Five straight losses: Gamecocks blow late lead at Georgia, fall in overtime
One streak had to end.
The scuffling South Carolina men’s basketball team traveled to Georgia with four straight SEC losses under its belt. But the Gamecocks did have recent series history on their side — 12 straight wins against the Bulldogs dating back to 2017.
For a moment, it seemed like Saturday’s trip to Stegeman Coliseum in Athens had come at just the right time for the Gamecocks, with the team leading comfortably in the second half.
But after Georgia rallied late to force overtime, the Gamecocks (8-13, 1-7 SEC) fell for the fifth straight game, losing 81-78 in heartbreaking fashion.
The win was Georgia’s first win over USC since 2016. Here’s what we learned.
Second half meltdown
The Gamecocks had led for the majority of the contest against the Bulldogs and seemed to be on their way to victory midway through the second half when they led by as many as 12 points.
But with the Bulldogs turning up the intensity with their trap defense, the Gamecocks offense ran into a buzzsaw.
The Gamecocks went more than five minutes without a field goal late in the second half as the Bulldogs went on a sizzling 12-2 run to get back in the game. USC turned the ball over 12 times in the second half alone, and UGA used the turnovers to get out in transition on the offensive end.
South Carolina had been especially sharp defensively in the first half against the Bulldogs, holding both of UGA’s top scorers Terry Roberts (15.6 points per game) and Kario Oquendo (12.9) without a field goal.
But Roberts caught fire late in the game, scoring his first field goal eight minutes into the second half and finishing with 10 points.
Brown bounces back
Though he’s been a steady contributor most of the season, veteran forward Hayden Brown had his worst game by far at Florida on Wednesday. Matched up against the towering Gators center Colin Castleton, Brown fouled out with more than 12 minutes left in the game and scored just two points.
Brown came back with a vengeance against the Bulldogs on Saturday, leading the Gamecocks with 13 first-half points as they went to halftime with a lead for the first time in four games. Brown was all over the court in that first half, making a pair of 3-pointers and punctuating the half with a go-ahead follow dunk in the final seconds.
Brown kept it rolling in the second half before again fouling out in the game’s final minute. He posted his first double-double as a Gamecock with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Next four USC MBB games
Jan. 31: Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Feb. 4: Arkansas, 3:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Feb. 7: at Missouri, 9 p.m. (SEC Network)
Feb. 11: at Ole Miss, 1 p.m. (SEC Network)