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Bulldogs Upset No. 7 Florida

No. 7 Florida lost yet another key player to a devastating injury. Like the rest of the Southeastern Conference, Georgia won't be sending any sympathy cards.

Playing with essentially the same eight-man lineup they've used all year, the Bulldogs got 24 points from Ezra Williams to defeat the depleted Gators 75-72 and earn their 10th victory, the same number they had all last season.

Florida guard Justin Hamilton was almost certainly lost for the season with what was initially diagnosed as a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He'll have an MRI on Thursday.

The Gators came into the game without starting guard Teddy Dupay (back) and starting forward Brent Wright (foot), and are down to just seven scholarship players.

"Nobody is going to feel sorry for us," Gators coach Billy Donovan said. "I'm sure the way other people are looking at it is they're saying, `Here's a chance to get a win.'"

Georgia (10-7, 3-1) went first thanks to clutch performances from Williams, D.A. Layne and freshman point guard Rashad Wright.

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Game Summary

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  • While Bulldogs coach Jim Harrick said he felt for the Gators (11-3, 1-2), he knows what it's like to play with a shallow lineup. Suddenly, that lineup is coming through for his team.

    "There are some games you don't deserve to win," Harrick said. "But I thought we deserved to win this game. We hung in there and did a good job."

    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 Wiliams. 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.

    "He tried to make a play," Donovan said. "I knew something serious had gone wrong. I could see from his facial expression. It looked like shock."

    Florida had another chance moments later, but Orien Greene hit nothing but glass on an 8-foot pull-up jumper, and 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 year.

    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.

    Wright scored only four points, but had five assists and didn't commit a turnover.

    "He did not turn the ball over against Florida," Harrick said. "That's an amazing stat for a freshman."

    Missing players forced Donovan to back somewhat off the press that makes his team click and play lots of zone. Without the pace the defense usually creates, the Gators got very few easy shots and spent most of the game playing from behind.

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

    "Guys like Brett and Udonis and Matt really love to play," Donovan said. "Now they are facing a huge obstacle. This is not going to be a bed of roses, but it will make us stronger."

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