Dec. 28, 2005
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) – Mike Mercer scored 22 points and Georgia withstood a late rally to beat Clemson 72-69 Wednesday night, handing the Tigers their first loss of the season.
Levi Stukes hit a 3-pointer with 3:41 to play to put Georgia (8-3) ahead 67-62, but Vernon Hamilton and Perry hit consecutive layups for Clemson (11-1) to narrow the gap to one point.
Mercer, a freshman, hit a 3-pointer with 2:09 to play and Cliff Hammonds responded with a layup off an inbounds play. After Mercer turned the ball over, Clemson’s Akin Akingbala missed twice from inside the lane, drawing a foul. He hit one of two to close the gap to 70-69 with 1:03 to play.
Clemson intercepted a pass with just under 40 seconds to play and Hamilton got a good look from the left of the lane, but left it short. Georgia’s Younes Idrissi tipped the ball to Billy Humphrey, who fed Stukes on a breakaway layup.
Clemson’s Shawan Robinson shot an air ball on a 3-point try as the clock wound down.
Stukes finished with 17 points, six rebounds and five steals for the Bulldogs.
Clemson got 14 points from K.C. Rivers and 11 from Sam Perry.
Clemson announced before the game that sophomore forward James Mays was academically ineligible. Mays, Clemson’s leading rebounder had started every game and was scoring 9.2 points a game.
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