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Feb. 10, 2007

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Senior guard Levi Stukes became Georgia’s all-time leader in 3-pointers as Georgia snapped a three-game losing streak, defeating South Carolina 73-54 Saturday night.

The Bulldogs (14-9, 6-5 Southeastern Conference) swept the season series with the Gamecocks (12-11, 2-8) for the second straight year, but the victory came at a cost even as they helped their NCAA hopes with a second SEC road win.

Sophomore Mike Mercer, who leads Georgia in scoring at 13.7 points per game, injured his right knee with 9:45 left in the second half when it gave way as he tried to stop. Mercers knee was put in an inflatable cast and he was wheeled off the floor to a standing ovation.

Georgia shot 47.5 percent, including 9-of-17 3-pointers while outrebounding the Gamecocks 47-32. Billy Humphrey led Georgia with 14 points, nine rebounds, five assists and a career-high seven steals while Stukes added 13 points.

South Carolina, which hit just 33.3 percent, was led by Tre’ Kelley with 21 points and seven assists.

Stukes became Georgia’s career 3-point leader when he hit from long range with 2:51 left in the first half, giving him 232 to move ahead of D.A. Layne. Stukes’ 3-pointer was part of a 15-5 run in the final 4:09 to take a 41-26 halftime lead.

The Bulldogs hit three 3-pointers in the closing surge while the Gamecocks made just two of five field goals and had three turnovers. With Kelley on the bench for a rest, Georgia scored 11 straight points to start the run.

On his return, Kelley immediately hit a bucket to finish the half with five field goals for 11 points along with five assists, meaning he had a hand in all but one of the Gamecocks’ 11 first-half buckets.

The Bulldogs continued their surge in the second half, outscoring South Carolina 9-2 in the first 3:19 to stretch their lead to 50-28 on a 3-pointer and two foul shots by Stukes. The Gamecocks never got closer than 15 after that in losing their fourth game in a row.