Talk about a tale of two halves. It is a cliché used a lot in sports, but nothing really provides a more apt description of Saturday’s game between USC and Georgia at the Colonial Life Arena. After opening with arguably its worst half in decades, the Gamecocks nearly erased a 23 point second half deficit before losing a wild one to Georgia, 60-56.
To say USC came out cold would be a gross understatement. It was an epically bad performance, arguably the Gamecocks worst half of basketball since in the past 25 years. Even that may be an understatement.
USC shot 14.3 (4-28) percent from the floor and only scored nine points in the first 20 minutes. That was their lowest point total in SEC play in school history. The previous low was 13 against Ole Miss in 2003. Georgia led 28-9 at the break.
Not many people expected much in terms of a comeback in the second half, but the Gamecocks were a different team after the break. They followed up the nine point first half effort with 47 points in the second half and cut the Bulldogs big lead down to just three with less than a minute to play. They had a chance to tie the game late but Bruce Ellington’s three was blocked by Trey Thompkins to seal the win for the Bulldogs.
The Gamecocks shot 45 percent in the second half and made four of 11 three pointers. Darrin Horn was proud of how his team fought back after what he called an offensive fluke in the first half.
Malik Cook led the Gamecocks with 15 points. He played for Bulldogs coach Mark Fox when Fox was the coach at Nevada. Sam Muldrow scored 13 points and blocked four shots. He passed Brandon Wallace to become USC’s all-time leading shot blocker. The record was 250, Muldrow now has 252.
The Gamecocks have lost three straight and five of their past six overall. They are 13-10 and 4-6 in the SEC. They return to action Wednesday night at Tennessee.