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Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards dodges Auburn defenders on his way down the court.The University of Georgia men’s basketball team beat No. 13 Auburn 65-55 on Feb. 19. 2020, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

The Georgia men’s basketball team traveled to Columbia, South Carolina, and lost to the South Carolina Gamecocks in overtime 94-90. The Bulldogs had chances to win, but a late charge call and the inability to keep South Carolina off the free-throw line contributed to the loss. Georgia moves to 14-14 overall and 4-11 in the SEC. Here are some observations from The Red & Black:

Fouls and free throws in overtime

Going into overtime, Georgia was without Jordan Harris, Rayshaun Hammonds and Toumani Camara. The three Bulldogs fouled out before the start of the extra five minutes, and Georgia was left shorthanded.

South Carolina attacked the Bulldogs in the paint in overtime and went to the free-throw line on multiple occasions. The Gamecocks shot 9-for-13 from the line after only shooting 12-for-23 in regulation. Georgia, on the other hand, shot 3-for-6 from the line in overtime and was 23-for-28 in the first 40 minutes.

South Carolina showcased its late-game confidence against the Bulldogs, coming up with key stops and making smart plays on offense to draw fouls. Georgia’s offense hit a lull as Anthony Edwards was double-teamed and struggled to get involved. He had four points in overtime and missed two shots and two necessary free throws after scoring 32 points and shooting 10-for-10 from the foul line in regulation.

The key play down the stretch came when Georgia was down two points with less than two seconds to go and South Carolina’s Maik Kotsar set up for charge as Sahvir Wheeler drove in for a layup. The smart defensive play allowed the Gamecocks to get the ball back and close out the game.

Putting the ball in the basket

Georgia scored 20 points in the first half against South Carolina on Feb. 12. Two weeks later, the Bulldogs were much more comfortable. They put up 42 points in the first half and didn’t seem to have trouble breaking down South Carolina’s defense.

The Bulldogs only shot 39.4% from the field but hit six 3-pointers and shot 10-for-12 from the free-throw line. Edwards led the charge on offense with 12 points but especially pushed the ball in transition with three steals that led to easy fast break baskets. The Bulldogs were plus-six points off turnovers in the first half.

In the second half, Georgia put up another solid offensive performance. The Bulldogs scored 37 points, and Edwards continued to command the game. He finished with 36 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He shot 11-for-22 from the field and attempted 13 more shots than Hammonds, the second option on offense. The junior finished with 13 points and shot 4-for-9 from the field.

Georgia scaled back on its attempts from behind the arc, only hitting two in the second half. The Bulldogs also got to the free-throw line at a similar rate and shot 13-for-18. In overtime, Georgia was unable to achieve what it was able to in the previous 40 minutes and was unable to steal a road win.

Guarding the paint

Georgia’s post defense and switching was not up to snuff, and the Gamecocks dictated play down low. Of South Carolina’s 40 points in the first half, with 34 of them came in the paint. The Gamecocks finished with 54 points in the paint.

Four different South Carolina forwards scored in double-digits on Wednesday. Alanzo Frink was a crucial part of the Gamecocks’ game plan with Jermaine Couisnard getting called for two fouls early in the first half. The sophomore averages just over four points on the season but came up with a career-high 22 points against the Bulldogs. He added four rebounds, three blocks and solid defense on Georgia’s bigs.

Kotsar surged late and finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. South Carolina’s senior was the difference in overtime, scoring five of South Carolina’s 15 points, and played game-changing defense.

Georgia’s forwards struggled with fouls and didn’t incorporate themselves heavily into the offense. Camara and Hammonds combined for 23 points and 15 rebounds. Mike Peake featured in moments for the Bulldogs and added three points, six rebounds and a block.

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