Down by one to South Carolina, Georgia came out of a timeout with the ball underneath their own basket and only 20 seconds left…and looked confused.
McPhee in-bounded it to point guard Dustin Ware, who then proceeded to hand it over to reserve true freshman guard Ebuka Anyaorah – and this is where the play derailed (nothing against EA, he is a true frosh playing in the final seconds of an SEC road game). EA got pressured from the Carolina defender, and threw an errant pass to Ware near the Dawgs’ bench that was on its way out-of-bounds. Luckily for Georgia, the referees took pity on them and gave a very questionable foul to the Gamecocks’ superstar Devan Downey with 3.5 seconds left (to me it looked like he and Ware were both going for the ball and this one probably should have been a “no call”).
Dustin Ware went to the free throw line for a one-and-one, and an opportunity to tie or take the lead. Before I tell you what happened on Ware’s free throw (as if you don’t already know), it should be noted that the Bulldogs did not have a SINGLE PLAYER in the lane to offensive rebound on the shot. I don’t know who is to blame for this (Fox or the players?), but it seems pretty inexcusable to not have anyone in to offense rebound when you are shooting a one-and-one and your team is LOSING by a point.
Anyhow, Ware missed the front end of the one-and-one and Carolina grabbed the rebound to secure the win. This makes two games now (the other was against Wofford) in which Ware had an opportunity to tie the game from the free throw line in the final seconds and couldn’t convert.
Georgia has now lost three SEC games by a total of 8 points – Ole Miss by 4; Miss State by 3 and SC by 1. The Dawgs are still winless in true road games in both the regular season and in SEC play. Mark Fox’s team is now 9-10 overall, and 1-5 in the SEC…it’s tough for me to put a positive spin on it right now.
The loss to South Carolina was as agonizing as the ones to Ole Miss and MSU. Just as in those other two games, the Dawgs played pretty well overall. UGA finished the game with 16 assists to only 9 turnovers, they shot 50% on field goals and out-rebounded the Gamecocks 28-25.
Georgia led for a majority of the first and second halves, and got the lead as high as 9 following a Trey Thompkins 3-pointer with 9:23 remaining in the game to put UGA up 63-54 (Thompkins blew a kiss to the fans after the shot – probably should have saved that one till the game was more secure).
Travis Leslie had his best game of the year, scoring 21 points to go along with 7 rebounds and an onslaught of highlight reel dunks.
Trey Thompkins had a pretty good game – 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists. However, he only scored 2 points in the final 9 minutes of the game. The Dawgs have to be able to rely on Trey more down the stretch in close games for offense. He is the team’s best player, and if he can’t be counted on for big buckets in the final minutes then Georgia will continue to struggle in closing out ball games.
The Gamecocks’ Devan Downey led them again with 33 points, and scored 12 of them in the final 8 minutes of the game. That makes two-straight wins in which Downey has pretty much single-handedly willed his team to victories.
The good news for Georgia is they head back to Athens for a pair of games next week against Arkansas (Wed) and Vanderbilt (Sat).
How is everybody else feeling about the SC game?