Georgia (12-11, 2-8 SEC) vs. South Carolina (14-9, 6-4 SEC)
Wednesday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET
Stegeman Coliseum (10,523) in Athens, Ga.
Watch: SEC Network (Mike Morgan, play-by-play; Jon Sundvold, analyst)
Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta. XM: 374; Internet: 374. (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Adam Gillespie, producer)
The Starting Five
• Anthony Edwards is the nation’s top-scoring freshman and averaging 19.7 ppg…a full two points per game more than any other Division I freshman.
• During the Alabama game, Sahvir Wheeler became the first UGA freshman with 100 assists in more than a decade…since Dustin Ware in 2008-09.
• UGA is only 23,691 fans shy of its total attendance record, which was set last season. An average of 4,738 fans at home dates left is needed to break the record.
• Six of nine SEC games at Stegeman Coliseum are now sellouts – Kentucky, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas and Florida.
• 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.
The Opening Tip
Georgia returns to action on Wednesday evening when the it hosts South Carolina at Stegeman Coliseum. One of the most popular promotions of recent seasons is set for the game. The first 2,000 fans through the turnstiles Wednesday will receive a Nicolas Claxton bobblehead.
The Bulldogs are 12-11 overall and 10-3 at Stegeman this season. Georgia is averaging 82.7 points at home, where UGA possesses a substantial scoring margin of +11.9 points per game.
Georgia’s average home attendance of 9,616 is on pace to be the second-best effort in school history (trailing only 9,857 in 2002-03).
Tom Crean has credited fan support as an integral part of the Bulldogs’ home success, most notably following a Dec. 20 win over SMU.
“We don’t win this game without this crowd,” Crean said bluntly in his postgame press conference. “We do not win this game without this incredible, passionate, stick-with-us, not let us drop crowd. I reminded the players a few times that we’re sitting here in basically a sold-out game, and these fans are not giving up on you, so don’t give up on yourself. I’m extremely proud of how we found a way to win, and I’m unbelievably thankful for our fans.”
Anthony 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 19.7 ppg. Edwards, a two-time SEC Freshman of the Week honoree, is averaging 24.5 ppg and 10.8 rpg over Georgia’s last four outings.
The first 2,000 fans at Wednesday’s game will receive a Nicolas Claxton bobblehead.
Claxton led the Bulldogs in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals last season and also finished second on the team in assists. He was selected by the Brooklyn Nets with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Keeping An Eye On . . . Entering Today’s Game
Among UGA’s Freshman Leaders Anthony Edwards is…
• 29 points from No. 3 Litterial Green
• 64 points from No. 2 Jumaine Jones
• 194 points from No. 1 Jacky Dorsey
Among UGA’s Freshman Leaders Sahvir Wheeler is…
• 3 assists from No. 4 Moses White
• 5 assists from No. 3 Rashad Wright
• 8 assists from No. 2 Dustin Ware
• 31 assists from No. 1 Litterial Green
Among UGA’s career Leaders Tyree Crump is…
• 3 3FGAs from No. 8 G.G. Smith
• 16 3FGs from No. 9 Bernard Davis
• 8 3FGs from No. 10 Jody Patton
Georgia enters tonight‘s game with a 58-56 lead in the all-time series with South Carolina, including a 33-19 advantage in Athens.
In last season‘s matchup in Columbia, Georgia dropped a 66-46 decision despite 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 deficit to 10 three times in the second half but could get no closer.
In the most recent meeting at Stegeman Coliseum last Feb. 2, Georgia dropped an 86-80 decision to South Carolina before a sellout crowd. Five Bulldogs scored in double digits, with Ogbeide‘s 16 points pacing UGA.
After trailing 80-70, the Bulldogs embarked on a 10-3 surge to pull within three with 66 seconds left. South Carolina rebounded its own miss with 40 ticks on the clock and made a pair of free throws to make is 85-80.
Georgia missed a trio of 3-pointers on its next possession.
Scouting The Gamecocks
South Carolina arrived in Athens at 14-9 overall and 6-4 in SEC play.
The Gamecocks opened league action with a pair of losses – and in the midst of a three-game losing streak dating back to their final non-conference outing – but have rallied to win six of their last eight outings.
AJ Lawson and Maik Kotsar are the only Gamecocks to start all 23 games to date. Lawson leads three double-digit scorers for Carolina at 13.7 ppg, while Kotsar is the team‘s top rebounder at 6.5 rpg.
Last Time Out…
Sahvir Wheeler notched career-high efforts of 24 points, eight assists and 42 minutes; however, Georgia dropped a 105-102 decision to last Saturday.
After trailing most of the first half, the Bulldogs used a 13-3 run over the opening 2:24 of the second stanza to grab a 54-48 lead. That margin grew to 65-53 at the 14:44 mark before the Crimson Tide rallied.
Rayshaun Hammonds, who scored 20 points in the contest, knotted the game at 92-92 with 21 seconds remaining, and Mike Peake drew a charge on Alabama’s final possession of regulation.
The Tide led by four points twice in the extra session, and the game wasn’t decided until Anthony Edwards’ 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
Dogs Drawing At Record Pace
Georgia’s current attendance average of 9,616 would be the second-best effort in school history (trailing only an average of 9,857 in 2002-03).
The Bulldogs are well on their way to shattering their all-time total attendance record for the second consecutive season. A year ago, Georgia’s tally of 148,700 fans through the Stegeman turnstiles broke the previous program record by more than 9,000.
This year, 125,009 spectators have attended Georgia’s 13 home dates so far. That is 23,691 shy of the current mark with five games left, meaning an average of just 4,738 would top the existing record.