starting line-up was Marcus Thornton (55th career start), Brandon Morris (40th career start), Charles Mann (35th career start), Kenny Gaines (27th career start) and Donte Williams (87th career start).
• Tonight marked Donte' Williams final regular-season home game.
• With tonight's win, Georgia has its best home record (14-2) since the 2003 season
• Georgia improved to 16-4 when outrebounding its opponent.
• With his 13 points tonight, Marcus Thornton has scored in double figures in nine SEC games, including the last four.
• Georgia seven double-digit conference wins are the most since 1996—a year that Georgia had eight.
• Georgia held its opponent without a three-pointer for the first time since Jan. 4, 2013 when it beat George Washington.
• Georgia held its opponent to no double-digit scorers for the first time since beating Mercer on Dec. 18, 2012.
The Series: Georgia improves to 54-53 in the all-time series, and 27-19 when the game is held in Athens. The win also clinches Georgia's third season "sweep" of an opponent (S. Carolina, Missouri). The Bulldogs will have an opportunity for its fourth sweep on Saturday at LSU.
Next Up: Georgia will head to Baton Rouge for its regular season finale against LSU on Saturday at 5 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.