ATHENS —No blown lead this time.
In fact, there was no Georgia basketball lead at all, and at times, seemingly no hope.
South Carolina took it to Georgia on Wednesday night, a level above offensively, defensively, physically and mentally in a 75-59 win.
The Bulldogs (12-12, 2-9) had blown double-digit leads in three of their past four games, but the Gamecocks (15-9, 7-4) led this contest at Stegeman Coliseum from the onset.
Georgia, now losers of seven of its past eight games, came out flat and never could find its shooting touch. The Bulldogs were just 3-of-24 shooting beyond the 3-point arc, missing their first 15 threes.
Anthony Edwards led Georgia with 16 points on 4-of-13 shooting, but he was 0-for-7 shooting from three.
“They just outplayed us in every aspect of the game,” Edwards said dejectedly.
“Nobody was hitting threes. Myself, my teammates, nobody could hit the jump shot. So they were just sitting in the paint.”
Senior Jordan Harris, who had three dunks and 10 points, said the Gamecocks were simply too much.
“They’re a tough team, they play hard, they deny passes,” Harris said. “They definitely had the size advantage and they just played harder than us tonight.”
A.J. Lawson had 20 points to lead South Carolina, which has won five of its past six games.
The Bulldogs trailed by double digits the final 36 minutes of the game, down by as many as 24 points.
“We played like a very young non-physical team … we’ve got to overcome this lack of aggressiveness,” UGA coach Tom Crean said. “Leadership and toughness, you’ve got to have those things.”
Georgia’s most serious rally came just prior to the midway point of the second half.
An Edwards’ jumper triggered an 11-3 run that cut the South Carolina lead to 55-41 with 11:23 remaining.
“When we made our run we were getting movement,” Crean said. “That’s our game.”
South Carolina, however, had the answer each time Georgia clawed back.
The Gamecocks drove to the rim effectively, to the tune of a 40-22 advantage over the Bulldogs in the points in the paint.
Georgia was down 38-20 at the half, trailing by as many as 22 points before intermission.
The Bulldogs opened the game 0-for-8 shooting. Georgia didn’t get its first field goal until a Rayshaun Hammonds’ bucket at the 12:50 mark, down 13-4 at that point.
Hammonds played hard, but he finished with just 5 points and 3 rebounds against the Gamecocks’ talented front line.
Edwards looked sluggish most of the first half, just 1-of-7 shooting including 0-for-5 beyond the 3-point arc.
The Gamecocks held a 25-14 rebounding advantage at intermission and ultimately won the battle of the boards 45-33.
UGA hurt itself with 11 first-half turnovers and finished with 19 in the game.
Georgia basketball returns to action at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Texas A&M. The Bulldogs beat the Aggies earlier this season in Athens, 63-48, on Feb. 1.
Georgia-South Carolina boxscore
Georgia coach Tom Crean
Georgia coach Tom Crean