For the first time this season, Georgia dropped consecutive games.
The Bulldogs were unable to overcome South Carolina's strength inside and fell 64-57 Saturday afternoon. While the Bulldogs got a bounce-back performance from senior forward Yante Maten, who scored 25 points, the Gamecocks asserted their will on the interior. In the first half alone, South Carolina came up with 13 offensive rebounds, which contributed to an eight-point advantage at the break.
Georgia (11-4, 2-3 SEC) allowed South Carolina (11-6, 2-3 SEC) to jump out to an early 9-2 lead. From there, the Bulldogs were constantly playing catch-up. Even so, Georgia tied the game twice in the second half at 39 and 49.
Georgia's loss is the team's second this week and follows a road defeat at Missouri.
Four who mattered
Maten: After scoring only nine points against Missouri on Wednesday, Maten rebounded with a 25-point performance against South Carolina.
Georgia forward Juwan Parker: Parker provided a spark at times, especially early when the Bulldogs fell behind by seven. He was able to provide an early four-point play to prevent a sizable run in the game's first four minutes. Parker finished with 11 points.
South Carolina guard Frank Booker: Booker gave the Gamecocks a lift off the bench in the first half. He also broke a 49-49 deadlock with a 3-pointer and added another 3 to give South Carolina a late 59-50 lead. Booker, who averages 10.6 points per game, finished with 17.
South Carolina forward Chris Silva: Silva out-muscled his way for a team-high nine rebounds. He also put in 14 points for the Gamecocks.
Booker's 3 to give South Carolina a nine-point lead with less than two minutes to go sealed the deal.
Rebounding the basketball: South Carolina didn't show much of an offensive rhythm throughout the 40 minutes of this basketball game. But what it did do well was rebound. The Gamecocks finished the game with 46 rebounds, but had 18 come on the offensive end. This led to 14 second-chance points, which turned out to be a deciding factor in the game.
Close but never enough: Down eight at the half, Georgia was able to tie the game up twice in the second half. It also cut South Carolina's lead to one multiple times. But the Bulldogs could never get over the hump and take a commanding lead on the Gamecocks. Each time, Georgia's offense either went cold or South Carolina hit a timely shot.
Free-throw struggles: An argument can be made that Georgia lost this game at the free-throw line. In the first half, the Bulldogs hit eight of nine free-throw attempts. In the second half, Georgia made only 10 of its 19 attempts.
Low scoring percentages: Both teams did not shoot well from the field. South Carolina won the game despite shooting only 27.1 percent. Georgia made only 35.3 percent of its shots. The Bulldogs made only eight field goals in the second half, with the Gamecocks sinking only six field goals in the final 20 minutes.
Smart keeps recruiting: With South Carolina holding a lead for the majority of the game, the biggest applause of the day came when Kirby Smart was shown on the center-hung scoreboard's large-screen television. Smart was in the building hosting a few football recruits.
They said it
Georgia head coach Mark Fox on the loss: "We just got beat up on the backboard in the first half. We got back in position to try and win the game, and our free-throw shooting in the second half was really, really sub-par. Against quality teams you can't have those kind of errors."
Georgia forward Derek Ogbeide on suffering back-to-back losses: "We just have to get back up. I'm sure all our guys have the same mentality, no matter how rigorous it might be, or how it might be extended. We have to get back up and I know for a fact we can."
South Carolina head coach Frank Martin on his team's performance: "Our problem has been our inability to play offense without turning the ball over or taking bad shots. I thought (Saturday), we didn't turn it over, which gives us a chance — you see, bad shots and turnovers are one in the same."
Georgia will travel to LSU for a 7 p.m. tip Tuesday.