Dawgs Snap Skid, Beat Gamecocks in OT

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Dawgs Snap Skid, Beat Gamecocks in OT

The University of Georgia Men’s Basketball team ended a 3-game losing streak by defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks 81-78 on Saturday night in an overtime thriller in Stegeman Coliseum.  

In what Mike White described as “his best game as a Bulldog”, Mardrez McBride led the Dawgs in scoring with 17 points, including a 4-4 3-Point shooting performance in the first half which played a major role in keeping the Georgia offense afloat. Kario Oquendo added 16 points which included all of Georgia’s 8 points in overtime as the junior carried his squad from the free throw line down the stretch. Potential first round NBA draft pick Gregory “GG” Jackson notched 18 points for the Gamecocks while Hayden Brown poured in 17 points and led all rebounders with 10 before fouling out at the end of regulation.

Perhaps the game’s most important storyline was the tenacious defense of Alabama transfer Jusaun Holt who was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time this season. Coach White noted a recent lack of energy on the defensive end at the beginning of games as a primary reason for the lineup adjustment, and Holt certainly did not disappoint in changing the narrative. He was tasked with guarding GG Jackson for the majority of the game, and although the standout freshmen led all scorers, he did so on only 6-19 shooting and while recording an abysmal 7 turnovers. Holt snatched an impressive 5 steals on the night, the most momentous of which came on an inbounds pass under the South Carolina basket with 51 seconds left in regulation after Oquendo tied the game at the charity stripe. After the remarkable steal, Holt drew the fifth foul on Hayden Brown on a layup attempt before he knocked down both free throws to put the Dawgs up 2. In a postgame press conference, Holt commented that “defensive energy is what I feel like I do. That’s why I’m on the court, and coach trusted in me to bring that.”





Behind Holt’s defensive heroics, the Dawgs recorded a total of 15 steals as a team and won the turnover battle with 11 to the Gamecocks’ 18 which helped to offset South Carolina’s hot shooting performance from beyond the arc. The Gamecocks buried 13 3-Pointers to Georgia’s 6, but the Dawgs outpaced South Carolina significantly at the foul line as they converted on 23 of 29 attempts while their opponent went just 9 for 14. 6 of Georgia’s 8 overtime points, all scored by Oquendo, came from the free throw line, and the Dawgs hunkered down on the defensive end in holding USC to just 1-11 shooting and forcing 4 turnovers in OT.

Surprisingly, scoreless performances from both Oquendo and Terry Roberts in the first half failed to bury the Dawgs, as they only trailed by 2 points at the intermission largely thanks to the miraculous shooting of McBride. The Bulldog reserves stepped up in a big way in the first period, outscoring the South Carolina bench 21-0.

The Dawgs demonstrated extraordinary resolve in the second half, as they refused to flinch in the face of a 10-point deficit with 6:30 to play. Just when things looked bleakest, Georgia mounted a 10-0 scoring run in just 1:08 of action after sparking momentum by forcing a 10-second violation with a ferocious full court press.





The win on Saturday brings the Dawgs to 14-7 on the season and 4-4 in SEC play, which ties with Missouri for 7th place in the conference. The squad now prepares to travel to Auburn on Wednesday in hopes of beating the #15 Tigers for the second time this year.





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