Georgia Basketball Loses a Gut Wrencher to South Carolina


South Carolina dealt Georgia a crushing home defeat, leaving the Bulldogs on the verge of missing an NCAA Tournament that appeared locked up four days ago.

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In the space of four days, the Georgia basketball team has gone from playing for NCAA seeding to fighting for its NCAA life.

South Carolina ushered in the new reality for the Dawgs with a 64-58 defeat of Georgia. The game too often resembled a hockey match and the Bulldogs chose too late to commit to the bare-knuckled nature of the contest. Still, the Bulldogs came all the way back from an 18 point halftime deficit and gave themselves an opportunity to win.

But with no margin for error, South Carolina outfought the Dawgs for a couple of late rebounds and made every free throw until there were 24 seconds remaining and it was curtains.

Playing 36 minutes, Charles Mann scored 17 points, had 6 rebounds, 3 assists and was 4 of 5 from the free throw line. Kenny Gaines played 39 minutes and scored 11 points. Such is the workload for a team playing without two backcourt regulars, Juwan Parker (Achilles) and J. J. Frazier (concussion). Cameron Forte started and scored eight points and claimed six rebounds. Kenny Paul Geno, cleared to play at 10:30 this morning and after not catching a basketball for six weeks, played like he missed the game he loved and claimed six rebounds.

While South Carolina was making 93% of its free throws, the Bulldogs shot 60% from the stripe, dooming the Bulldog comeback.

With five conference games remaining, two at home, one against Kentucky, the Bulldogs have created work for themselves with back to back bad losses. The most likely scenario for Georgia to work its way into the good graces of the Tournament committee is for the  Dawgs to beat Missouri at home and Auburn in the final game in Auburn and win at least one other road game. A 500 showing in the SEC Tournament may be required as well.

Georgia will prepare for next Saturday’s road game against Alabama without plans for Kenny Frazier and Juwan Parker. The Dawgs desperately need to get some players back for the stretch run. A couple of road wins would fix a lot of what had been broken the last four days for this Georgia team.