Columbia, S.C. – The Georgia Bulldogs battled the South Carolina Gamecocks but ultimately fell short in overtime, 94-90, in the SEC rematch on Wednesday night in Colonial Life Arena.
For the 18th time this season, freshman Anthony Edwards paced Georgia in scoring with 36 points, just one short of his career-high. This marks the third 30-point performance for Edwards. Junior Rayshaun Hammonds and freshman Toumani Camara joined Edwards in double-figures, recording 13 and 10, respectively.
Edwards became the second-highest scoring freshman Bulldog of all time after upping his season points total to 547 in tonight’s game with his 36-point performance. Edwards passed Jumaine Jones’ 515 (1998) and now trails only behind Jacky Dorsey (646; 1975).
“We deserved to win the game,” Georgia Head Coach Tom Crean said. “We didn’t win the game and there are some nights you don’t deserve to win the game. But we deserved to win the game and so did South Carolina. I am not saying they didn’t… We did a lot of good things, there is no doubt about that. There are very few nights I am going to walk out after a loss saying we deserved to win. But, it didn’t happen. We now have to internalize what we have to get better at.”
An offensive board from Hammonds followed by a basket in transition from Edwards got Georgia on the board early, jumping out to the 4-0 lead. From there, the opening 10 minutes saw back-and-forth action between the two teams. With under 12 minutes remaining in the first half, Georgia grabbed the largest lead up to that time with the 21-15 advantage.
A Gamecock jam to cap an 8-0 run gave the two-point advantage back to South Carolina just under halfway through the opening period. The Bulldogs answered with three-straight baskets, the last two from behind the arc, to regain the lead.
While Georgia faced its largest first-half deficit of three points as the result of a 7-0 Gamecock run, Hammonds completed a four-point play after being fouled on a 3-pointer to obtain the one-point Georgia advantage.
The closing minutes of the opening frame saw two lead changes and two ties. The Bulldogs went into the locker room sporting the narrow two-point lead, 42-40. Georgia’s 42 first-half points against South Carolina marks its highest number of points in a half against an SEC opponent this season.
Out of the locker room, the Bulldogs quickly matched their largest lead up to that point of six, leading 48-42. Within five minutes of play, South Carolina knotted the game en route to taking its largest lead up to that point of seven with 12:31 remaining off a 7-0 run.
A shot from behind the arc from Edwards followed by a basket in the paint in transition brought Georgia within one with just under 10 minutes to play.
Going to the line following a foul on a three-point shot, Edwards was able to regain the two-point lead for the Bulldogs. A South Carolina basket from the line knotted the game 73-all with just under two minutes to play.
A basket from Hammonds extended the Georgia lead to three before forcing a South Carolina timeout. Out of the timeout, the Gamecocks drained a shot from behind the arc to tie the game at 77.
The final seconds came down to shots from the free-throw line. Two made free-throws from Edwards sent the game into overtime.
Edwards opened the overtime period continuing his dominance with a dunk on the first possession. Despite Hammonds fouling out in the opening minutes of overtime, baskets from Wheeler and Edwards regained the one-point Georgia advantage.
South Carolina went one-for-two from the line to tie the game 85-all with 1:48 remaining. The Gamecocks took advantage of two missed free throws from Edwards to take the two-point advantage. The game came down to the final seconds with every possession counting, but Georgia was unable to overcome the deficit, ultimately falling to the Gamecocks, 94-90.
Up next, Georgia returns to Stegeman Coliseum for its first of two-straight, sold-out home games. Up first, the Bulldogs host the Arkansas Razorbacks on Saturday, Feb. 29, at 6 p.m. Georgia will play its final home game of the 2019-20 campaign against the Florida Gators on senior night on Wednesday, March. 4, at 7 p.m.