ATHENS – This time, there would be no heroics from J.J. Frazier. Georgia’s offensive sloppiness and the big play of Frazier’s friend, South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell, were the undoing for the Bulldogs.
They fell in their SEC home opener, plagued by turnovers, bad shooting and a poor start to the second half. Frazier, who led Georgia to three wins over South Carolina last year, still had a good game. But South Carolina’s guard combination of Sindarius Thornwell and P.J. Dozier was better, in a 67-61 victory for South Carolina at Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia trailed the entire second half but still had a last chance: Yante Maten drilled a 3 to make it a one-point game with 57.9 seconds left. That’s when Thornwell had his biggest play.
After a timeout, the Gamecocks brought the ball up. Thornwell missed a runner, but quickly grabbed his own rebound and put it in. On the other end, Georgia lost control of the ball, and the ball went off Maten. The Gamecocks iced the game on free throws.
– Player of the game: Thornwell was coming off a six-game suspension, during which the Gamecocks went 3-3. He showed why he was missed, racking up 19 points, 11 rebounds, six steals and three blocks. Frazier – who talks to Thornwell regularly, but not about their games against each other – had 16 points, but needed nine of them from the free throw line, while going 1-for-6 beyond the arc. Maten led Georgia with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
– Stat line of the game: Georgia had 16 turnovers, 12 of them charged to their best players: Six each for Maten and Frazier. South Carolina only had eight turnovers.
– Turning point: The final shot of the first half. P.J. Dozier’s buzzer-beating 3 didn’t seem like a huge deal at the time, as it was just the 13th lead change of the game. But it was the final one, as the Gamecocks quickly extended the lead to six when the second half opened, and then to seven. Georgia was working uphill the rest of the game.
– What’s next: Georgia should have an easier time, at least on paper, when it hosts Missouri on Saturday at 1 p.m. Missouri was 5-7 entering its game Wednesday night against LSU.
WHAT THE COACHES SAID
“We just didn’t make the key plays that we needed to make. You’ve got to give South Carolina credit. We got in position to win the game and gave up second-chance points … And we had too many poor plays in transition. Too many turnovers to win a game against a good South Carolina team.” – Georgia’s Mark Fox
“It’s all about trying to build our programs up. He’s done it here. We’re trying to do it there,” Martin said. “When we beat each other, we shouldn’t be seen as knocking each other out from NCAA tournament play.” – South Carolina’s Frank Martin
More after postgame interviews.