Two teams fighting to stay clear of the Southeastern Conference basement clash Wednesday night when Georgia takes on South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.
Both the Bulldogs (9-5, 2-5 SEC) and the Gamecocks (3-5, 1-3) are coming off disappointing losses that left them among the bottom four teams in league play along with Texas AM (2-5) and Vanderbilt (0-5).
Georgia lost its last outing 92-84 to Florida despite shooting 54.2 percent from the field and dishing out 22 assists. The Gators opened the second half with a 16-3 run and led by 17 with less than six minutes left before the Bulldogs reduced their deficit to single digits in the final minute.
Coach Tom Crean said his Bulldogs simply lacked the aggressiveness they had displayed in wins over Ole Miss and Kentucky in their previous two games.
"The fact is that we only had four deflections at half, we were getting beat off the dribble, and we just weren't physical enough," he said.
That caught him by surprise.
"Our last two days were really good," Crean said. "They were short. They were concise. They were aggressive. We've even backed them off the last couple of days because they've been so aggressive in practice."
Five Bulldogs were in double figures in the loss with Andrew Garcia leading with 17 points. K.D. Johnson, who has averaged a team-best 15.3 points a game, added 16 but made only one of his six attempts from behind the 3-point arc.
South Carolina got big games from their top two scorers, Keyshawn Bryant (24 points) and AJ Lawson (23), but still dropped its third consecutive outing, 109-86 to Auburn, since a two-game pause earlier this month. Lawson has averaged 17.4 points a game, Bryant 15.2.
COVID-19 issues have had a huge impact on the Gamecocks, who have had eight games either postponed or canceled because of the pandemic.
Coach Frank Martin twice has tested positive, once in May and a second time this month a day after the Gamecocks' only conference win, a 78-54 romp past Texas AM on Jan. 6.
"We haven't been around each other enough and consistently enough to deal with the adversity and good (enough) for me to have a feel for where we're at as a team," Martin said.
--Field Level Media