A fairly unusual Senior Day kicked off about 20 minutes before Georgia tipped off with South Carolina, as the Bulldogs looked to beat the Gamecocks for the first time in the Tom Crean era. First, the families of the three graduate transfer seniors couldn’t be on the court this year, so Georgia honored them with video tributes from each family, which added a nice touch.
Also, the SEC added another game for the Bulldogs, which will occur next Saturday when Georgia hosts Alabama. This meant that the Bulldogs’ seniors were being honored in a game that would not be their last at Stegeman Coliseum. Nonetheless, Justin Kier, P.J. Horne and Andrew Garcia all got a well-deserved ovation from Georgia fans. That was the first and last time Bulldog fans would be on their feet, though.
“It was very special and I appreciate everybody at Georgia who put [the video tribute] together,” said Kier. “It gave me a little joy seeing that, but I wish a win would have came after that. I’m very appreciative.”
Georgia lost its 10th straight matchup against South Carolina, this time by a 91-68 score. Georgia players P.J. Horne and Andrew Garcia talked prior to the game about Georgia’s newfound confidence following a big win over LSU. Unfortunately for Georgia, it wasn’t anywhere to be found on Saturday as the Gamecocks dominated the contest.
South Carolina shot 54% from the field, which ended up being a season-high for them. On the other end, Georgia shot 37% from the field. Georgia’s two worst shooting performances of the season have come in its two losses to South Carolina. At one point, the Bulldogs cut the deficit to four points looking to take momentum of the game. South Carolina immediately responded with a 12-0 scoring run, ending that threat.
“It starts with me,” said Crean. “They wanted to fight and we didn’t, so I did a poor job of having our guys completely, 100%, understand what this game was going to entail. Because we never locked into the fight.”
It seemed that the three Georgia seniors were the only ones who came ready to play on Saturday afternoon. Horne led the team with 17 points, which included four 3-pointers. Kier also added 16 points, making five of his six shots from the field. Garcia scored 10 points, which put him over the 1,000 point mark for his collegiate career at Stony Brook and Georgia. Sahvir Wheeler struggled mightily from the field (2-of-13), but passed Pertha Robinson’s school record for most assists in a season.
Other than those few accolades, it was not a pretty performance for the Bulldogs. Georgia turned the ball over 19 times, which led to 15 South Carolina points. The Bulldogs are currently 330th out of 340 NCAA Division I teams in turnovers per game, averaging 16.6. These turnovers have been one of the biggest reasons for Georgia’s inconsistent play this year. One that shows how a team can beat LSU and lose to lowly South Carolina in the same week.
Georgia’s record now falls to 14-10 (7-10). The Bulldogs will now face the Alabama Crimson Tide – who sit atop the SEC standings – next Saturday at 2 p.m. South Carolina improves to 6-12 (4-12) this season, snapping a six-game losing streak.