ATHENS — Sahvir Wheeler set Georgia’s single-season record for assists, but the game belonged to South Carolina.
The Gamecocks (6-12, 4-10 SEC) scored a 91-70 win over the Bulldogs (14-10, 7-10). South Carolina’s size and strength was too much for UGA to handle on Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum.
“I did a poor job letting these guys know the level of fight and toughness that would be needed in this game,” Coach Tom Crean said. “When no one is in the fight, that falls back to the head coach.”
P.J. Horne, one of three graduate transfers, said the Gamecocks were just more physical.
“I feel like tonight we got out-toughed,” Horne said. “I feel like we just didn’t come to play today.”
The Gamecocks 10th-straight victory in the series, dating back to 2016, ruined the Bulldogs’ Senior Day. UGA played a video tribute for each of its three seniors, each one of them graduate transfers.
The loss overshadowed Wheeler recording five assists on Saturday. He now has 170 on the season, which moved him past Pertha Robinson (169) as the school’s all-time assists leader.
Wheeler set the school mark with 12:10 left, dishing to Justin Kier who hit a 3-point shot that cut the lead to 54-48.
It was as close as UGA would get for the remainder of the game.
It was an otherwise tough day for Wheeler, who was 2-of-13 shooting including 0-for-4 from three, scoring 7 points, with 7 rebounds and 7 turnovers.
Horne led the Bulldogs with 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting, and Kier had 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting.
South Carolina handled UGA earlier this season 83-59 in Columbia, proving a tough matchup regardless of how Crean tried to defend them.
Justin Couisnard led the Gamecocks with 23 points.
The Bulldogs pressed, trapped, zoned, and attempted to man-up the Gamecocks, but to no avail.
South Carolina held a 41-29 lead at the half with Wheeler (1-of-7) struggling from the onset.
The Gamecocks jumped out to a 10-2 lead before the Bulldogs battled back to tie it up at 12-12 and take their first lead of the game at 15-14 on a Wheeler layup.
Moments later, South Carolina went on a 13-0 run to take a 28-17 lead that it rode into intermission.
Georgia returns to action at 2 p.m. next Saturday at home against Alabama.
“We’re going to have to get better this week and get ready for Alabama,” Kier said, “because we all know what they can bring.”
The SEC office dealt the Bulldogs a game with a Tide as the league reshuffled the schedule on account of games postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic. UGA was supposed to play Texas A&M this season, but the Aggies have had multiple cancellations on account of their COVID-19 issues.
Georgia basketball current series streaks:
Won 5: Georgia Tech, last loss Nov. 14, 2014, Atlanta
Won 4: Vanderbilt, last loss Feb. 7, 2018, Nashville
Won 3: Ole Miss, last loss Jan. 25, 2020, Athens
Won 1: Auburn, last loss Jan. 13, 2021 Athens
Won 1: Missouri, last loss Jan. 29, 2020, at Columbia
Won 1: LSU, last loss Jan. 6, 2021, at Baton Rouge
Lost 10: South Carolina, last win March 11, 2016, at Nashville
Lost 4: Mississippi State, last win Feb. 14, 2017 Athens
Lost 4: Florida, last win March 2, 2019 at Gainesville
Lost 3: Alabama, last win Jan. 6, 2018, Athens
Lost 1: Arkansas, last win Feb. 29, 2020 Athens
Lost 1: Texas A&M, last win Feb. 1, 2020, Athens
Lost 1: Tennessee, last win Jan. 15, 2020, Athens
Won 1: Kentucky, last loss Jan. 21, 2020, Lexington