MBB: Georgia vs. South Carolina Preview

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MBB: Georgia vs. South Carolina Preview

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Georgia (14-13, 4-10 SEC) vs. South Carolina (16-11, 8-6 SEC)

Wednesday, February 26 at 6:30 p.m. ET

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

Watch: SEC Network (Roy Philpott, play-by-play; Mark Wise, analyst)

Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta. XM: 380; Internet: 970. (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)

The Starting Five

• Anthony Edwards’ 511 points is the third-most ever by a UGA freshman and is only four points away from the current No. 2 tally, 515 by Jumaine Jones.

• Tyree Crump has 171 3-pointers, one shy of UGA’s top-10 career leaders in successful shots from behind the arc. The current No. 10 is Jody Patton.

• Sahvir Wheeler’s 118 assists represent the second-most ever by a UGA freshman. He is 15 passes-to-baskets shy of Litterial Green’s UGA freshman record.

• UGA has drawn 144,047 fans at home this season, 4,653 off its total attendance record of 148,700 set last season. Both of UGA’s remaining home dates are sold out.

• Georgia’s celebrated freshman class – ranked among the top-10 groups nationally by every recruiting service – features five of the nation’s top-100 prospects.

Savhir Wheeler
Savhir Wheeler

The Opening Tip

Riding the momentum of back-to-back SEC wins, Georgia remains on the road on Wednesday evening to face South Carolina for the second time in as many weeks. 

The Bulldogs, Kentucky and Texas A&M were the only three SEC programs to go 2-0 last week.

Last Saturday, Tyree Crump’s 35-foot, buzzer-beater lifted the Bulldogs to an 80-78 victory at Vanderbilt. Last Wednesday, Toumani Camara, a 56.1 percent free-throw shooter entering the game, connected on 10-of-12 attempts at the line, including 7-of-8 in the final minute, to help Georgia upset No. 13/12 Auburn, 65-55, in Athens.

Anthony Edwards, who averaged 18.5 points in those victories, was named SEC Freshman of the Week for a school-record third time this season on Monday. Edwards, one of only two freshmen included on the 20-player late-season Wooden Award Watch List, is the nation’s top-scoring freshman at 18.9 ppg. The Atlanta native has reached double figures in the scoring column in 23 of 27 games to date, with 11 20-point outings and two 30-point performances.

Georgia is now 14-13 overall, as well as 4-10 in SEC play. Two weeks ago, South Carolina raced to an early lead and kept the Bulldogs at bay the rest of the evening en route to a 75-59 win.

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

Among UGA’s career Leaders Tyree Crump is…

• 1 3FG from No. 10 Jody Patton

• 9 3FGs from No. 9 Bernard Davis

• 25 3FGAs from No. 7 Dustin Ware

• 6 FTs from joining the top-10 in FT pct.

Among UGA’s Freshman Leaders Anthony Edwards is…

• 4 points from No. 2 Jumaine Jones

• 135 points from No. 1 Jacky Dorsey

Among UGA’s Freshman Leaders Sahvir Wheeler is…

• 15 assists from No. 1 Litterial Green

Series History

Georgia currently owns a slim a 58-57 lead in the all-time series with South Carolina; however, the Gamecocks possess a 35-19 advantage in games played in Columbia.

Just two weeks ago in Athens, the Gamecocks started quickly and led throughout a 75-59 win at Stegeman Coliseum. 

Freshman Rodney Howard was a bright spot for the Bulldogs. After playing just 34 minutes – with three DNPs – and grabbing seven rebounds in Georgia’s first 10 SEC outings combined, Howard collected a team-high six boards in 13 minutes of PT versus the Gamecocks.

In last season‘s matchup in Columbia, Georgia dropped a 66-46 decision despite a pair of double-double outings from Nicolas Claxton and Derek Ogbeide.

Georgia led 13-12 just under six minutes into the game before the Gamecocks exploded on a 17-2 spurt. The Bulldogs trimmed a 23-point halftime deficit to 10 three times in the second half but could get no closer.

Scouting The Gamecocks

South Carolina sports records of 16-11 overall and 8-6 in the SEC. The Gamecocks opened league action 0-2 before rallying to win eight of their next 10 outings. South Carolina has since dropped its last two games, close decisions to Mississippi State and LSU.

AJ Lawson and Maik Kotsar are the only Gamecocks to start every game. Lawson leads three double-digit scorers at 13.7 ppg, while freshman Jermaine Couisnard adds 12.2 ppg and Kotsar chips in 10.9 ppg and a team-high 6.5 rpg.

Last Time Out…

Tyree Crump gathered a missed free throw, dribbled just past mid-court and connected on a 35-foot 3-pointer as time expired to lead Georgia to an 80-78 win over Vanderbilt last Saturday in Nashville.

Despite trailing for 35:38 of the contest, the Bulldogs remained within striking distance.

Georgia trailed 72-65 before Jordan Harris, who finished with a season-high 17 points, hit a 3-pointer with 3:31 remaining to ignite a 15-6 run to end the game. 

After the Bulldogs pulled within 74-73, Vandy regained a 78-73 advantage with 22 seconds left. A layup and two free throws from Sahvir Wheeler made it 78-77 with just six ticks on the clock.

After Scotty Pippen Jr. missed a pair of free throws, Crump came in from behind the 3-point line to gather the rebound and knocked down the straight-away bomb that cleared the net after the final horn sounded.

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.