Bulldogs crush cold-shooting Gamecocks

Frank Martin
The snow is gone, and in the second half so was the magic of a two-game home winning streak as Georgia used a devastating run coming out of halftime to defeat South Carolina 73-56 at the Colonial Life Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Tied at 34 after 20 minutes, Georgia (15-11, 9-5) went on a crippling 16-1 run out of the half to establish a 15-point lead while the Gamecocks missed their first 14 shots with seven minutes to play were shooting 2-of-24 (8.3 percent) as any chance USC had of continuing its home winning streak melted away faster than last week's snow.
South Carolina (10-17, 3-11) shot a season-low 26.3 percent for the gam, 16.1 percent in the second half. After shooting 40 percent from the floor in the first half as the two teams played to a tie, the Bulldogs capitalized on the Gamecocks' shooting woes to shoot 48.1 percent, including 57.1 percent from 3-point range (4-of-7) as they built a lead that swelled to as large as 21 with 5:45 to play.
"We allowed our missing shots to affect how we played," Martin said. "Mature teams can have bad shooting days, but their effort, their discipline, their rebounding, their defense, that doesn't budge. Unfortunately today, missing shots impacted us in a negative way because it impacted our enthusiasm, our discipline, our willingness to communicate. Then they got rolling and started scoring and (it was) too big a deficit."
The Gamecocks were led in scoring by Sindarius Thornwell with 18 and Brent Williams with 16. No other Gamecock was in double figures and the team's third-leading scorer was reserve Brian Steele.
"We can't give up," Thornwell said, though he admitted the frustration of missing so many shots "definitely" affected the team in the second half. "We have to keep fighting. It's just frustrating to come out of half tied up and they take the lead and w can't make shots. We get open looks, we get good shots.
"That's tough when you get good looks and you're not hitting them."
Martin admitted he's never been a part of a scoring drought so profound as a head coach - at least on his side of the court.
"Up until recently, the NCAA record for field-goal percentage defense in a half was owned by a team at K-State," Martin said. "We held a team to six points in the second half. It's the first time for me.
"I've been on the side where you miss some shots, but I haven't been on the side where you just miss so many good shots, which is the part that's frustrating. We missed so many good shots. We were attacking the paint, attacking the rim, we just couldn't get it to go in the basket."
In the first half, the Gamecocks led by as much as seven as the two teams played even basketball.
"I felt good at halftime," Martin said. "I thought we were in a good place, I thought we had played fairly well. Then we came out in the second half and it's not like we came out and just laid down. We fought them defensively and we took good shots and the ball just wouldn't go in and the immaturity of our team kind of showed up again and it deflated us."
Georgia's Kenny Gaines was a thorn in South Carolina's side all game long, scoring a game-high 27 points, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range.
"(Gaines) just hit big shots," Thornwell said. "There's nothing you can really say."
Neither Frank Martin and the home crowd of 13,581 much appreciated what became a physical game in the second half, with Martin getting his fifth-career technical foul out of a timeout with 9:08 to play and Georgia in command and the energetic Michael Carrera, who finished with a season-high 12 rebounds, twice needing assistance getting up off the floor after collisions under the rim.
Asked about the technical after the game, Martin refused to comment. It was that kind of a game for everyone wearing garnet and black.
"We still have three more games and the conference tournament," Thornwell said. "We have to keep playing."
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