With the Dawgs clinging to a 66-63 lead and under 90 seconds remaining, Georgia’s J.J. Frazier crossed half court and sunk a three-pointer from well outside the arc, sending Georgia up 69-63 with 1:14 left. This shot took the life out of Colonial Life Arena, and UGA went on to win 74-72 on South Carolina’s court.
Georgia was fortunate to even be in a position to win this game down the stretch considering that Coach Fox’s team turned the ball over 19 times tonight. The Dawgs’ passing was atrocious, particularly their entry looks. Yet even when the Gamecocks reclaimed the lead down the stretch, and then bolstered it to 61-57 with a little over 4 minutes remaining following a jumper by Sindarious Thornwell, UGA stood its ground.
Coach Mark Fox and his staff deserve a lot of credit for how they game planned to defend the Cocks in this one. For much of the night, UGA sat in a zone, daring the Carolina, who entered the game as 3rd worst in the SEC in three-point shooting in conference games, to beat them from the outside. South Carolina, for its part, obliged, making only 9 of its 26 three-point attempts. Carolina’s leading scorer, Michael Carrera, struggled mightily, mustering 13 points on a 5 for 21 shooting performance (which included him going just 1 of 10 from beyond the arc).
Georgia was led offensively by Kenny Gaines and J.J. Frazier, who scored 20 and 19, respectively. Gaines netted 14 of his 20 in the first half, while J.J. got 12 of his 19 after the intermission. Neither of them shot the ball particularly well in Columbia as they combined to make only 11 of 34 attempts. Frazier, though, found other ways to contribute, securing 9 rebounds and dishing out 7 assists as he nearly messed around and got a triple-double.
Georgia’s only other player to finish in double-digits was Yante Maten, who chipped in 13 points and 7 rebounds.
This victory marks just the third time this season that UGA has won on the road, and it completes the series sweep of Frank Martin’s USC team.
The Dawgs are now 16-12 overall and 9-8 in the SEC, and Georgia is 4-11 against the RPI Top 100 on the year. UGA is currently in 7th place in the league, but if Georgia can hold serve at home on Saturday against Alabama, the Dawgs could finish as high as 5th in the conference should South Carolina and Ole Miss stumble in their respective road games this weekend.