Georgia continued its resurgence in SEC play Saturday afternoon in Columbia defeating USC 67-56 at the Colonial Life Arena in front of 11,327 fans. After an 0-3 start in league play, the Bulldogs have won three of their last four SEC games and are now 4-4 in league play and 10-11 overall. USC suffered its fourth SEC loss in the last five games to drop to 2-6 in the league and 12-9 overall.
USC led 30-29 at halftime but back to back jumpers by Kenny Gaines gave Georgia a lead it would not relinquish. Bruce Ellington’s three pointer brought the Gamecocks to within 37-36 with 15:36 to play but the Bulldogs reeled off a 9-2 run to build a working margin. The Gamecocks got as close as two but Georgia eventually built a 10 point lead and fought off all challenges.
The Gamecocks cut the lead to five on a Brian Richardson three with 1:51 to play. That would be USC’s final points. Charles Mann hit four three throws and Donte’ Williams threw down a dunk to keep the Gamecocks at bay.
“Extremely disappointed,” said USC coach Frank Martin. “I’ve done a just a poor job this past week in getting our guys ready to play. I’ve to do my job a heck of a lot better. My staff has been on me about that. I’ve done a bad job this week and that’s got to change.”
Michael Carrera led USC with 16 points but only point in the second half. Ellington added 14 points and Richardson added 12 off the bench. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Bulldogs with 19 but scored just three in the second half. Mann and Gaines had 11 points each off the bench. The Bulldogs shot 58% for the game to USC’s 36%.
This was the 99th meeting in the series which USC now leads 50-49. Georgia has won five of the last six meetings. The 100th meeting will be played in Athens on February 23rd.