ATHENS, Ga. --- He's barely halfway into his first season at Georgia and the milestones keep piling up for Mark Fox.
After a series of near-misses, Fox earned his first Southeastern Conference win Saturday when the Bulldogs beat eighth-ranked Tennessee 78-63 at sold-out Stegeman Coliseum.
"I'm very proud of our team because they've had some gut-wrenching defeats," Fox said, "but they've responded to those and they deserve credit for playing well and making the plays that they had to to win -- because they beat a good basketball team."
It was Georgia's first win against a top-10 opponent since a 74-68 victory over No. 8 Kentucky on Feb. 14, 2004 in Dennis Felton's first season at Georgia.
Felton went 3-21 during his tenure, but Fox has nearly matched that win total in this month alone.
The Bulldogs' 73-66 win against then-No. 20 Georgia Tech on Jan. 5 was the program's first against a ranked team in nearly two years. But Saturday's victory brought the Bulldogs' record this season against top-25 opposition to 2-2.
Saturday's game was likely Georgia's (9-8, 1-3) finest performance of the season, as Tennessee (15-3, 3-1) was never closer than 10 points down after the seven-minute mark in the first half. Georgia led 42-27 at halftime and the Bulldogs built that lead in memorable fashion, scoring 12 of those points off dunks -- including a breakaway steal and gravity-defying reverse dunk by Travis Leslie.
Georgia outrebounded Tennessee 35-24 and went 7 for 12 from 3-point range, while the Volunteers were only 3 for 16.
"We didn't get beat because we came in overconfident. We got beat because we got beat," Vols coach Bruce Pearl said. "They're a good team and they showed it tonight. It's only an upset because we came in ranked higher, but (Georgia) is a really good team."
Reach David Ching at firstname.lastname@example.org.