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Friday August 28th, 2015 10:49AM

Gaines' 27 points lead Georgia to 73-56 win

By The Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Kenny Gaines had a career-high 27 points and Georgia bounced back from its first loss in three weeks with a 73-56 victory over South Carolina on Saturday.

The Bulldogs (15-11, 9-5 Southeastern Conference) had their four-game league win streak stopped against Tennessee this past Tuesday. In this one, they broke up a game tied at half with a 16-1 run to start the second period.

Gaines had five 3-pointers and surpassed his previous high of 22 points set earlier this season against Alabama.

Marcus Thornton added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Georgia, his third double-double this season.

South Carolina (10-17, 3-11) was looking for a third consecutive home win. But the Gamecocks missed their first 16 shots of the half as Georgia took control. A frustrated coach Frank Martin earned a technical foul for yelling at official C.J. Washington.

Freshman Sindarius Thornwell had 18 points to lead the Gamecocks.

The Bulldogs put things away with a strong run out of the break.

Brandon Morris started the surge with a three-point play and Thornton added four points. By the time Nemanja Djurisic nailed a 3-pointer, Georgia was ahead 50-35 and cruising.

South Carolina could not answer back as the Bulldogs eventually built a 21-point lead.

Georgia continued on its surprise run in the SEC this season. The Bulldogs looked lost back in November with a 1-4 start to the regular season, but have since found their footing during conference play and will remain third in the standings behind league leaders Florida and Kentucky.

They got back on track from the Tennessee loss, beating South Carolina for the seventh time the past eight games.

The Gamecocks have been a different team at home, particularly in the past couple of weeks. They had their only two-game SEC win streak here when they defeated Vanderbilt in a snow-delayed contest Feb. 13 and then topped Alabama at home two days later.

Williams' third 3-pointer in the first seven minutes put South Carolina ahead 13-6. But Georgia, behind the shooting of Gaines, rallied with a 20-9 run to move in front 26-22 with 5 minutes left in the half.

The Bulldogs were still up 34-31 on Charles Mann's foul shots with 54.4 seconds to go when walk-on Brian Steele hit his second 3 of the period to send the teams into the locker room tied 34-all.

The Gamecocks tried to take advantage of their cold-weather prowess - all three of their SEC wins this season came with snow on the ground in South Carolina's capital - and called for fans to dress for a "Whiteout with Blizzard Conditions."

White hand towels were draped over many seats and even South Carolina's women's coach, Dawn Staley, wore white to back the men's team. Gamecocks coach Frank Martin wore a dark suit, but a blazing white tie you might see in the movie, "Goodfellas."

The gimmick didn't help and the Gamecocks lost for the fifth time in their past seven games.
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