MBB: Georgia vs. South Carolina Preview

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MBB: Georgia vs. South Carolina Preview

Sahvir Wheeler
Sahvir Wheeler

Georgia (9-5, 2-5 SEC) vs. South Carolina (3-5, 1-3 SEC)

Wednesday, January 27, at 7:00 p.m. ET

Colonial Life Arena (18,000) in Columbia, S.C.

Series History: Series tied, 58-58

Last Meeting: SC, 94-90 in OT, on Feb. 26, 2020

Watch: ESPN2 (Tom Hart, play-by-play; Jimmy Dykes, analyst)

Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta; XM: 383; Internet: 973 (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• Sahvir Wheeler’s career average of 5.44 apg is better than any SEC player is averaging this season. Scotty Pippen Jr. is second in the SEC at 5.27 apg.

• Andrew Garcia has led UGA offensively in each of the last two games, averaging 16.5 ppg while connecting on 76.2 percent (16-of-21) of his FGs.

• K.D. John-son’s 21 points vs. Auburn were the third-most ever by UGA a freshman in their debut behind only Dominique Wilkins (26) & Anthony Edwards (24).

• Eight different Bulldogs have scored in double figures during the 2020-21 season, combining to produce 56 double-digit performances in UGA’s 14 games.

• UGA’s roster features eight newcomers with representative in every class – two freshmen, a sophomore, two juniors and a trio of senior graduate transfers.

The Opening Tip

Georgia treks to Colonial Life Arena on Wednesday evening to face South Carolina in the first of two clashes between the Bulldogs and Gamecocks this season.

Georgia is currently 9-5 overall and 2-5 in the SEC. The Bulldogs started the season 7-0, their best beginning in 38 years…since UGA’s 1983 Final Four team opened that season 9-0.

Georgia is looking to bounce back following a 92-84 setback to Florida last Saturday. Prior to that, the Bulldogs notched last-minute and -second wins in their previous two outings.

At Ole Miss on Jan. 16, Georgia posted season-high shooting percentages from everywhere on the floor – overall (.587), 3-point range (.600) and the free throw line (.882) – en route to a 78-74 victory over the Rebels.

Last Wednesday, P.J. Horne’s layup with 1.3 seconds left gave Georgia a 63-62 win over Kentucky, the Dogs’ first win over the Wildcats since 2013 and ending a 14-game losing skid to UK

Georgia remains one of the nation’s most balanced offensive teams. Five Bulldogs are scoring at a double-digit pace, while two more are contributing 9.8 ppg and 8.9 ppg.

Keeping An Eye On . . . Entering Tonight’s Game:

Justin Kier is…

• 1 rebound from 600 for his career

• 40 points from 1,300 for his career

Andrew Garcia is…

• 69 points from 1,000 for his career

• 20 rebounds from 500 for his career

Sahvir Wheeler is…

• 26 points from 500 for his career

• 18 assists from No. 20 Rod Cole (1989-90) among UGA’s single-season leaders

• 19 assists from co.- No. 19 Gino Gianfran-cesco (1972) and Barry Cohen (1971) among UGA’s single-season leaders

• 30 assists from No. 18 Gino Gianfrancesco among UGA’s career leaders

Series History With South Carolina

The all-time series between the Bulldogs and the Gamecocks is currently tied, 58-58; however, South Carolina possesses a 36-19 advantage in games played in Columbia.

In the most recent matchup last season on Feb. 26 in Columbia, Anthony Edwards scored 36 points – and moved to No. 2 among Georgia’s all-time freshman scoring leaders – but the Bulldogs still suffered a 94-90 overtime setback.

The contest was as evenly matched as possible, with 21 ties and 17 lead changes. Of the contest’s 45 minutes of action, Georgia led for 17:28, South Carolina was on top for 17:56 and the score was tied for 9:36.

The Gamecocks took the lead for good with 58 seconds remaining in overtime on a Keyshawn Bryant stickback.

Scouting The Gamecocks

South Carolina is currently 3-5 overall and 1-3 in SEC play this season. 

The Gamecocks’ schedule has been dramatically impacted by the COVID. To date, South Carolina has canceled three games and postponed four more due to the pandemic.

A.J. Lawson is the Gamecocks’ leading scorer at 17.4 ppg. He is one of three players to start every game along with Jermaine Couisnard and Justin Minaya. Keyshawn Bryant has been one of the SEC’s hottest players of late, coming off the bench to contribute 23.0 ppg in South Carolina’s last three outings.

Last Time Out

Five Bulldogs scored in double figures and Sahvir Wheeler notched his fifth double-double of the season, but Georgia still dropped a 92-84 decision to Florida last Saturday.

Andrew Garcia led Georgia offensively for the second straight game with 17 points. The graduate transfer from Stony Brook has averaged 16.5 ppg while shooting 76.2 percent from the floor against UK and UF.

Florida led 42-39 at halftime following an opening 20 minutes that saw five ties and nine lead changes. The Gators seized control after the intermission, opening the second stanza with a 16-3 run.

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