It was a close one, but the South Carolina Gamecocks (17-15) were able to best the Ole Miss Rebels (20-12) 60-58 on Thursday to advance to the third round of the SEC tournament. Their next opponent will be the Georgia Bulldogs, a team the Gamecocks have already beaten twice this year. If UGA wants to end the losing streak against South Carolina, reexamining their previous two encounters is a good place to start.
January 31, South Carolina Wins 67-50READ MORE: Nourish + Bloom Market, World's First Black-Owned Autonomous Grocery Store, Opens In Fayetteville
Let’s start with the obvious: Georgia had a terrible night shooting the ball from the field as the Bulldogs went an ugly 11-50 (22 percent) from the field with 3-17 (17.6 percent) coming from three-point territory. Georgia did a great job shooting from the free throw line as they went 25-32 (87.1 percent) on their charity stripe opportunities. The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Gamecocks 42-33 for the night and committed two fewer fouls than South Carolina, but otherwise, they were completely outworked in every other aspect of the game.
South Carolina didn’t shoot exceptionally well, but they were much more consistent than Georgia was in the game. The Gamecocks went 22-55 (40 percent) from the field and 6-19 (31.6 percent) from beyond the arc. Even though the Gamecocks were the home team, they didn’t lead the game with the most free throws. However, South Carolina did shoot an even better percentage from the free throw line than Georgia did as the Gamecocks went 17-21 (81 percent). In addition to the points, South Carolina had more than double the amount of assists than Georgia did (13-6), seven steals and five blocks.
February 17, South Carolina Wins 64-58
This game could have easily gone just as bad for the Bulldogs as their previous encounter at the end of January. During the game, South Carolina built up a 21-point lead in the first half, but the Bulldogs fought back to tie the game up at 51 late in the second half. However, South Carolina made sure UGA couldn’t complete the comeback win.READ MORE: Family Of Vincent Truitt Files $150 Million Lawsuit Against Cobb County, Police Officer
The Bulldogs had a better shooting night on the floor than they did in the first encounter with South Carolina. This time, UGA shot 20-53 (37.7 percent) from the field and went 4-13 (30.8 percent) from three-point range. Georgia did not have the same luck at the free throw line as they did previously, as the Bulldogs went 14-23 (60.9 percent) from the charity stripe and once again led the game in rebounds with a 37-33 edge in that department.
For South Carolina, the team shot similar numbers in both games. This time, the Gamecocks went 21-53 (39.6 percent) from the field and 9-24 (37.5 percent) from beyond the arc and went a near-perfect 13-14 (92.9 percent) from the free throw line. South Carolina had a slight edge in assists with 10 compared to UGA’s seven, and had one extra steal and three additional blocks in the course of the game. Both teams were even in the turnover department as each committed seven apiece.
Both games tell a similar story: UGA needs to shoot the ball better. Whether that means passing the ball more for a better shot opportunity or simply not shooting as many three-point attempts. Tip-off for the third encounter is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET tonight.MORE NEWS: Atlanta Police Dept. Hosts Regional Law Enforcement Leadership Training
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.