ATHENS, Ga. Feb. 23, 2013 – The South Carolina men’s basketball team (13-14, 3-11 SEC) suffered a 62-54 overtime loss on the road at Georgia (13-14, 7-7 SEC) on Saturday in the second contest between the Gamecocks and Bulldogs this season. After trailing 23-16 at the halftime break, Carolina out-scored Georgia 37-30 in the second half to force overtime, but was unable to come away with the road win.
Junior guard Bruce Ellington was the only Gamecock to score in double figures with 11 points in the effort. Freshman forward Laimonas Chatkevicius pulled down a team and season best 10 rebounds. Senior forward Lakeem Jackson added nine points and two steals and junior guard Brenton Williams contributed nine points off the bench.
Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia with 18 points, all of which came in the second half and overtime. He also dished four assists and collected four steals in the win. Brandon Morris led the squad on the boards with 11.
Neither team shot well in the contest, with the Gamecocks connecting on 30.0 percent (18-60), compared to 31.3 percent (15-48) from the Bulldogs. South Carolina hit 12-of-24 attempts from the free throw line, but Georgia took 22 more attempts than the Gamecocks from the charity stripe, hitting 28-of-46 from the line.
The Gamecocks struggled from the floor early in the opening half, missing their first eight attempts through the 14:46 mark and first media timeout where Georgia held a 3-0 advantage.
Chatkevicius scored the first Carolina basket just out of the break, but shooting struggles continued for the Gamecocks, having hit just 1-of-13 attempts with 11:29 remaining in the half, and trailing the Bulldogs 7-2.
South Carolina continued to battle and pulled within two at 17-15 with 3:55 to play before the break. Junior guard Brian Richardson and Jackson connected for layups before Williams added another and two from the foul line. Freshman forward Mindaugas Kacinas added layups on consecutive possessions during the stretch.
Georgia, also plagued by poor shooting most of the half, concluded the opening 20 minutes of action on a 6-1 run to hold a 23-16 advantage at the break.
Carolina hit just 20.0 percent (6-30) in the half, compared to 23.1 percent (6-26) from the Bulldogs. Neither team connected from beyond the arc, and Georgia held a 29-20 advantage on the glass.
Offense improved for both squads to open the second half. Ellington and Williams hit 3s for the Gamecocks and Caldwell-Pope marked the scoreboard with a 3 and layup for the Bulldogs to put the score at 33-26 with 15:38 to play.
The Gamecocks put together a 9-4 run through the 11:34 mark to pull within two at 37-35 on Ellington’s second made 3 of the half.
Carolina continued to chip away at the Bulldog lead, and a 3 from Richardson with 8:36 to play saw the Gamecocks take their first lead at 39-38. Georgia countered with a layup from Nemanja Djurisic, but Richardson responded at the opposite end with his second 3 of the half to put Carolina up 42-40 with 6:42 remaining.
Djurisic would hit two from the free throw line for Georgia at the 4:25 mark, and Carrera would answer with two free throws of his own seconds later, showing the score at 46-45 UGA at the final media timeout of regulation.
The teams traded made free throws out of the break, before Carolina scored on consecutive possessions to pull away to a 51-47 lead after Ellington’s third 3 of the half with 1:43 remaining.
Georgia closed the gap with clutch free throw shooting, with Caldwell-Pope connecting and Djurisic adding two from the line with under a minute to play, putting the score at 51-50 Gamecocks with 51 seconds remaining.
Smith would convert two at the line for the Gamecocks with 17 seconds remaining, but Caldwell-Pope would hit his biggest shot of the night, a 3 to tie the contest at 53 with just under nine seconds remaining.
On the ensuing inbounds play for the Gamecocks, the clock began running early before the Gamecocks missed a desperation 3 attempt as time expired in regulation. After further review, the officials added 4.5 seconds to the clock, and the Gamecocks were awarded the ball under the Georgia basket. South Carolina struggled to get the ball past midcourt, and the contest went to overtime.
Georgia out-scored the Gamecocks 9-1 in the extra session to close the 62-54 overtime victory. Carolina was 0-of-7 from the floor in overtime, and hit just 1-of-4 from the free throw line.
South Carolina returns to Colonial Life Arena to host Missouri on Thursday, Feb. 28. Game time for the contest is set for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.