Gamecocks Drive Past Bulldogs, 86-80
ATHENS, Ga. - Despite five Bulldogs in double figures, the Georgia men’s basketball team suffered an 86-80 loss to South Carolina Saturday afternoon in Stegeman Coliseum.
Five Bulldogs reached double digits in the scoring column for the fourth time this season. Senior forward Derek Ogbeide led Georgia, recording 16 points to fall just two-shy of a career-high. With his seven rebounds, Ogbeide moved to No. 9 among UGA’s career rebounding leaders, surpassing Athens native Carlos Strong. In addition, senior guard Turtle Jackson (10 points), junior guards Tyree Crump (14) and Jordan Harris (11) and sophomore forward Rayshaun Hammonds (11) all reached double figures.
"I had no doubt that our team would come back,” said Georgia head coach Tom Crean. "We were missing close-range shots. We were missing some lay-ups. We were staying on the glass. We were staying aggressive. So it wasn't about the offense. We missed -- definitely we missed some lay-ups, we missed some open threes, but today we didn't guard the ball well enough and we didn't guard the shooters well enough. Whether we were in man or we were in zone, we just did not have a hand up the way we needed to, and the basket started looking like Lake Michigan for them because it was open, and I'm disappointed in that because this team is improving in a lot of ways. And those of you that have been covering us, I think you can see they're improving, and it's not a -- it's not a moral victory, this speech. It's a, "we are improving." But we have got to quit hurting ourselves with not having our hands up or not communicating a switch. There's no excuse for that."
Hammonds put Georgia on the board with two baskets and two free throws to give the Bulldogs their first six points of the game. Four Bulldogs extended Georgia’s scoring total at the line, with baskets from Harris, Ogbeide, and sophomores Teshaun Hightower and Nicolas Claxton.
After struggling at the free throw line during the Bulldogs’ matchup against Arkansas, Ogbeide went 6-for-6 against the Gamecocks, marking an additional career high for the Lagos, Nigeria, native.
Despite missing two games due to injury, Harris was efficient on both sides of the ball in today’s game. Defensively, Harris recorded a career-high four steals, while adding another career-high of five offensive rebounds.
Crump started the game 0-of-2 from behind the arc. However, the junior guard ended the game 4-of-9, surpassing his 3-point field goal total from last season.
While the Gamecocks were able to extend their first-half lead to 15, a 12-point scoring spree helped narrow the deficit. Crump scored the first of five-straight baskets to kickstart the scoring frenzy for the Bulldogs. The junior guard knocked down two 3-pointers, while Ogbeide and Claxton added a total of six additional points. Georgia headed into the half down by five, with the Gamecocks leading, 45-40.
Out of the half, the Bulldogs scored on their first two possessions, with a 3-point basket from Jackson and a jumper from Crump. Harris added a 3-pointer off a steal to cut the Gamecocks’ lead to four. Another basket in transition, this time from Jackson, brought Georgia within five with 7:28 to play in the game.
Although the Bulldogs were able to get within three with two made free throws from Jackson in the remaining minutes of the game, South Carolina held on to secure the win. Despite the loss, Georgia ended the game 22-of-25 from the free throw line. This 88 percent free throw performance marks a season-high for the Bulldogs.
With this loss, the Bulldogs fall to 1-7 in the SEC and 10-11 overall.
Georgia returns to action on the road against Alabama on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 9 p.m. in Tuscaloosa. The game will be televised on SECN. The Bulldogs will be back at Stegeman Coliseum next Saturday to host Ole Miss at 1:00 p.m.That contest will be Georgia’s sixth overall and fifth-consecutive sellout this season.