South Carolina can't seem to figure out the Southeastern Conference. But Georgia can't seem to figure out South Carolina.
The Gamecocks bested the Bulldogs for the second time this season Tuesday night, 64-58, picking up their first true road win since Dec. 1.
South Carolina led by as many as 21 points in the first half and took a 41-23 lead into halftime. Its offense was firing on all cylinders early, hitting just over 58 percent (14-24) from the field in the first half.
The team's mark of 14 first-half field goals was one more than the 13 it recorded all game against Kentucky Saturday.
"We weren't a bad shooting team until Jan. 3. All of a sudden conference play started, we missed some shots, we lost a couple games and guys got a little gun shy," head coach Frank Martin said. "We have to ... get guys to just shoot the ball. Who cares? If it doesn't go in, we lose; what's the big deal? But if you don't shoot it, we've got no chance to win."
After narrowing the margin for the bulk of the second half, Georgia managed to use a 10-point run to tie the game with less than five minutes left in regulation.
A pair of threes by senior guard Tyrone Johnson and sophomore guard Duane Notice with 2:53 and 1:11 remaining, respectively, iced the game for South Carolina.
Notice knocked down three of five three-pointers and played 38 minutes, the longest he has ever played during his tenure at South Carolina.
The Gamecocks did most of their damage without their leading scorer, sophomore guard Sindarius Thornwell, who hit only one field goal on the night. Thornwell, who is averaging 12 points per game, converted one of nine field goals, mustering only four points on the night.
However, Thornwell's absence as a scorer did not indicate an overall absence from the team, according to Martin.
"As much as I've been asking for leadership and guidance and for guys to step up in the moment, we saw them do that today," Martin said. "Not just as players on the court, but even in timeouts. It's fun to be around."
The Gamecocks' win came just an hour after Martin announced that the team would be without sophomore forward Demetrius Henry and freshman guard Shamiek Sheppard for the rest of the season.
"Our program is based on helping young people grow as individuals and helping them succeed off the court as a member of our team," Martin said before the game in a release. "We have expectations and responsibilities that we ask our players to meet on an [everyday] basis, and unfortunately this has not happened. I will revisit the suspensions prior to the SEC tournament."
South Carolina hosts Texas A&M Saturday and has only five regular season matchups remaining. To avoid a losing record in conference play, the Gamecocks will need to win each of their last five games.