COLUMBIA, S.C.— Georgia has found a way to win all season while missing key players but this was the first time the Bulldogs had to do it without senior forward Marcus Thornton.
Finally, this was an injury they couldn’t overcome.
South Carolina snapped Georgia’s five-game winning streak with a 67-50 victory on Saturday at Colonial Life Arena.
Thornton, a Westlake High product, is out indefinitely after he suffered a concussion during Georgia’s 70-62 victory over Vanderbilt on Tuesday. The Bulldogs had won without Juwan Parker (Achilles) and Kenny Paul Geno (wrist) but losing Thornton was the biggest blow because he leads them in points and rebounds.
The Bulldogs (14-6, 5-3 SEC) couldn’t make up for all of that missing production against the Gamecocks (11-9, 2-6).
Freshman Yante Maten, who started in place of Thorton, had three points and six rebounds before fouling out and reserve forward Houston Kessler had two points and four rebounds. Georgia’s guard trio of J.J. Frazier, Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann combined to shoot 7-for-28 from the field.
The Bulldogs missed eight of their first nine field-goal attempts in the second half before pulling within 44-36. A technical foul on Georgia coach Mark Fox led to five points for the Gamecocks.
Fox was penalized after he walked to midcourt to point and yell at officials following a loose-ball foul called against Nemanja Djurisic. Tyrone Johnson made both free throws for the technical foul and Michael Carrera made one of two free-throw attempts on the foul call.
Sindarius Thornwell rebounded Carrera’s miss and Laimonas Chatkevicius scored on a hook shot to push South Carolina’s lead to 49-36 with less than 10 minutes to play. The Bulldogs never cut the lead to less than 10 points from there and South Carolina’s lead swelled to as many as 18 points.
The Gamecocks ended a five-game losing streak to Georgia, which had won eight of the previous nine meetings. South Carolina plays at Georgia on Feb. 17.
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