Apparently, South Carolina was not made aware that there would be an additional 20 minutes of play following the intermission.
Or at least, so it seemed.
After a close first half that saw the Dawgs and Gamecocks knotted up at 34-apiece, Georgia capitalized on poor shooting from Frank Martin’s team to open up a big lead coming out of the break. UGA started out the half with a 9-1 run, giving them a 43-35 advantage following a Marcus Thornton jumper with 14:40 left in the game.
Carolina did not even convert a field goal until nearly ten minutes had elapsed, when Sindarious Thornwell knocked down a shot to make it 50-37, Georgia.
The Gamecocks connected on just 5 of their 31 second half field goal attempts in an offensive display that can only be described as pitiful.
UGA rode sophomore Kenny Gaines – who scored a career high 27 points – to the 73-56 victory.
Charles Mann followed up a disappointing 5-point effort at Tennessee earlier in the week with another dud of a performance in Columbia on Saturday. Mann finished with just 7 points on 1 for 10 shooting from the floor, and his lone field goal did not come until less than 4 minutes remained in the game.
Fortunately, Mann’s teammates were more than capable of picking up the slack and shouldering some of the scoring load. In addition to Gaines’s excellent play, Coach Mark Fox got 12 points apiece from Marcus Thornton and Brandon Morris. Thornton grabbed 10 rebounds as well, giving him his third double-double of the season.
Today’s win brings Georgia a step closer to securing one of the top four spots in the conference, which would mean a bye to the third round of the SEC tournament.
UGA now has three conference road wins on the year, and this victory bolsters the Dawgs to 15-11 overall and 9-5 in the SEC.
Georgia received a little help earlier in the day from the Florida Gators as they knocked off Ole Miss, sending the Rebels to 7-7 in the conference.
The Dawgs could really benefit from more assistance from around the SEC today as any losses for LSU, Tennessee or Missouri would add more cushioning to Georgia’s third place spot.
UGA plays again on Tuesday night in Athens against Missouri in a huge game that should have SEC tournament seedings on the line.