UGA played arguably its worst first half of the season tonight against South Carolina, and yet the Dawgs had a chance to win this game late in the second half.
After trailing 41-23 at the break, Georgia tied the game at 51 apiece with 4:31 left in the game after a pair of free throws from Yante Maten.
Georgia failed to secure defensive rebounds down the stretch though, and in the end, these lapses ended up doing them in. Mindaugus Kacinas tipped in a missed jumper to give his team a 53-51 lead with only 3:38 remaining. On the ensuing possession, UGA held the Cocks from scoring on another jump shot, but Kacinas was there once again for the offensive board, which he promptly kicked to teammate Tyrone Johnson. Johnson immediately buried a three-pointer, giving Carolina a 56-51 advantage.
The Gamecocks secured offensive rebounds on 2 of their next 3 possessions, which led to 3 free throws and eventually a 64-58 road victory.
For Carolina, this win marks just its third SEC road win in nearly three and a half seasons.
Georgia failed to lead once in this contest, and they quickly found themselves down 19-4 less than 10 minutes into the game. The Dawgs shot just 33% from the floor before the break, and their defense was nonexistent. In the first half, UGA yielded 7 three-pointers to the Cocks, enabling them to go into the intermission with 41 points – an incredible offensive outburst for a team that entered tonight’s game averaging just 58 points per SEC contest.
Georgia was led offensively by Charles Mann, whose 17 points were instrumental in helping the Dawgs mount a comeback. However, Mann didn’t get much support as Kenny Gaines was the only other UGA player to finish in double-digits with 11 points.
After laying an egg at home against Auburn last Saturday, I expected the Dawgs to come out with a little more fire than they showed this evening. Georgia started this game incredibly flat, digging themselves into a huge hole that they ultimately couldn’t escape from.
Coach Mark Fox has to be wondering what kind of damage his team has done to its NCAA tournament resume – something that looked rock solid a week ago. The Dawgs are now 16-9 overall and 7-6 in SEC play, but they are falling fast in the conference’s standings.
Meanwhile, South Carolina has four SEC wins this season and two of them have come against UGA.
Blemishes now abound on Georgia’s schedule, with losses to SC (2), Auburn, Georgia Tech and Minnesota. For Coach Fox, it might be time to start hitting the panic button as his team appears to be spiraling downwards, losing 4 of its past 6 games.
Marcus Thornton, who carried this team during the first half of this season, is averaging just 7.5 points a night since returning from his injury, failing to finish in double-figures in any of the last four games.
The Dawgs hit the road Saturday, traveling to Tuscaloosa where they will take on Alabama, a team that is currently 5-7 in league play. With an RPI of 76, Bama does not offer UGA the opportunity for a quality win; however, a loss to the Tide could certainly be looked upon as another bad loss.