Well, that sucked: despite having a 10-point lead late with around nine minutes remaining, the Gamecocks lost to the Georgia Bulldogs 66-61 after going cold late in the game. Georgia's Trey Thompkins led all scorers with 21, while Brandis Raley-Ross and Devan Downey led the 'Cocks with 18 apiece.
A few thoughts on the game:
- Most of the talk surrounding this game is focused on the lopsided difference in personal fouls and FTA. UGA enjoyed 7-19 and 23-6 differentials in those two categories, and the Dawgs made the most of it by going 20-23 at the line. Inevitably, some are going to criticize the officiating. I'm of the opinion it's near impossible for such a lopsided box score to occur without some shaky officiating. However, I saw shaky officiating benefit both sides in this game. I also think you have to look at our shot selection here. We jacked up an astounding 32 3FGA in this game, which was almost half of our total FGA. When you shoot so many threes, you're not going to get to the line often, and that's the main reason that UGA enjoyed such a favorable differential in foul shooting.
- On the same subject, I really think we're settling for threes too often. I realize that, as a team that tends to play small lineups, we're going to live and die on outside shooting to a certain degree. But you would think that we would at least try to work it inside more, if only to open up the outside game. We don't seem to be doing that consistently enough. It is worth recognizing, though, that we're getting some open looks and just not making enough of them.
Ramon Galloway went 3-4 in 13 minutes of playing time. I'm beginning to wonder if we shouldn't be looking to him more as our second option from the perimeter. Brandis has been huge for us in some games, but he doesn't seem to be doing it consistently enough for my liking. Although he scored 18 yesterday, he did it by jacking up threes everytime he touched the ball, and he shot for a pretty dismal 3-13 from downtown. He still needs to play a prominent role in our offense, but I'm ready to see more of what Galloway has to offer, especially considering that we need to be thinking about what role Galloway will play in 2010-11.
- We're probably off the bubble now. This was more or less a must-win for our NCAAs chances. We're not completely out of the running, but now we have literally no margin for error, needing to win five of our last six to have a good shot. Considering that we'll be underdogs in all but game against Alabama, that's highly unlikely. In fact, I'd say it's much more likely that we get in by winning the SEC Tournament than that we get an at-large berth.
Well, that's a wrap on this depressing game. The worst part is that we had such a golden opportunity with the late lead. Next up? At the Arkansas Razorbacks. The Hogs also blew a large road lead yesterday at Alabama, so both teams will be looking for redemption. A win in Fayetteville could go a long way towards assuaging some of the pain we're feeling today.