ATHENS — Georgia's offense was not hot enough to overcome South Carolina in a 91-70 loss on Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum.
P.J. Horne led Georgia (14-10, 7-10) in scoring with 17 points, including a 4-for-7 performance from beyond the arc. Justin Kier tallied 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting with seven rebounds, while Andrew Garcia and sophomore Toumani Camara each pitched in 10 points. Camara nearly earned a double-double with a team-leading nine rebounds. Overall, the Bulldogs shot 36.7 percent for the game.
“I would say it starts with me, to be honest with you,” said head coach Tom Crean following the game. “They wanted to fight, and we didn’t, so I did a poor job of having our guys completely understand what this game was going to entail because we never locked into the fight.”
South Carolina (6-12, 4-10) used the inside game to quickly post an early 10-2 lead, but Georgia soon tied the score thanks to a pair of Kier 3-pointers. As the midpoint of the first half approached, both teams remained within three points of each other, with the Bulldogs finding success in transition. The Gamecocks then took advantage of a six-minute Bulldog scoring drought with 13 unanswered points, building a 28-17 lead by the six-minute mark.
Horne finally broke the dry spell with a triple, but the Gamecocks continued to extend their lead with sophomore guard Jermaine Cousinard dropping 10 consecutive points. The final two minutes of the half turned into a back-and-forth affair, with Georgia countering Cousinard on the fast break. On the final possession, sophomore Sahvir Wheeler’s driving attempt rimmed out and the Bulldogs headed to the locker room trailing, 41-29.
Georgia’s second half opened with a bang as Horne connected on a pair of threes, cutting the South Carolina lead to six. Trailing by 10, Garcia singlehandedly put the Bulldogs back in the game with six straight points, reaching the 1,000-point mark for his career during the run. However, as they had before, the Gamecocks parlayed their solid shooting into a 14-point lead at the halfway point.
The South Carolina lead eventually grew to 23 points as the Gamecocks connected on six of seven field goal attempts during one stretch. The Bulldogs made matters worse for themselves with eight turnovers in the second half, keeping them squarely behind for the remainder of the contest.
Georgia remains home next weekend for its regular-season finale against No. 6 Alabama (18-6, 13-2 SEC) on Saturday, March 6 at Stegeman Coliseum. The meeting with the Crimson Tide is set for a 2 p.m. tip time and will be broadcast on CBS.