For the Georgia men’s basketball team, the end of the 2018-19 regular season should come as more of a relief than an annoyance.
Georgia (12-19, 2-16) finished the regular season with a 66-46 loss to South Carolina (16-15, 11-7) on Saturday afternoon. Tom Crean’s first team as the Bulldogs’ head coach now shares the dubious distinction with the 1973-74 team of losing 16 SEC games, tied for most in school history.
With 41.7 seconds remaining in the game, South Carolina’s head coach Frank Martin pulled senior Chris Silva from his final game in Columbia, South Carolina. He went through a receiving line of hugs, starting with none other than Crean. Silva’s 24 points carried the Gamecocks to the victory.
With the win, South Carolina secured the No. 4 seed in the upcoming SEC tournament in Nashville.
Turnovers doom Georgia
Once again, turnovers were a major problem for the Bulldogs.
With another 20 turnovers, Georgia finishes the year with 493 turnovers, 73 more than last season. Crean’s fast-paced offense may be one reason for the uptick. Earlier in the season, Crean even said Georgia might have to slow its pace down to decrease the turnovers.
But sometimes the dumb mistakes beleaguer the Bulldogs, and it has nothing to do with pace. For example, with 11:19 to go in Saturday’s game, freshman Amanze Ngumezi made a pass directly to Silva. South Carolina didn’t convert on the other end that time, but it did have 24 points off Georgia turnovers.
Georgia, meanwhile, had only six points off South Carolina’s nine turnovers.
Fouls and blocks aplenty
A total of 64 foul shots cursed the game to a plodding, choppy pace. The Bulldogs went 20-for-32 from the free throw line while the Gamecocks performed slightly better with a 23-for-32 mark.
Georgia had nine blocks on the game. Nicolas Claxton, the SEC leader in blocks, had four of those blocks while Jordan Harris had two. One of Harris’s blocks was especially impressive when showed off his athleticism and height by denying a Keyshawn Bryant shot attempt with six minutes remaining in the game.
Crean continually emphasizes the importance of blocks and deflections.
Chris Silva: One of three seniors honored as part of the Gamecocks’ senior day, Silva racked up a game-high 24 points. The 6-foot-9, 244-pound forward from Africa also had 10 rebounds and three steals.
Keyshawn Bryant: Every star needs a sidekick. Silva had his on Saturday in Bryant, who scored 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the field.
Derek Ogbeide: Ogbeide trailed his teammate Nicolas Claxton in points but had a team-high 10 rebounds. Ogbeide also had an uncharacteristic performance from the free-throw line: The Georgia senior went 7-for-8 on foul shots. Ogbeide went 2-for-11 against Arkansas earlier in the season.