The South Carolina men's basketball team fell to the Georgia Bulldogs 81-78 in a back-and-forth overtime game, the Gamecocks' fifth consecutive loss.
The Gamecocks came out strong in the first half, taking a 37-35 lead into the break.
“That’s a competitive, winning effort,” South Carolina head coach Lamont Paris said. “That’s what that was.”
Freshman forward Gregory “GG” Jackson II had another impressive performance for the Gamecocks with 18 points and nine rebounds in the game. Jackson's strong play on both sides of the ball helped keep South Carolina in the game, as he fell just short of a second straight SEC double-double.
Graduate forward Hayden Brown followed with 17 points, more than double his average in SEC games coming into the day. Brown also recorded one more rebound than Jackson, marking his first double-double since transferring in from The Citadel. Even with a standout individual performance, Brown is focused on the team as a whole getting back in its groove.
“I want to get wins," Brown said. "If we come out with a win, that’s what I'm here for. That’s what I'm concerned about, so I'll do whatever it takes.”
Georgia’s leading scorers for the season – junior guard Kario Oquendo and senior guard Terry Roberts – both failed to land a basket in the first half, though they finished with 26 combined points for the game.
The Gamecock offense took advantage of the Bulldogs’ struggles early on, but they couldn’t maintain that momentum through the end of the game.
Senior guard Chico Carter Jr. started the scoring with a 3-pointer on the first possession, and Jackson was quick to put up 7 points of his own in just the first four minutes.
The teams exchanged eight lead changes in the first half alone, with South Carolina edging Georgia out with a narrow lead at halftime.
“We got kinda careless in the second half,” Brown said. “They turned up the pressure.”
Roberts’ first points came over seven minutes into the second half when his Bulldogs were trailing 52-40. He then put up a total of 6 points in under two minutes and sparked the Georgia offense to its first lead of the second half with a pair of free throws with just over three minutes to go.
“You would’ve thought there was an extra man the way they were flying around,” Brown said.
Oquendo, having put up a total of 8 points in regulation, matched that total in overtime with the Bulldogs' final 8 points.
In overtime, the Gamecocks recorded five fouls in as many minutes, and Jackson missed what would have been a game-tying 3-pointer in the final two seconds of overtime.
“Hopefully, there were enough guys that have a bad enough taste in their mouth that will make some changes in some of these areas,” Paris said of the Gamecocks’ late struggles.
In addition to extending South Carolina's losing streak, the game also broke the Gamecock’s 12-game winning streak against Georgia going back to 2017.The Gamecocks have now fallen to a record of 1-7 in the SEC and 8-13 overall.
The Gamecocks will head back to Columbia to host Mississippi State at Colonial Life Arena for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff this Tuesday.