J.J. Frazier had the kill shot. Kenny Gaines set the tempo early. But Charles Mann, despite not having the kind of offensive game he might’ve liked, came up with perhaps the play of the game.
With just over two minutes left to go, South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell drove the left baseline with his team down by a point. Mann was in position and ready to defend the ball. With Thornwell looking to score, Mann reached down and snagged the ball away from his hands before he could jump and put up a shot.
The steal – inadvertently credited as a rebound in the box score – turned into a Yante Maten bucket at the other end. That play would help lead Georgia to defeat South Carolina 74-72.
Mann hadn't put in his best performance throughout the game up to the late steal. He missed all three of his shot attempts and scored only 6 points – all at the free-throw line.
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But there’s a pretty good explanation as to why that was.
"He had the flu, or I don’t know what you call it, the stomach bug," head coach Mark Fox said. "I think and he spent the entire halftime back in the restroom."
Mann was able to battle through the illness and still played 28 minutes of basketball. While he didn't score from the field, he came up with 8 rebounds 2 assists.
Since he was sick, Mann wasn't able to practice much this week. But the senior was still able to come through with a huge play at one of the most important times of the game.
"He makes a lot of little plays," Fox said. "He battled through it. We were concerned he might not have a lot of energy to score the ball. But that was a big steal, it really was."