South Carolina led wire-to-wire despite enduring long scoring droughts and shooting an ice-cold 27% from the floor. A 74% showing from the free-throw line, stingy defense, and a 46-42 rebounding edge allowed the Gamecocks (11-6, 2-3 SEC) to stay out of the Bulldogs’ reach.
Guard Frank Booker rediscovered his stroke to lead South Carolina with 17 points off the bench, hitting a couple of crucial 3-pointers late to keep the Gamecocks ahead. Chris Silva just missed a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds, and also avoided picking up his first foul until about five minutes into the second half. With the exception of a couple games, he’s done a remarkable job with that so far this season, and hopefully the Gamecocks can start taking advantage of his increased presence on the court.
Hassani Gravett added 11 points to round out double-figure scorers for the Gamecocks, and Evan Hinson enjoyed a career game with eight points and two 3-pointers. After he got precious little playing time during last season’s Final Four run, it’s been fun to watch Hinson’s role expand.
Star big man Yante Maten scored 25 points, pulled down eight rebounds, and blocked four shots for the Bulldogs (11-5, 2-3), who lost their second straight after falling at Missouri earlier in the week.
The victory was South Carolina’s third straight over the Dawgs, and it snapped a perfect 8-0 home record Georgia had compiled so far this season.
Up next: The Gamecocks return home with two games in Columbia next week, starting with a big one against No. 21 Kentucky on Tuesday.