MBB Preview: Georgia vs. South Carolina

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MBB Preview: Georgia vs. South Carolina

Georgia (14-9, 7-9 SEC) vs. South Carolina (5-12, 3-10 SEC)

Saturday, February 27, at 1:00 p.m. ET

Stegeman Coliseum (1,638) in Athens, Ga.





Series History: USC leads, 59-58

Last Meeting: USC, 83-59, on Jan. 27, 2021

Watch: SEC Network (Dave Neal, play-by-play; Jon Sunvold, analyst)





Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta; XM: 190; Internet: 961 (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• Sahvir Wheeler’s 165 assists this season is second nationally and the 2nd-best season total ever for UGA…four from Pertha Robinson’s school record.

• Of 347 Division I teams, Toumani Camara and Sahvir Wheeler are of only four sets of teammates with six or more double-doubles during 2020-21.

• Graduate transfer Andrew Garcia is eight points shy of 1000 for his career. He scored 784 points at Stony Brook and has added 208 this season at UGA.

• P.J. Horne, who generally guards the opposing team’s post player a significant amount, leads UGA with 38 3-pointers made this season.

• Eight different Bulldogs have scored in double figures during the 2020-21 season, combining to produce 90 double-digit performances in UGA’s 23 games.

The Opening Tip

Georgia will celebrate “Senior Day” on Saturday when the Bulldogs welcome South Carolina to Stegeman Coliseum for a matinee matchup. And like everything else over the past 10-12 months, the festivities will vary from what’s considered the norm.

Georgia’s three “pseudo seniors” – Andrew Garcia, P.J. Horne and Justin Kier – are graduate transfers who were playing at other schools this time last season. That trio arrived in Athens at various times last summer when it wasn’t known if there would even be a 2020-21 college basketball season and has played an integral role in the development of an easily spotted chemistry the team displays this season.

The Bulldogs are coming off a challenging stretch of facing five consecutive probable NCAA Tournament teams. Georgia compiled a 2-3 mark, with home teams winning each contest. The Bulldogs defeated No. 20/19 Missouri and LSU at Stegeman Coliseum and dropped decisions at No. 16/15 Tennessee, No. 11/11 Alabama and Florida. Georgia and Kentucky are the only SEC teams to play five straight games versus the league’s six consensus teams projected to earn NCAA Tournament bids, Arkansas being the other. The Bulldogs played their quintet of contests in 14 days, while the Wildcats did so over an 18-day span.

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

Tom Crean is…

• 3 wins from 400 victories in his career

Andrew Garcia is…

• 8 points from 1,000 for his career

Sahvir Wheeler is…

• 4 assists from No. 1 Pertha Robinson (1995) among UGA’s best season tallies

• 20 assists from No 15 Shandon Anderson (1993-96)among UGA’s best career tallies

Series History With South Carolina

Despite a 33-20 advantage for the Bulldogs in games played in Athens, South Carolina leads the all-time series between the schools, 59-58.

In the most recent matchup in Athens on Feb. 12 last season, the Gamecocks started quickly and led throughout a 75-59 win.

Anthony Edwards, who went on to become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, scored 16 points to pace the Bulldogs offensively for the 15th time in 24 games. 

The Bulldogs and Gamecocks met a month ago to the day in Columbia, with Georgia dropping an 83-59 decision. 

Sahvir Wheeler flirted with his first scoring-rebounding double-double with nine points and a career-high nine boards. He also handed out seven assists and recorded the first blocked shot of his collegiate career.

Georgia twice built six-point leads early in the contest but failed to push its advantage further. A 10-3 run put the Gamecocks up 18-17 with 7:02 left in the half, and South Carolina expanded that margin to double figures at the 3:50 mark.

The Bulldogs closed the gap to 41-35 early in the second half but could not get closer.

Scouting The Gamecocks

South Carolina is currently 5-12 overall and 3-10 in SEC play this season. 

The Gamecocks’ schedule has been dramatically impacted by the COVID. To date, South Carolina has canceled four games and postponed four more due to the pandemic. The Gamecocks lost four games between Dec. 10-29, then played two contests before a second pause postponed two more outings.

AJ Lawson and Keyshawn Bryant lead the Gamecocks offensively. Lawson is scoring a team-high 17.8 ppg, and Bryant is chipping in 14.2 ppg.

Last Time Out

Sahvir Wheeler recorded the first triple-double in Georgia hoops history and Toumani Camara scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 91-78 win over LSU on Tuesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

Wheeler scored 14 points, dished out 13 assists and recorded 11 rebounds to post the first triple-double in Georgia’s 116 seasons of basketball. It was just the 29th triple-double in SEC history.

Camara was 9-of-12 from the field against the Tigers and also collected 10 rebounds to notch his SEC-leading seventh double-double of the season.

Wheeler grabbed his first rebound and scored on a layup at the other end just 34 seconds into the game to give the Bulldogs a lead they would enjoy for 37:25 of the contest.

Georgia eventually led by 16 points, 45-29, at halftime and never allowed LSU closer than 12 points thereafter.

Wheeler’s Historic Performance

Let’s start with some perspective. When the following is fourth-best nugget from what a player did in a game, that’s saying something:

• Delivered 13 assists, the third-best single-game assist effort in school history.

For the sake of brevity and convenience, we’ll just list the significant achievements associated with Sahvir Wheeler’s performance against LSU on Tuesday night in bullet form.

• Recorded the first triple-double in 116 seasons of Georgia Basketball.

• Became the shortest player in SEC history with a triple-double.

• Moved from No. 4 to No. 2 among UGA’s all-time single-season assist leaders.

• Delivered 13 assists, the third-best single-game assist effort in school history.

• Notched his sixth game this season with double figures in both points and assists, the second-most by any SEC player in the 2000s.

• Ascended from No. 18 to No. 16 on UGA’s career assist leaders ledger.

We could keep going but will stop there.

Toumani Was Money Too

Somewhat lost in the shuffle associated Sahvir Wheeler’s performance with Tuesday night’s win over LSU was a supremely stellar showing by his classmate, Toumani Camara.

The sophomore from Brussels poured in a career-high 22 points on a 9-of-12 shooting performance from the floor.

Camara also hauled in 10 boards to record his league-leading seventh double-double of the campaign. He enters this weekend tied with Missouri’s Jeremiah Tilmon atop the ledger of SEC double-double leaders.

Some Info On The Grad Transfers

Each of Georgia’s graduate transfers has made significant contributions to the Bulldogs’ success this season. Staying with the bulleted theme:

• Andrew Garcia enters today’s game with  992 points in 100 career outings at Stony Brook and Georgia. 

• P.J. Horne is one of only two Bulldogs to start every game this season and leads the team in 3-pointers made (38).

• Justin Kier is one of only two active D-I players with career totals of 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists, 150 steals and 100 3-pointers.





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