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Mercer vs. Georgia: School-kids energize Stegeman

The Bulldogs hosted 4,000 elementary school students for their win over Mercer.

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Ordinarily, the crowd at a college basketball game is already hyped and excited to be there. But the crowd for Tuesday's Georgia Bulldogs and Mercer Bears game in Athens had a little extra energy in the form of 4,000 students from local elementary schools. The kids were invited to Georgia's 68-59 win in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, CT.

Georgia moved the game's tip up to an unusually early 11:30 a.m. to accommodate the schools that would be bringing children to Stegeman Coliseum. Guard Kenny Gaines told the Macon Telegraph is was fun playing in front of a crowd with unabashed enthusiasm.

"It kind of just reminded me of my own childhood," Gaines said. "It felt good playing in front of little kids, and giving them a nice little show."

Lucky for Georgia and Mercer, they weren't playing in front of a critical crowd, as the teams combined for 19 turnovers in the first half alone. Georgia resumes play on Saturday at home when they face the USC Trojans.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.